Friday 31 March 2023

Rice Boat, Vembanad Lake

 We had 2 nights at Ripples Backwater Hotel with a room opening out directly on to Vembanad Lake Kumarakom Kerala. it was the most beautiful, peaceful place I have ever stayed. We had Indian buffet breakfasts and dinners (we didn't need lunches), this hotel was unlicensed but after late nights in Kolkata market drinking beers we didnt miss a stocked bar for a few days.






After two nights here, we had a taxi to our rice boat (CGH Earth organised) where was spent 2 nights cruising the lake and small backwater canals. The boat was moored at night as the lake has to be safe for night fishermen   Our crew of 3 slept on the boat with us, we had an aircon unit in our tiny bedroom with a bed, shower and toilet, the main area was open with a fan and small table and two chairs and an area the size of a double bed was a 'no shoes allowed zone' behind the captains steering seat, during the day we could sit and see everything then at night it was cleared and became captains bed so you can imagine it was compact. The kitchen was tiny, our cook made amazing curry meals and on the last day a 13 course thali meal of delicious vegetarian curries served straight on banana leaves which we stopped to cut down that morning.  The crew  all insisted we ate with our (right) hands! We had an amazing time with them and built a good rapport.


the boat kitchen where our cook produced a 13 item curry lunch on banana leaves.







When we were docked we could get out and explore along the riverbank with one of the crew.  We were very lucky one evening to hear drums and after a short walk found a village procession going on to the Hindu temple, there were no tourists there, just the village, and they loved performing to us! The month of March was full of celebrations for Spring/harvest and we came across several events like this.



On another day a crew member took me along the side of the lake on foot and stopped, he gave three low, long whistles and I could not believe my eyes - fish were swimming to him!  He explained this is a skill his family have passed along for generations, he was working tourist boats for 3 months and then back to the family boat to be a fisherman again, I asked him to do the whistle again and the fish came, it was quite a strange moment to witness.  The fish whisperer!



We saw children swimming in the backwaters, people bathing, washing their utensils and doing their laundry, all were friendly and waved.  Passing fishermen also were friendly.  Nobody minded being photographed.


More posts to come if Blogger allows me to put my pics up :)  






















































































































































































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Thursday 16 March 2023

more kolkata

I found blogger will allow me to publish pics intermittently. Hope you enjoy seeing more of Kolkata..

We did not need a guide in kolkata as the metro system is good and we like walking. We walked about 8 miles two days running and found Howra Bridge, the flower market on my previous post is there, we were surprised we never saw any other tourists.. we then walked to College Street, famous for books and the Coffee House, which has been running for over 100 years. The coffee was very nice and the Indian people wanted to talk to us and were curious. We then walked to the fruit market and back to hotel via the Metro. If you get lost everyone wants to help so its easy to explore and you never know what you will see.... People washing their laundry, a bull stampeding through traffic, people asking for selfies and engaging in chats. The coloured dye powder on the markets was preparation for Holi festival when everyone gets covered! ... now the pictures ...















kolkata flower market


Public toilets are hole in the ground and hose it down jobbie, attendant wouldn't take my money and came to check I was ok/hadn't fallen down the hole,  when you gotta go, you gotta go - it was fine, no paper  but a nice air freshener block.



Thursday 9 March 2023

More Darjeeing

 We were in Darjeeling when the Hindu spring festival of Holi began.  Revellers throw coloured paint, we joined in.




Darjeeling has many Tibetan people...






as is next to Nepal border.   Tibetan food was everywhere, the most popular dish is momo, a steamed dumpling of vegetables or meat, also served deep fried.  Curry is hot, vegetarian manchuria is a paneer dish and  is delicious.  We ate in small cafes, if there was a queue outside we joined it!




Food was about £3 a head in cafes for curry rice and black tea or hot ginger lemon and honey. It was cold so I bought a padded gilet in the market for £5.

We took a steam train to the next town, Ghum, of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway - it's the highest railway station in India, 2,258 metres altitude.

I am still having g trouble with blogger loading pictures so had to keep this short... next stop backwaters of Kerala!

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Darjeeling

 Had 3 days exploring, tomorrow we have 2 flights and a 3 hour drive each end of the day to reach cochin then kerala...





Mellieha, Malta Sunshine Break

We had a week in Mellieha, Malta, staying at DB seabank all inclusive. My packing was 7 lightweight tee shirt/cotton tops, 3 sho...