It's been such a whirlwind since I got back from India I haven't had a second to even think about it but today I'm finally sharing photo's from our first stop - Fort Cochin, Kerala.
We had about 12 days in Kerala in total and made it to four different areas, I loved The tea plantations in Munnar (more on that soon) but was disappointed with the beach at Varkala (more on that too). Our first stop was the Fort Cochin, we found really cheap Emirates flights on Expedia that flew into Cochin so it made sense to start there and get acclimatised.
We stayed at the Heavenly Homestay run by Patrick and Mary who were great hosts, the breakfasts where delicious and plentiful and rooms spotlessly clean. It was about a 10 minute walk from the main centre which took us past so many colourful houses with the most incredible contrasting tropical plants and flowers - gorgeous!
Fort Cochin isn't a huge place we were there for two days and that was plenty, if you plan on visiting the backwaters then you could add on an extra day. As we arrived very early on the Monday morning so didn't feel like doing too much - we had a wander past the Chinese fishing nets and down Princess Street. It's fairly touristy but not too bad - I really recommend paying a trip to the shop on the corner of either Burgar/Princess Street and Bastian Street to stock up on 45p plastic baskets, spices and tamarind paste.
Full of breakfast on the second day we walked past the fishing nets and bus station along Calvathy Road. It takes you through the old spice market, which is more rows of shop fronts than a market market all the way round to Jew Town. I loved seeing all the old dilapidated buildings with all their beautiful faded colours and shutters, you could really imagine what Cochin was like in its heyday. Between the faded buildings were really modern galleries, there was a big art exhibition going on whilst we were there. We had a brief stop at The Pepper House to look at modern Indian interior things and a welcome air con stop - there was a cafe too but we didn't go in.
Jew town was really touristy but also a great place for finding Elle Decoration style doors and shutters - ideal if you have an unlimited budget and a husband that doesn't freak out about excess weight allowance. I didn't, so bought a camel bone handle for £2.50 instead! We stopped for a quick drink at the Ginger cafe which is right on the river (and has a good loo!).
I'd heard mixed reviews about Fort Cochin before I went but was pleasantly surprised. On the return leg of our trip we stayed on Willingdon Island, which I wouldn't recommend as there is absolutely nothing there. We stayed at the Hotel Trident which was great it had a pool, hot water and the comfiest beds, it was perfect for our last stop as we wanted a day of rest before coming home but as a base for exploring I'd definitely stay in Fort Cochin.
My Fort Cochin recommendations
Sleep - Heavenly Homestay
Eat - The Old Courtyard (we had a great dinner for £6) and they have ice-cream next door
Visit - The Old Spice Market and Princess Street
Buy - Colourful baskets and spices.
Pack - Loose cotton clothes and sandals. I'd also pack some kind of cooling leg gel, my feet puffed like a beast after the flight and with the heat.
I'll be back soon with our next destination, the tea plantations of Munnar.