Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Fragrance to remember

It was a sudden decision like many of our trips and we decided on Kochi; Fort Kochi to be precise. Kerala in Monsoon; officially "off season". Got out tickets booked, applied for a day's off and reached the airport. A quick search in the ever dependable tripadvisor showed so many options of bed and breakfast in Fort Kochi. We zeroed upon Walton's homestay. There was something about the place which clicked. Yes even in the small screen of the phone. P made a call to the place to check availability and also to ask was it ok if we took a pre paid taxi from airport to Fort Kochi. A very cordial but firm voice said, rooms were available and advised us to opt for the AC bus from Airport to Fort Kochi rather than paying Rs.800 to the taxi.The voice also informed that since he didn't have commission paying policy to autowalas and cabbies, they would not know his place. If you ask us honestly, that made us confident of our choice as it showed the owners faith on what he offers to his visitors.
We landed in Kochi at 1pm. There it was, the AC bus waiting to carry passengers to Fort Kochi through the city of Ernakulam. Fare - Rs.70 per head.The bus takes about an hour to reach Fort Kochi from Kochi International airport which is about 45 KM. The Bus dropped us at the Kochi bus stand which is merely 5minutes walking distance from Princess Street.It is on Princess Street, Walton's homestay is located.
At the reception we were greeted by the man behind the voice we spoke in the morning ; Mr. Walton himself. He assured us that he was giving us the best room. Out of the 9 rooms, only 2 - 3 rooms were occupied as it was not the Tourist season.We got a room on ground floor which opened directly to a very well kept garden. Because of the rains, everything around was green and fresh. We entered the room and a very striking and sweet aroma of Lemon grass welcomed us. It was such a pleasant surprise! In our previous experiences, we had been to Inn or hotel rooms with all sorts of smells; mostly the strong room freshner and sometimes even the damp smell of carpets and walls.The room's flooring was wooden and the house keeper informed that they used Lemon grass oil while mopping the floor to keep the mosquitoes at bay.The room was big, airy and very very well kept. We stayed there for 3 nights. Every day they would clean with the same oil.

The town of Fort Kochi was under Portuguese, Dutch and British rule in different points of time. The whole town still has the remnants all over. We decided to discover the city on foot.Heard that during tourist period, one can hire bicycles too. One day we went to see the Jew Town and Mattancherry palace. Mattancherry palace or the Dutch palace. The Dutch palace was originally built by the Portuguese and was gifted to ruler of Kerala. Later it fell into the hands of the Dutch and they revamped it. The walls inside the palace are adorned by some superb murals. in the Jew town, there is the Jewish Synagogue which is now considered to be the oldest among all the synagogues in the commonwealth of nations.

Chinese Fishing Nets

We never wanted to hurry and go everywhere the tourism brochure mentions just to strike off the place. We walked, sat in the cafes, sat by the beach,enjoyed the fishing sessions in the evenings and mornings. After 3 wonderful days, we took the bus to airport again.

It remains one of our memorable trips. That sweet aroma of Lemon grass still lingers whenever we remember this lovely little unplanned trip. Some memories are forever. This is one of them.

A host of fragrances


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