08 January 2010

The Venice of India

Having just left the St Ives of India we now find ourselves in the, self proclaimed, Venice of the east (yes, another one!). We've come to Alappuzha (Alleppey) as it's the gateway town to the infamous Kerala backwaters. The backwaters are a network of rivers, canals, waterways, lagoons and lakes that are on the west coast of India, sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the mountainous Western Ghats.

Our guide book made Alappuzha sound like some quaint little village, when in reality, it was more like Dudley and bore no resemblance at all to Venice! Thankfully we've had a really nice place to stay called Venice Castle where we've been making the most of having a TV for the first time in while.

In order to explore the backwaters we had originally planned to rent one of the rather swanky looking house boats for an overnight trip.

However, the cost was a bit too high so we ended up downgrading a little to something more in our price range . . . a canoe for four hours.

Our canoe trip through the back waters was very pleasant as we floated through the villages, observing local life and relaxing in our little boat.

It was a very relaxing little jaunt, or it was, until we encountered a monster head-wind on the way back. Our oars man couldn't make any headway so I was forced to break out the spare paddle and give some assistance otherwise we'd still be there now. He wasn't the most smiley guide we've ever had . . .

As nice as it was we don't really understand what all the fuss is about. A trip to the Kerala backwaters is one of the things that often crops up on those "10 things to do before you die" sort of lists. It's definitely worth a visit if you're passing but we wouldn't recommend that you went too far out of your way to come here.

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