Friday, 17 May 2013


The stores along Bazaar Road are cool - the ones was potato and onion. A sign outside the spice market. Bags of spices outside the spice market. A great sign. The language barrier is more of a can't-say-it-fast-enough barrier, but you try saying this fast. Bus and ferry tickets from our journey to Fort Kochi. A good restaurant in Fort Kochi. We had to break out of our guesthouse in the morning, and climb over the fence. An early morning in Fort Kochi checking out the old Chinese fishing nets. There's a massive art scene in Fort Kochi. Waiting at the train station to book a Tatkal ticket. And now waiting for the ferry back to Mattancherry. Where we strolled around Jew Town. And stopped to watch this guy make ali baba pants. Another few snaps of the street art in Fort Kochi. I don't know why but I felt like I needed to snap a picture of this door. Santa Cruise Basilica. Another snap of the fishing nets. And For Kochi beach. Looking down the corridor of a sleeper class coach. And looking at the top bunk. Me perched up on the top bunk. Looking down at my travel buddy.

It took two buses and a ferry to get to Fort Kochi, but by this time of my trip I'd come to like the delirious, tiring, confusing traveling, because it was always followed by arriving at a new place to explore. It's pretty normal when you get off a bus, train, or ferry to be confronted with touts - one, or ten. At first I was reluctant to listen to the touts, and I put this down to the fact that I'd never been in a situation like this and didn't know how to gauge whether I could trust someone. When we jumped off the ferry in Fort Kochi there was only one tout. He said hello to me and I decided to take a chance and say hello back. After chatting to him for a couple of minutes we hopped in a rikshaw to check out his guesthouse and it turned out that it was an awesome room - and it had w-fi (always a bonus!). We got settled in and headed out to explore the town.

Fort Kochi is a small town and it's super easy to get around on foot. We spent the afternoon wandering along the shore - giggling at Indian travelers experiencing sand and waves for the first time, exploring the street art filled alleyways, and stopping to snap pictures at one of the coolest road signs. Ever. After a lazy afternoon and a quick dinner we headed back to the guesthouse to book a couple of trains and buses. We managed to get most of them booked before the credit card we were using (my travel buddies as the fees on mine were insane!) was canceled. We were planning on booking a Tatkal train ticket (a tatkal ticket is a ticket that is available for sale the day before the train departs for last minute emergency travelers) and needed the card to work the morning to get our tickets. Fortunately when we contacted the card provider call centre we spoke to a lovely lady who (surprise surprise!) was in India, and understood out situation and quickly unblocked the card for us. Another thumbs up for India! 

Each morning on the Fort Kochi shore the local fishermen use big old Chinese fishing nets to fish from the shore and it's an incredible sight. We were up at the crack of dawn but unfortunately the guesthouse owners didn't tell us that they were going to lock the doors at night and we were locked in. I opened the door to the balcony and we had a quick look and decided it was safe to climb down, and then had to jump the gates to get onto the street - so we did, all watched by a local woman from her kitchen window. Once we'd had a wander along the shore we got the ferry to the mainland and then a rikshaw to the train station to book out Tatkal tickets. It was alot easier than we thought it would be, and it's a great idea for backpackers, who often don't know when they're coming and going, as the trains get booked very quickly. As long as you can get to any train station the day before the train departs at 10am you will almost always get a ticket. Once that was out of the way we caught the ferry back to the western part of Fort Kochi - Mattancherry.

Mattancherry was the gateway to the spice trade and if you wander down Bazzar Road you'll see (you'll smell it before you see it) the remains of the once booming trade. Littered along the street are stores with bags and bags of potatoes and onions piled high. We wandered along the streets of Mattancherry, occasionally popping into a store to check out locally made clothes, postcards, and handicrafts, and had a look around the Paradesi Synagouge, before heading back to our guesthouse to freshen up (it was humid!) and wandering into town to The Mango Tree for dinner. After dinner we sat ourselves down in an internet cafe to book our last few trains. While we were in the internet cafe we started chatting to a couple of travelers who were on their way to Munnar. We told the about the local buses and gave them recommendations for where to stay and what to do and it was here that I felt like a real backpacker - I couldn't believe that I'd been backpacking in India for two whole months and survived.

We checked out of our guesthouse the next morning and spent the day wandering around the town, and chilling out in the guesthouse lounge - they had a few guidebooks so I curled up on a chair and got stunk into the Bangalore chapter.


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