My first impressions of Kerala and my first day in Kerala
Entering Kerala border from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
As I cross the stunning landscapes of Coimbatore(in Tamil Nadu) to enter Kerala by train, the only thing on my mind was to explore the true culture and food of Kerala. I have to admit that like all other states in India Kerala is not just one culture or religion but a mix of vast religions, languages and cultures. Even before entering Kerala, I had a DejaVu feeling that Kerala would be God’s own country. I already had a interaction with the local people who were traveling with me on the same train. My first impression of Keralites were they are one of the most friendly people in India and welcoming. I had a talk to them about the life there, the best food to eat, the best places to visit, the traditions and a lot more.
Arrival in Ernakulam railway station
As few hours passed I reached Ernakulam Railway Station where I had to get down and the couple of people I met earlier had to travel longer as they would get down at Trivandrum (also called Thiruvanthapuram). The train would stop for about only five minutes, so I hurried up and got down the train. My travel needs were already booked before as I was traveling with a travel agency. The bus was waiting at the station to pick me up to the hotel which was a twenty minute drive. If you have not done any advance booking you can find lot of taxis or tuk tuks. If you are a foreign national, the drivers would quote the price higher, so bargain as much as you can. As I board the bus, I am still thinking about the memories of the people I met on train. Then I realized that I reached the hotel, Nyle Plaza which is considered to be one of the great hotels that I have ever been to. This hotel was located on the very busy Vytilla junction. The hotel management received me with a warm welcome and then handed the room keys to me.
A walk on the Marine Drive Walkway
I quickly had a shower, then went to the restaurant for lunch. Though it was already three in the afternoon the hotel staff was kind enough to extend lunch timings for me. The food was very good and tasty. The only disappointment came when I discovered that there was no fish in the buffet. After the lunch I had a quick nap for about an hour and then headed to the road with no idea where to go. Then after asking few people, on there advice I went to the Marine Drive Walkway. I had to walk about two kilometers to reach the bus stop which was located at the Vytilla junction from where I had to take a bus to the Marine Drive Walkway. The bus would charge you about five Indian Rupees. If you are a rich traveler you could take a tuk tuk which would charge eighty Indian Rupees for the same service. As I reached the walkway, I see a lot of locals with their families as it was a weekend. While walking on the walkway, there were lot of street vendors who were forcing me to buy things, but being a cheap traveler I would not get tempted to buying things. There were few ferries that would take you around the sea for an hour and costs you fifty Indian Rupees. As I had no time I decided to take the ferry next day.
After spending a couple of hours at the drive I headed back to my hotel in the same route, had dinner and went to sleep. At the end of the day I was not satisfied that I still have not found out what the true culture of Kerala was about. Though Kochi was a main destination in Kerala, it was urbanized and all I found was concrete structures. My quest would continue the next day.