Munnar and Kannur, a journey

Trip Start Jan 21, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2012

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Thursday, March 10, 2011

After our houseboat in Alleppey we made the bumpy 7 hour bus journey to Munnar, a hillstation a few hundred kilometres inland and up in the mountains of Kerala.  Our first impressions were very good, the lush greenery and sheer magnitude of the tea plantations were pretty spectacular and the views from the bus alone were stunning.  Munnar is nothing like anywhere else I have seen in India and it made a welcome change from the dirty hot streets we had become used to.  Even better was the quality of air 1550 metres above sea level. My lungs gratefully inhaled the cool, clean air and the temperature was a lot cooler too so it made a change to not be sweating constantly! 

We found a place to stay and went for a wander around the town and explored the food options (always on my mind!) that were available, which were not that many.  There were about 5 places we could eat so we walked into the nearest place and had a fairly average meal.  A quick inspection revealed that there was no beer to be had here!  The next day we hired a rickshaw to take us to some beautiful places popular with tourists including Echo Point, a place where unsurprisingly you can hear yourself echoed if you shout across the lake!  We also went to Top Point, which is about 2250 metres above sea level and one of the highest places in the region.  It was beautiful to look down on a sea of green with the mountains in a haze in the distance.  We watched some tea being harvested by some very friendly Indian men and then went on our way. 

Our trip to Munnar was fairly brief and we only stayed 2 days before moving onto a new destination, Kannur.  Entirely the opposite of Munnar, Kannur was back on the coast of Kerala but a lot further north than Varkala and Kochi.  We had heard that there were some spectacular beaches to be found with barely a soul on them so we thought we would spend our last days there before making the trip back to Kochi for our flight out.  Unfortunately we had a bit of a mammoth journey ahead of us with another 6 hour bus ride, followed by a 6 hour train ride north.  Unfortunately the train was pretty grim as we had second class seats without air con.  Tamara and Tom suffered most on the seats with their little bony bums and Andrew took to lying on the luggage rack above us!  It was hot, tiring and packed with people staring at us, as well as being pretty delayed.  Inevitably by the time we arrived all we wanted to do was find a place to dump our bags and have a shower.  Typically however the first place we went to had no rooms available and the one that did had the worst bathroom I have been in since we came away.  We vowed to stay the one night and then find somewhere else to stay. 

Kannur is a lot more expensive than the other places we have stayed in and we found it hard to find anywhere in our budget.  After exploring a nearby beach that clearly wasn't the one we had heard about, we walked into a plush looking hotel and asked about rooms.  They were way out of our budget but after negotiating with the manager we got him down to about 22 quid a night as long as we stayed 2 nights!  This doesn't sound much but we are used to paying 8-10 pounds per night.  To cut a long story short we ended up staying for 2 nights, had room service every day, used the pool and generally lazed about enjoying the air con and watching films.  It was great!  It obviously got a bit boring and we still hadn't seen much of Kannur so after some investigating we found somewhere to stay with a secluded beach and all meals included for the same price!  It was a little homestay tucked out of the way and far from absolutely everything.  The beach was gorgeous and we even saw some wild dolphins!  An Indian man told us they must have been baby sharks but we refused to believe him.

It was our last few days with Tamara and Andrew before we went our separate ways and so we enjoyed every last moment with them the way we knew best - drinking beer, playing cards and telling ridiculous stories.  Great times and we miss them already!  We had a 7.30am train back to Kochi to catch our flight that day and typically it was running late.  Thankfully we had loads of time so we got to the airport in good time and checked in.  As we went through passport control I was pulled to one side and asked to come with one of the authorities because my bag was suspicious!  I had no idea what could be the problem and no one spoke in English so it was a bit intimidating.  After emptying my entire bag it turns out the 'threat' was one of my handbags with little gold skulls on it.  Apparently they looked like bullets or something sinister!  Thankfully I was able to go through security, safe in the knowledge my skulls weren't about to cause any damage.

And so our journey in India ended!  We now move on to Southeast Asia, starting with Cambodia.  The wifi is in no short supply here so I won't be writing 3 blogs at once...  :)
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