Kochi or Cochin is another one of India’s many confusing name changes after becoming independent from the British in 1947. I’ve found that most places in India have two names, sometimes three, and with different spellings too, which often makes navigation somewhat difficult.
Luckily for me I have my trusty bike bell which does absolutely bugger all in terms of getting the attention of others but doubles up as a handy compass. Fort Kochi is the quieter, more picturesque part of Kochi and where we spent our much needed break from the bikes.
We stayed at Maritime Hostel by The Hostel Crowd which was far pricier than any of the guest houses but we were desperate to be social. Nice hostel, free water, air con and comfy beds – bliss.
There isn’t really much you MUST see/do in Kochi, it’s more of a base for those visiting the backwaters and Munnar or those going through the international airport close by. This was pretty good news for me because if I’m honest, I really couldn’t be faffed to move.
I took a walk along the shore to see the Chinese fishing nets which are probably the main attraction. This unique method of using shore nets, counter balanced by rocks, have been used for donkey’s years. Due to the high cost of upkeep and diminishing fish along the shore, the number of working nets are decreasing each year. There’s still plenty of market stalls selling mostly useless crap along side them though. One good piece of useless crap are personalised grains of rice, which a man paints without using a magnify glass – amazing.
I took great pleasure in wandering around the charming backstreets of Fort Kochi and indulge in one of the many restaurants and cafes. It may not be a “must visit” in terms of things to see and do, but Fort Kochi does have a nice atmosphere and would be a great introduction to those flying in to India.
We were late leaving our hostel in Fort Kochi because of a delay in breakfast being served. I decided to wait though, as it was free and an appreciated change to my normal “you get what you are given” hole in the wall grub. As poisonous as it is I took great satisfaction in smothering my white sweet bread with butter, yes REAL butter!
I decided to “pop into” the Post Office “quick” to send some gifts home. This was my third visit and I had come equipped with all the necessary paperwork, photocopies and ID required to send something out of the country. It was pretty ridiculous the number of forms I had to fill in and things I had to do to prepare my parcel and I had spent most of the previous day getting it all ready. Turns out India Post aren’t as cheap as people make out and it would have cost me £10 to send home a minuscule box of spices, retailing at about £2. Not worth it, sorry Mum!
I learnt a lot about India Post, such as you cannot send a piece of GoPro mount or 1p in Nepal currency and that they employ a hell of a lot of people, most who look as if they hate life. Staff also have to learn a “Hindu word a day” displayed on the notice board, today’s being “Unilateral”. I had never come across that word in my life so god knows how these poor India Post employees feel trying to learn these words. Maybe that’s the reason for the faces like a slapped arse?
The midday heat had hit and we were finally on the road. Thankfully we had missed most of the rubbish burning which tends to take place during dawn and dusk where I am gassed by green fumes. Delightful. We followed the coastal road north and took a series of ferries in between the river mouths (4-6rps).
A quick stop off at Cherai beach for a cold drink and we were moving again, not stopping for lunch just a few snacks en route. It was like cycling down millionaires row with grand mansions either side and an equal mix of churches, mosques and temples. Those in Kerala don’t appear to be short of money that’s for sure! It got to about 6pm and we had only covered an embarrassing 30km. I commented that nothing much had happened the past few days and I had little stories to share with you all.
How wrong was I!