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Published: October 26th 2007
I don't know why I bother, it's not even as if I like the beach, but my plans for some chilled out time at a luxury tropical beach came unstuck again. Kind of.
Went from Trivandrum to Varkala on Saturday and booked into a fantastic bamboo hut for three nights (ended up staying for four). Varkala is a lovely spot, located on a cliff top overlooking the Arabian Sea. Was a very relaxing few days - fantastic food (locally caught fish) and nothing to do but relax and unwind. Weather was ok but it always got cloudy in the afternoon so the promised Arabian Sea sunsets ((c) Lonely Planet) never materialised. The so-called "perfect beaches" were also far from that but never mind....
After Varkala, got the train up to Kollam where I got the 8 hour tourist cruise through the Keralan backwaters to Alleppey, bit touristy but a much better way to travel than the bus. Which I squeezed into the next day to catch my train at Ernakulam, not a comfortable ride. The train took me overnight to Goa, where I got out at the southerly most stop and headed to the "idyllic" beaches at Palolem. Now maybe I've been watching too many travel programs, but it's not exactly my idea of an idyllic beach - full of cows, dodgy bamboo huts and package holiday tourists and it rained. A lot. Still, it wasn't a bad place to spend a few days and I did avoid most of the crowds further north. Also managed to find an English pub for a most amusing derby game!!
Moral of the story: Leave the beaches to the package holiday lot and never trust the Lonely Planet!
After Palolem headed up to Panaji, Goa's capital and away from the beaches. Really cool town, with the mix of Indian and Portugese influences with some very interesting old chuches in Old Goa down the road. After a couple of days here, headed up to Mumbai on my last overnight train of my trip and my final stop in India. Mumbai is a definite improvement on Delhi although the constant hassle from hawkers and other tossers takes its toll as well. Didn't have much time to see the city as had lots to sort out for Africa trip but it seems a pretty cool place. It's been a fun seven weeks in India but definitely time to move on.
Flying to Africa tonight (3am) and not sure if I'll be able to update the blog from there. If not, will save the stories and photos for if/when I get back to the UK in December.
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