Kerala: Varkala

Kingfisher Airways brought us safely from Goa to Trivandrum, capital of Kerala, with a stop over in Bengaluru. We arrived in Trivandrum late at night and caught a taxi to a mediocre hotel close to the train station. The night was very unpleasant due to the most uncomfortable beds we have ever slept in. Before a taxi was supposed to give us a lift to Verkala, 60 ks north of Trivandrum, we went out to explore the neighborhood. We walked towards the train and bus terminal in order to have breakfast in a unique Indian Diner which is located in a tower. This was quite an experience although the food was not particularly noteworthy. For the breakfast we paid about 150 Rupees, which is less than 3 Euros.
Outside the streets were the usual mess and amalgam of people, buses, cars, motor rickshaws and motor bikes. But this time the confusion was even more intense than in Bombay. We caught a motor rickshaw to the most important temple in Trivandrum and as it happened to be a Sunday, the temple site was packed with worshipers. We were introduced to the place by a Hindu kind of guide and quickly left the place after the ‘tour’. The noise and chaos was exhausting and all we wanted was get out of this town. Back at the hotel we immediately had the taxi come and while still in the middle of the noise and action, we were happy to be at least moving out of it.

The 60 ks trip took 70 minutes and left us drained of energy. Driving here is, I am repeating myself, a mere nightmare, which, in retrospect and with admittedly distorted perception, makes the streets of Vietnam or Bali an empty six lane freeway. After arriving in Verkala, our destination city, we lost orientation in the winding streets. The taxi driver neither had a clue where to go nor did he speak or understand English properly. Assuring us to know where to drive us, he started asking people for a place called “Sea Freeze” while our hotel was called “Sea Breeze”. He didn’t heed neither of my many attempts to correct him. We were at the end of our tether…

Finally, at a cul de sac, I was able to point out the place for him and, after he had demanded another 50 Rupees for the long detour which –he– was responsible for, we could finally settle into our new home. The place was just perfect and compensated for all the problems we had gone through in order to reach it.
Sea Breeze is a clean, beautiful and quiet resort run by a gorgeous couple and over friendly staff. It is located at the very end of the north cliffs just in front of a beautiful, small beach, called Black Beach for its black sand. We chose the luxury apartments with comfortable beds and a hammock on the terrace.
We immediately hit the bed for a siesta to recover from the previous traveling and didn’t get up before the sun was reaching the edge of the sea just in front of our balcony.
The rest of our stay was a mirror of our first hours here. Except that we reduced the amount of sleeping and settled into a very relaxed, comfortable, easy-going rhythm of sleeping, eating, swiming, yoga and reading our new books – Sylvia was enjoying “Holy Cow” by Sarah Mac Donnald, an account of an Australian woman about her life as a journalist in India, and I dived into a thrilling book about Neuroplastics and Buddhism and one equally fascinating one about System Theory (by Fridjof Capra called “The turning point”).
In the evening, just before dusk, we would go for extensive walks on the cliffs in order to check out the many shops, buy heaps of stuff, and enjoy the best seafood I have ever come to taste.
Our journey had obviously reached one of its highlights and we could easily spend a week more here.

But as the days go by quickly there are still some destinations to be visited on our journey back to Bengaluru. Tomorrow a taxi will give us a lift to Kollam, 40 ks north of Varkala, where we want to go on a backwater trip. Then we are planning to take the train up to Ernakulam and visit beautiful Fort Cochin before we want to press on towards the mountains in order to visit a wildlife sanctuary.

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