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Trip Report Galactus on a Kerala trip - Jan 2012

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Just finished my 5 day trip to Kerala and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to write my first trip report. While the trip itself had its ups and downs like any genuine vacation, the state itself is truly stunning. I have never seen such natural beauty with so much diversity in India, from beaches to backwaters to mountains, Kerala has it all.

Photos at: http://travel.webshots.com/album/582258915ggdkWf

Day 1
Long haul flight from Pune with a 4 hour stopover at Hyderabad. Nice, clean airport with plenty of ways to kill time, insofar airports go in being means of passing time. It has some pretty empty (in a good way) areas where you can sit in peace and enjoy a good book or just watch the planes go about their business. The damage to the wallet started with the purchase of a rare Waterman fountain pen I found browsing around. Nice start, with a hefty price tag. The next leg of the journey to Cochin was by a medium paced turboprop plane, which was exciting mostly because I get to travel by them less and less each year.

By the time I finally reached my hotel in Cochin, it was dark and most of the city had closed down. For the single night, I chose the Presidency Hotel in Ernakulam, which is the downtown area of the city. The dinner at their main restaurant was disappointing, I expected much from the serving of grilled prawns in a city famous for its seafare. I had to leave that plate halfway and finish up with a club sandwich. Oddly enough my waiter when queried about the number of restaurants inside the hotel, replied that it was the only one. In reality they had three, though I never got to know about them till it was too late.

Day 2
Another dismal meal at the hotel, this time a buffet breakfast. But the room was fair for its price and after a restful night, so I could not complain much. The driver Biju had already decided that we should see the Chinese fishing nets which hark back to the 13th century. They were innovative structures I admit but the catch and speed of operation was so meager that I wonder if they would be around much longer. After a quick peek at the nearby beach structures and the beach itself, I thought the best option was to head straight to Munnar and reach in daylight. With a heavy lunch dripping in coconut oil and eaten at a reasonably clean joint, I thought the rest of the journey (5 more hours) would be a breeze. Alas, with the heavy food and the zigzag mountain road coupled with the driver intent of joining the F1, I became seriously ill and barely looked out of the window till we reached Munnar. At the sight of the first resort - Royal Retreat (note to self: stay here next time), I was elated only to find that my resort was another 25 kms away, well outside the town of Munnar. But oh what a sight I was treated to on the way there - magnificent tea gardens, stunning valley views and awe inspiring cloudy mountain tops. So this is the reason everyone loves Munnar and who can blame them.

We checked into our hotel - the Siena Village which is nestled neatly below two mountains high enough that their tops were usually covered in clouds. The rooms were extremely charming with wooden flooring, a small fireplace and a neat little balcony upstairs. Ah, I could get used to this. The evening was mostly spent gazing at the scenery around me and the dinner remained a mystery since I managed to have only a couple of bowls of chicken soup remembering the difficult times I had only hours ago. Still, the weather was good, the hotel cozy and the surroundings peaceful. Good day all in all.

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