Life Along the Backwaters
Pedalling' north along the coast under a canopy of seemingly unending coconut trees, we pass through the numerous villages of the Backwaters, where fishing and farming the fertile soils provide the mainstay of life. In many small restaurants and at our village homestay, this fresh local produce transforms into deliciously distinct and delicately flavoured curries. Leaving our bikes behind for a while we glide through the waterways by small boat and local Anjili wood canoes.
Elephants and Spices
Using our support vehicle, we head inland to the enchanting Vanilla County Estate (1100m) engulfed by tea gardens and plantations of spices and rubber. At Periyar National Park we watch out for herds of elephant, sambar deer and myriad bird species on our early morning trek. By bike we set out to explore the surrounding waterfalls and silent valleys which, clothed in the richest green, rise toward the majestic heights of the Western Ghats.
Colonial Kochi and Crescent Beaches
Returning to the coast we head for Kochi with its unique architectural blend of Indian and European; cycling around the old Portuguese Fort with its Chinese fishing nets, churches, synagogue and old godowns, now occupied by some interesting antique and curio sellers. A sunset boat trip around the harbour and visit to a performance of the local Kathakali dancers are a must. Finally we travel by train to Trivandrum and cycle back to Kovalam's crescent beach.
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