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Published: August 20th 2017
I had been reluctant to leave our houseboat and the tranquillity of the backwaters, but when I saw Turtle Beach, the hotel at our destination in Marari Beach, in Alleppey my spirits soared. The hotel was a series of detached cottages spread over beautiful grounds including a large swimming pool, fishing lake, organic vegetable garden and a butterfly garden leading on to a private beach. It was the largest and most westernised of our accommodation, but it looked like an ideal place to end the trip.
I had lost track of time during our tour and was under the impression that we were staying for one night and leaving in the early hours the next day. When I found out that we were in fact staying two nights, I was delighted - it felt as if I had been given another day of holiday!
We threw our bags into the rooms and headed to the beach. I put some shorts on for the first time this trip, and it felt good to get my legs out in the sun. The beach was completely unspoiled and lined with coconut trees. The golden sand went on for
miles, interrupted only by brightly coloured fishing boats that looked very pretty on the beach. It was lovely to chill out and read in the sunshine. Nige and the children played some beach cricket and were soon joined by some locals, although there were very few people about.
After a lazy day, we headed for the restaurant that offered a local and international buffet. After a chilled day in the sunshine, we were looking forward to a refreshing cold beer but were horrified to find that the hotel was totally dry! The resort was isolated, and there was nowhere else to go and eat, so we settled for lime sodas, which was not quite the same. It would have been helpful to have known this beforehand to avoid disappointment!
On our last morning Molly and I headed off to the nearest village to visit a Hindu Temple and do a spot of last minute shopping. We took a twenty minute tuk-tuk ride, and realised how isolated the hotel was. The temple was not quite as impressive as some we had seen, but was worth a visit none the less. We brought some garlands of
flowers wrapped in a banana leaf and visited the shrines, which were open air. A man at the temple stopped us approaching Shiva’s shrine which was unwelcoming, but no-one else seemed to mind us being there. One lady worshipper was very friendly and stopped us for a chat, wishing us a safe journey home. We left our flowers at the shrine of Hanuman as a sign of respect to the Hindu faith.
We stopped off at a market stall and bought some trinkets assisted by a very friendly and helpful trader who was (unusually) not in the least bit pushy. We also visited a Kashmiri handicraft shop to buy some cushion covers and a Ganesh charm for my bracelet at home.
It was then time to crash out on the beach with the rest of the family, enjoying a swim and more beach cricket. We finished the day with a walk through the butterfly garden and down to the beach to watch the sunset in our saris. It was good to have the last couple of days winding down. We have had an incredible trip, creating long-lasting family memories. The experience has had an
enormous impact on each of us. We spent the last night at dinner reflecting on our journey and discussing what we will take away from it and of course plans for our next adventure…
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