Cochin – final stop

We have reached the final location of our trip. Tomorrow we will fly to Bangalore for the night and then leave for London. We have had several days here, first at the Arches Hotel and then on to the Taj Malabar Hotel for a bit of R&R.

We spent the first day having a look around Cochin. By far the most touristy stop on our trip, but with a rich and varied history. Vasco da Gama was buried here (though later they dug him up and took him back to Portugal). The Dutch and British also took their turns at ruling the place, and there are many signs of these various eras in the city.

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There was also at one time a thriving Jewish population, located in the politically-incorrectly named Jew Town. However when Israel was founded in 1948 most of them emigrated there and now there are only four families left. And no rabbi, but a lovely and fascinating little synagogue.

There is much talk of religious tolerance here and certainly as far as we can see there seems to be remarkably little tension between the Hindus, Muslims, Christians (both Catholic and Protestant and many other colours in between) and, presumably, Jews who inhabit the place.

We visited the Chinese fishing nets in the morning, Heath Robinson contraptions that lower a net into the water and then raise it again hoping to catch some fish as they surface. Many of these were damaged by the tsunami.

Bijou showed us round various places including the Parade Ground (once used by the Dutch and then in turn by the British), basilica/cathedral, spice market, bishop’s house and so on. We were introduced to a lot of interesting vegetation – the most intriguing in my view is the Rain Tree, which folds up its leaves in the monsoon rain so rainwater collects in them, and then unfolds them when the rain stops to release a continuation of the rainfall beneath it.

Not an over-picturesque place and so rather limited photo opportunities. But we went for a sunset cruise one day and a farewell dinner outside by the water’s edge the next which were fun. Then we moved hotels to the Taj Malabar.

That evening, on the recommendation of our driver, we visited a Hindu temple where there was a festival going on with a promised 21 elephants. Too good to be true, of course – there were “only” 13, but pretty impressive nonetheless. Took millions of photos!

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Today was spent by the pool until teatime when we went to a cookery class run by a wonderful woman called Nimmy Paul and her husband Paul (or that might be a wonderful woman called Nimmy and her husband Paul, I’m not entirely sure.) She’s a slightly eccentric lady living in a lovely old house and really knows her stuff – as evidenced by the fact that of all the people involved in the tourism industry that we met, she is the only one who has not had a bad start to the year. Indeed, by the end of February she said she had only had 2 days off in total!

The food was delicious and we left feeling we’d learned a lot and made some new friends.

Although the holiday is over, we will keep this website up for some time and probably add to it over the coming weeks. We have some reflections on our trip, plenty more photographs, and we have been making “collections” of coloured houses, coloured clothes, quirky signs and so on. So come back soon!

419 Responses to “Cochin – final stop”

  • rowan:

    See soon. Toby has a very red nose in cooking photo !!!
    Lovely pics throughout – bit concerned about the “millions” that might have to be viewed ( am I THAT bad ?? )

  • Andy & Karen:

    Looks like you have had a great time & this is a great web site to enable us all to follow your travels & see the sights.
    Daylight & temperatures are finally increasing here so your return timing is just right.

    Andy & Karen

  • Dave & Christine:

    Hi we have been following your holiday and looking at all your great photos. Make the most of it because even though the weather is good here and it looks like spring, looks are deceptive. It is minus 6C tonight. Safe journey home. Best wishes, D & C>

  • Caroline and Kevin:

    Sunny here feels like Spring is on its way hope it is I expect your garden is starting to look interesting. Where has the time gone it seems like yesterday you were arriving in Bangalore! Looking forward to hearing more at Easter.
    Speak soon

  • Dave and Yael:

    enjoy the last few days – it all sounds so fascinating out there.Lovely pictures.
    Safe journey home.
    I’ll be in London from 10th till 16th March. Any chance of meeting up.
    all the best