July 21-28 was when 9 of us took off on an adventure in Kerala, India (southwestern part of the country). During the week we had our own van and driver (yay for Abraham!). He picked us up at the Cochin Airport and we spent our first night there. Sunday morning we looked around the town for a few hours. Our first stop was to this church:
We then went to the water’s edge where we got a personal tutorial about Chinese fishing nets and how they’re used by the local fishermen in the area. They have quite an amazing system set up!
Sunday afternoon we started to travel towards Munnar. Along the way we saw some beautiful waterfalls!
We also stopped and took a tour of a spices and herbal garden.
We finally arrived Sunday evening in Munnar and stayed here:
We spent most of Monday in sightseeing and exploring the area. The sights we saw were incredible! After being in cities and rural towns for 3 weeks, it was refreshing to enjoy the lush greenery and fresh air this climate had to offer.
It seemed everywhere we turned we saw workers in the tea plantations. Most of them stopped to smile and wave at us, seeming happy in their work.
I loved how the bright colors of the villages seemed to pop out at me as we drove by them.
We saw some animals along the way, including a family of wild elephants! (it was hard to get a good photo of them)
We stopped at a place called Echo Point, where if you yell loud enough, the echo is actually quite loud and clear.
Later that evening we went to Punarjani Traditional Village. The first hour was Kathakali, which is a classical dance drama. I could tolerate it in the beginning – in fact, Kim and I both got on stage for a minute. But it got to be so weird and creepy, I ended up walking out halfway through.
The second hour was Kalarippayattu, which is a form of traditional martial arts. This made up for the horrible first hour! We saw some amazing battles, fighting, and acrobatics. Here are some photos, but they don’t capture the intensity of seeing it live!
On Tuesday, we started our trek to Thekkady. Along the way we stopped at:
We started with a 1km walk and along the way I met this friendly cow-
We ended up at an amazing view point – we were standing in Thekkady and looking out into the town of Kumily.
Then we all crammed into a jeep, and went to spend some time with 2 enormous elephants!! They were so sweet and calm and we had a great time hanging with them.
After our elephant adventure, we were passing by a school and Jami stopped by to drop off some school supplies she had brought with her. Look at the smiles on these kids faces!
Tuesday afternoon we went on a boat tour where we were told we would see some tigers. The board ride was nice enough, but the only wildlife we saw were more elephants!
Wednesday morning we came down from the mountains and headed towards Alleppey, where we spent some time on a houseboat. It was nice to have the whole boat to ourselves and the ride up and down the river (although we basically went in one big circle!) was relaxing.
Thursday morning we left the Alleppey area and traveled most of the day to reach Kovalam beach. This was the view from the lobby:
Friday morning we took a 3-hour boat ride that was incredibly fun and relaxing. We passed through a huge mangrove where we saw various birds amidst some vibrant scenery.
We eventually ended up at a beautiful golden-sand beach where we lounged in the sun for an hour.
One of the highlights of the day was eating lunch as a floating restaurant. Our boat pulled up next to the “dock” of the place, we ate our lunch on the restaurant deck, and then went back on the boat.
The catch was very fresh that day!
Saturday morning we all got up incredibly early to head back to Cochin. The whole week in Kerala would not have been the same if it weren’t for our awesome driver/tour guide Abraham. Thanks for everything!