Travel in Mexico to the land of the Maya

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Mexico embodies a spicy and fiery passion for la vida, a bit as her chiles, jalapeƱos and tequila. This spirit is found everywhere, in art, music, history and culture, but also in the way Mexicans enjoy a sense of everyday life. Being contaminated by their wonderful way of being and to discover the attractions of the country is an experience not to be missed, one of those that cannot be missed in the list of winners of globetrotters.

It's difficult to decide to book a trip to Mexico and then not be fascinated, with an amazing feeling and a unique experience that is hard to describe. Yes we are talking about the places, the wonderful sunny beaches, the warm friendly people as also of the cultural wealth and the well known historical aura surrounding this land is to be discovered.

We are of course referring to the Maya and the Aztecs, two populations that have really left their mark permanently in our human history. For completeness sake we will say that the first inhabitants of Me…

Kerala: Travel through Water, Coconut and Smiles

Kerala wallpapers travel tourism

After the beauty of about 15 hours trip by train from Gokarna, we finally arrive in Kochi, where in the Ernakulam station waited for us the driver from our first hotel, which was booked via the internet. Our entire trip from Karnataka to Kerala was organized if I may say so, over the Internet, without having to hire travel agencies, which certainly would have made us spend much more.

Since we arrived here in the early morning, we spend the morning lounging for a moment in the room and doing a walk in the area near the hotel. For the next 2 days we visit the old town, with its fishing nets and the thousands of crows that fly around. The second day we take a auto rickshaw and visit Mattancherry, the Jewish area, which is not much different from Fort Kochi, where we stop to see some temples and where we ask our driver to take us to eat something. In Fort Cochin we also went to see a performance of Kathakali, a traditional theater dance of Kerala.

Cochin, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, due to its natural harbor is a really fascinating place that is seductive, which takes you quickly back in time, thanks to its centuries old churches, its old Portuguese and Dutch colonial houses, who landed here over 500 years ago, the Jewish Synagogue, and thanks to the many fishermen crowding the promenade with the old and famous Chinese fishing nets whose ancient and also very complicated technique was based on a particular system of counterweights, and is still in use today. Vasco de Gama died here and was buried here in 1500, before his ashes were later transferred via Lisbon to the Dutch, who brought out a nice bit of restructuring.

We go into a little restaurant and have traditional south Indian food. The next day, we take the public ferry which takes us to Vypin island. As we get on the ferry, I do not notice, and I climb the side reserved for women only. However after a chuckle, we change our areas and everything falls into place, between the smiles of other Malayali women who look at me curiously and hilariously.

After a half hour trip we arrive at the famous beach, a strip of white sand, just along the coast road. Hordes of tourists walk endlessly along the beach. The beach is nice, but it is impossible to swim because the current is very strong and even when standing on the shore we could realize its current. The day passes quickly and for the return instead of the bus, we opt for a auto rickshaw.

We take a small road passing between small groups of houses hidden by vegetation, where there are children and animals in complete freedom. We also see an elephant carrying a bunch of fagots and the image takes us by surprise! Finally it's evening by the time we come back to the hotel. We start searching for a place to eat and we choose a restaurant popular with tourists, which was really inexpensive.

As the Christmas Eve in India was near, we notice a beautiful hotel and enter to look around. It had a beautiful lobby and pool and we see written that it organized the Christmas dinner, so there we book and in the evening we appear there. The food was good with the band playing around. The evening passes and we take a walk downtown after dinner.

At Cochin because the Portuguese first landed here with, there is a very high percentage of Christians. At midnight, we go to the St. Francis Church, the oldest Christian church in the area and participate in a Midnight Mass. It was nice to hear the half-Mass in Latin and half in English, with a choir singing in Latin, and above all it was great when at the end of the ceremony the priest greeted everyone present in all imaginable languages.

During my stay in Cochin I also took the opportunity to visit the beautiful backwaters of Kerala, a system of large and small canals, which extends over kilometers and kilometers of tropical vegetation and small floating villages.

After three days in Kochi, we take a taxi, booked through the hotel, with a visit inland to Munnar, the land of plateaus with endless tea plantations, where we arrived after nearly 4 hours of travel. Here the panorama changes radically as the heat gives way to moisture and we pull out our sweaters. Our hotel was also a surprise as it was a villa completely surrounded by forest, and nature is everywhere, where you can hear the sounds of birds and other animals, which frankly I cannot say what they were.

After unloading the suitcases in the room, we go for a small trek, following a path and come to a stream with small waterfalls. It starts to drizzle and we return home. Here we meet a guy who leads us to see the cardamom plants, which is the widely used spice in these parts. We request the manager of the resort to have our breakfast ready by 8.30 am and to have a taxi at 9.00. Although there was a restaurant and a bar, the guys who live in another villa in the jungle, prepared the food outside and distribute it door to door. We agree to have our food with them amidst lots of fun.

The next morning, after breakfast we leave for the plantations, and we go to visit a pseudo tea factory where they feature various types of tea to take back home. Our driver was a very young boy in his early twenties, who speaks barely a word of English and had a terrible accent and neither of us were able to communicate properly, with delusional speeches in Hindi-English between him and me. They were unforgettable moments, worthy of the best comedies.

All day we move around the mountains of Munnar and in the afternoon we do a two and a half hour trek through the forest to reach a breathtaking waterfall, guided by a forest kid, who stops to explain the properties of various plants and walked through the forest with a simple pair of flip-flops. In the evening, we return back to our rooms. We get through our dinner meal with chicken curry and rice with vegetables, which was all very good.

The next morning, after breakfast we go on an elephant back on a steep narrow road. We do our tour and take the usual photos and continue our journey for many kilometers. Near one of the waterfalls, we stop to eat sitting on the bench at the roadside and the food was not bad at all, although everything was terribly spicy. With 50 rupees each, we ate our usual rice and chicken curry and an excellent sweet dish.

It's time to leave Munnar and escorted by our faithful driver we head to Kumily, where we stay at a nice Homestay. It was cheap as the most expensive room cost 800 rupees a night, with 200 rupees for breakfast, but there were rooms even cheaper which were very clean and well kept. Next to the forest, from the windows of our room, we can see birds, squirrels, woodpeckers and some monkeys in the distance.

The owner was a fantastic host, who was very nice and helpful and was ready to make a thousand phone calls to find a rickshaw or to satisfy any desire. The next day, the owner organizes us a day in the Jeep in the Periyar National Park. Starting at 5 am by jeep, we stop to see a glimpse of some wild elephants from a distance, through the trees and some monkeys. We have lunch in an estate and after 2 hours of hiking through the forest, we were disappointed because the guides lead us to walk on a small path beaten already trailed by now many tourists every day and so we can't see even the shadow of the animals.

We politely request our guide, who finally agrees to leave the beaten path and to take us through the wilds. We reached the estate again, and a short trip in a rowing boat, lead us to see another waterfall beyond the lake. We return to Kumily at night, and stop for a bite around and head back to the homestay and we really fall asleep early, because we were tired after the long trek through the woods.

The next day we start in our car booked by the homestay owner towards Alleppey or Alappuzha, as they call. After about four and a half hour drive we get to our mini resort. The cottages were attached to the shore of the backwaters, with a large room and the outdoor bathroom, but always included inside the cottage. It was great to get the shower at night under the stars in Kerala.

For the first night we eat at the resort, we order fish Molee, where fish is cooked in coconut juice and my friend opt for the hard fish fry. We also order for the usual chicken and rice.



In the morning, after breakfast, we take a autorickshaw and venture up to the port area, where we were informed to hike in the House Boat the next day. We go to an agency, but their offer was not convenient so watching us around, and thanks to the advice of our driver, a small Houseboat for us was just fine and we opt for an excursion next day, while those who want can even book the boat for two days.

We agree for the next day and we go up directly in front of our resort, all day in a boat among a thousand channels, have lunch on board based on fish, chicken, vegetables and fruit, and in the afternoon visit a small village on an island. When you book the boat, insist that the tour includes a visit to the village, which generally can only be seen from a distance. As usually happens, through the visit to a village, you can see the smiles of children, the little houses in the middle of the waters and if you're lucky like us even have a small canoe ride offered by a local boy, which were the best moments of the whole day.

On the third day at Alleppey our driver takes us to visit a few temples and then up to a beach paradise, a little out of Alleppey, Marari Beach. There is hardly anyone, it's wonderful, a white sandy beach very large and clean, without the tourist hordes. Under some palm trees there are hammocks, where we decked ourselves and I fall asleep lulled by the wind and the sound of the sea! Even here, though, we cannot swim, because the current is very strong, and so we just sunbath and walk on the shore.

I have not told you about the New Year's Eve. It was a nice evening. We were like everyone in the main beach in Alleppey, where there were thousands of people. There was a kind of party with people singing and dancing on a stage set up on the beach and a few food stalls. As midnight arrived, they shot some small fireworks.

Next day our next destination is Varkala, where we had arrived late in the evening from Alleppey. This resort is famous for its white beach. It was the ideal time to enjoy the sunshine and water, which was best suited to surfing. On the coast there is a holiday resort with massage parlors, hippie bars, restaurants, hotels and small shops overlooking the sea from a cliff. As we move away from the more touristy part of the beach we meet the fishermen preparing their nets to go out. Varkala is a beautiful place.

After Varkala, we take a car and head to the south towards Kovalam through Trivandrum, the final destination of our tour. There, we meet with an Ayurvedic doctor. On the afternoon we have our first massage which was very relaxing as they anoint us with lots of aromatic oil and massage with both hands and feet, and then pour hot oil on the forehead for several minutes. After the massage, which lasts about an hour, we take a shower with a kind of mud instead of soap, to remove excess oil. We come out totally relaxed and fragrant, with soft and smooth skin.

The treatment was repeated for the next 4 days, but in between we take the opportunity to go to the sea. The Kovalam beach is very pretty, well maintained, where we can finally swim, but we did not venture far because of the currents. The water is warm and clean and all along the promenade is full of shops and restaurants to eat vegetarian food or fresh fish, that first take the orders from customers and then start cooking.

The days spent in Kovalam fly away fast. We stayed in a cute Homestay, run by a very nice and friendly guy. The rooms were very clean and cozy and the best thing was that there was a well-kept garden and only after a few steps, we could get to the beach. The interiors of Kovalam is a maze of narrow streets that weave between houses and shops, including several tailoring shops where tailors repackage any item of clothing you want at the speed of light and at prices really cheap.

It's time for us to leave as our plane leaves next day morning to home after crossing a world of people and an endless line for check-in we get on the plane.

Comments

Ege said…
That place really looks relaxing :) Do you know spesific where it is? Thanks for comment on my blog :)
Being Me said…
It must be a forever peaceful feeling if one lives in the shadow of an awesome mountain range and one so beautiful.

Thank you for stopping by my blog.

BM
Beautifully depicted and presented. Thanks.
Charles said…
Oh wow... that place is incredible! /sigh... another place I need to add to my fast growing list of "places I REALLY want to go to but probably never will!"

Thanks for sharing :)
Erika said…
I like very much this relaxing colour.
It should be a paradisiac place.
Krishna said…
excellent post on my home land

thanks for sharing...
Kungsfiskaren said…
Wow, lovely landscape and stunning photo of it.
Greetings from Sweden
/Ingemar
Christina Klas said…
Wow. What an amazing place. The colors are unreal!
johbont said…
beautiful dream photo
Sutapa said…
Wow you capture the true essence of Kerala! Love it!
Aaahh! I've always dream of visiting Kerala. It's just so beautiful :)
ladyfi said…
That is a slice of heaven right here on Earth! Beautiful.
Leovi said…
Delicious with a green landscape breathtaking.
Rajesh said…
Amazing landscape.
venus66 said…
Beautiful scenery.
Eden said…
Wow! Beautiful place.
R.Ramakrishnan said…
Thanks for dropping by and leaving your kind comments.

In the process I have discovered your wonderful blog. The picture of the tea garden (I presume it is !) is simply awesome.
deeps said…
i wonder if the God's own country tag fits Kerala anymore !!
lisa said…
What a beautiful photograph this is Kalyan!
Erika said…
Have a nice week end, dear friend!!
Peikkoinen said…
The place I want to be! Music to my eyes...
T. Becque said…
Wow is that real?! It's just beautiful.
Eeva said…
Thanks for a comment on my blog, although....This might be a beginning of a serious addiction...I'm a big fan of India (on the top of my wanna-go-destinations) and your photos and writings just wont help! Beautiful blog!
muminsearch.com said…
I'll have to admit my ignorance here, I've never heard of Kerala before, but this photo makes me want to find out more.
Lady*♥*Fiona said…
Oh My!!! My eyes have never witnessed any land that is as green as this! What a gorgeous photo and I can see why it is referred to as, "God's own country". Your writing is just as beautiful :)

Thanks so much for visiting my blog & leaving a nice comment :)

Have a day as *beautiful* as this one :)
Fiona
kalaiselvisblog said…
Wow.. nice snaps..

i too visited kerala once during my college tour...
sawan said…
Thats a welcoming post :) you could have included a couple of good packages/hotels/boats here, the good ones by experience.
Cynthia said…
Supernaturally gorgeous!
Susie Clevenger said…
What beauty and serenity...sigh..wish I could be there
Oneika said…
Wow! Definitely looks like a very relaxing and romantic place! Gorgeous!!! I'm your newest follower, by the way!!! :-)

Oneika
WOW- that is an amazing place!
SprigBlossoms said…
Beautifully written and informative piece :)
Chintan said…
I have been to Kerala and what a place to be! Whenever I visit travel blogs am all nostalgic :(
Desiree said…
Oh, that is SO beautiful! I can see why it's called God's Own Country!
SandyCarlson said…
That looks like a very peaceful place.
A Lady's Life said…
It certainly is heavenly and tranquil
I've been to places like this and its mind blowing.
Aakash Kokz said…
Beautiful place, amazing!
Red Nomad OZ said…
What amazing beauty - shown brilliantly in the photos. I particularly like the sunset shots - but they're ALL magnificent!! Thanx for this glimpse into another world!!
Pietro said…
Thanks for sharing this amazing place, what a fascinating atmosphere there!
Happy Monday!
Kala said…
Looks to be a gorgeous place - almost like out of a dream!
Zuzana said…
what a truly stunning image! So green and so serene.:)
Thank you for your recent visit and so sorry that I am returning first now, I have been away traveling.
xoxo
pietrzyk said…
Wonderful photo.Greetings Andrzej.
A Keeper said…
That is absolutely gorgeous. I could imagine spending a day there, just relaxing and breathing in the fresh air.
'Lara said…
Kerala is the one place i must visit before I leave India...not even the Taj excites me as much as Kerala does.
anthony stemke said…
Incredibly beautiful scenery in thos photos. I wonder what a "hill station" is.
I would love to visit Kerala.
kankana said…
Truly one of the most beautiful vacation spot in India. I visited there only once so far and want to definitely go again and again :)
Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharingand stopping in JoAnn
Ash said…
Lovely photos of my beloved home Kerala. Makes me homesick! *Sigh*
Team G Square said…
Redefined Kerala God's own country .

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