By Priyata Singh
(Featured image: Rahul Madaan)
Feb 16, 2016
By Air- 10 K for 2 adults and infant. Round trip
The day when I was going for vacationing after a long time for our second anniversary. Woke up with an array of work that need to be done as Sanjeev and I had only time to pick our bags and leave for the airport once we come back from our offices in the afternoon. The most important task was leaving Mushroom to her kennel and then going back to our offices and complete the assigned tasks, which both of us got a day before our vacation begins. Happens with almost everyone. Rule number one of any vacation is that you will be bombarded with enormous amount of work a day before which you can surely not complete. Anyway somehow we managed it to pull it decently and start for our home as we had to be at the airport by 5:45 p.m. But a surprise was waiting. The lifts of our township were not working due to power cut which seldom happens. The percentage of “seldom” is that much that Sanjeev has experienced this twice or thrice in these 5 years and I have none. So we had no option than climbing up the stairs up till 9th floor and then coming down with the luggage. Again the anxiety of vacation was so much that we pulled this too comfortably without creating much fuss about it.
And we started…this was the official start of our vacation…yes with Veer it was our first formal vacation and yes we all three were absolutely happy about it. So we made it to the airport before time and after those customary security check-ins and other airport stuff we could settle down and imagine ourselves in the God’s own country, Kerala. It was a two hours flight to Cochin. By the time we reached Cochin it was around 8:00 p.m. and the market was shut. Anyway we were too tired and even if the market was opened I was in no mood to take a walk around. So we decided to slip into our hotel room and just relax. But Sanjeev has to give his “obligatory” walk to the city because if he will not then he would be restless. Meanwhile I fed Veer with Cerelac and we both were ready to sleep. I must say Veer is a very supportive infant. All through the trip he did not trouble us at all for his sleep. He slept on time and woke up on time. I don’t know this is my state of mind or this actually happened.
Dec 17, 2016
Kochin – Allepey (Alapuzhha)
Travel: By Train
Train Name & No: Allepey Express (16308)
Time: 2 hrs
Cost: Rs 260/- excluding tax
For me this was the most interesting part of our vacation. Somehow we decided that we will board a train from Cochin to Allepey that takes just two and half hours, so that we can enjoy the scenery and the beautiful stretches for which Kerala is popular. So we booked ourselves for AC chair car from Cochin. As train was at 10:30 a.m. so we hurriedly packed our bags that we did not unpack much as we arrived a night before, woke my little bunny, carried him into his pram and started for the railway station after having breakfast. As Veer woke few minutes before we set to leave, he traveled in his night suit only 🙂 The train was expected to be on time and as this was a small station so the stoppage
was of only 1 minute. On asking a staff at the station, we got to know that our AC coach would be second from the engine, so as soon as we saw the train entering the station, Sanjeev and I ran for a marathon, poor guy with all the three bags and I with the pram (Veer properly belted). In that 1 minute stoppage we had to board ourselves with the luggage and the pram after folding it. So this 1 minute game show we successfully won as the moment I threw the pram and boarded the train, it started moving. It was the similar feeling of success when you come as a winner in that 1 minute show.
Our coach was pretty empty so we took the leisure of sitting anywhere we wanted. But Sanjeev realized that he booked an AC chair car. And yes there were chairs and there was
AC the only difference was the AC was not working. Instead the table cum ceiling fans were giving us the breeze and not to forget the opened door of our coach from where people were easily slipping in and out. Anyway as the coach was quite empty so we did not have much issue about it and it was pretty airy. In fact we
were re-living our childhood days through that. With our luggage above, Veer’s pram became our foot rester, we started enjoying the view outside our “AC” window. Those tress, small pond, typical Kerala homes, coconut trees, backwaters and everything. Somehow it happens during such journeys Sanjeev and I go quiet for some time. We love to be with
ourselves at times and thankfully we both are blessed with each other and exactly know when we need our time. After a short nap Veer and I got up and to our surprise we saw only three of us in the compartment as if we booked
the complete coach for ourselves. Just Sanjeev, Veer and I. We were hopping from one seat to another to get the best of view. Ours was the last station so we enjoyed our spacious coach thoroughly. A train journey from Cochin – Allepey is highly recommended. Reasons are: less time, more comfortable, and a lot cheaper than hiring a taxi. And the view you get is just amazing. So our station arrived and to our dismay we noticed that there was one AC chair car coach which was actually AC. Though we enjoyed our own natural AC coach quite a much but yes paid for the better one.
Stay at Panoramic Beach Resort
From the station we took prepaid auto to our hotel and the fare was just Rs 23/-. I would recommend everyone who is travelling to inquire about prepaid vehicles first and if it does not suit you then go for private vehicles. Our stay in Allepey was for one day only. So after placing our ass in our room we relaxed and had our simple lunch. Veer was also happy to see so much greenery around. Here we swiped our plates and our beds started pulling us for a nice sleep.
We woke up fresh after an hour and I went for a nice half an hour swimming session. I swam after quite a long gap and it was wonderful. It made me feel so fresh. Sanjeev and Veer enjoyed the sight of me having “me” time after such a long time. I could carried for some more time but the pool was getting close so had to move out. This was followed by our beach walk and some typical Kerala road side food. We took an auto for our evening ride with beautiful canal following us all through in the middle in Allepey. It was simply beautiful. We did some customary shopping and it was 8:00 p.m. and people were shutting their shops so we were forced to return to our hotel.
Sanjeev and I prefer going around the city in the evening rather than covering points and believe me it is quite worthwhile. So next time whenever you visit a new city always prefer public transport (you can always book a complete auto and they will be happy to take you to the narrow lanes of their city rather than showing hanging gardens and lovers point) and do not use a guide. Explore yourself.
Feb 18, 2016
Time: 1 and 1/2 hours by car.
Can also travel in houseboat.
Cost – Rs 1100/-
Distance – 40 kms
This was the shortest distance and the longest stay of our holiday. We were still in Allepey and woke up pretty early and decided to go for early morning beach walk. Though it was quite humid still the air was fresh and to our amaze we saw for the first time school children in their uniforms came for an early morning picnic on the beach. As it was a picnic but they were not allowed to dress up in casuals so these kids did their bit by wearing a shimmery gold color necklace, some wore pretty hairbands, and some wore beautifully woven hijabs. For boys big belts and chunky bracelets did work as embellishments. These kids were so surprise to see us. Precisely not us but Veer in his pram. They came running to us just see the small vehicle for a baby. We also stopped by so that their intriguing eyes could quench its thirst completely.
As we are not very early risers so only two rounds gave both of us quite a sense of pride “Aaj toh bahut walk ho gaya” and we were all charged up to go back to our room and sleep all over again 🙂 But Sanjeev cannot be left so easily until he clicks some pictures of his animated wife. So he did it and he was released on bail. And rest is history..we slept and woke up just before an hour of our official check-out time. Once again Veer came to our rescue and we got extension of an hour. On the contrary truth was we were the lazy bums not our tiny little crawler. My duty was to freshen up Veer and myself and Sanjeev’s was to freshen up himself. So out of these three only Veer could finish on time as some water pipe burst and both husband and wife had to travel to Kumarakom just like that. So we packed our stuff and moved to our next and final destination Kumarakom.
We chose car because we were not sure how much time it will take in water and with Veer it could be difficult. So we preferred by road. Anyway the journey was quite relaxing as it was just 40 kms and our driver was also pretty engaging as he was doing some knowledge sharing about the Backwaters, liquor, school, carpets, how property rates have gone so high in a small village like Kumbarakom, and many more.
Stay at Whispering Palms, Aabad Hotel
And we reached our resort which was amazing. For this Sanjeev deserves a pat on his back as he did quite an extensive research for our stay. There were very cute cottages with lush green garden attached. The most beautiful thing was it was facing towards the lake. I mean what else you could ask for. Veer got really happy seeing the ducks around as there was a little pond connecting and ducks used to come out whenever they want and just move around freely. It was such an amazing sight to see these quacking birds moving in a queue following each other. They will pass you without any fear. So we got this beautiful resort for two days and we were thrilled.
After settling down and putting Veer to sleep, Sanjeev and I got some time for ourselves and we ordered some typical Kerala curry and it was sumptuous. And we did our favorite job….yes you are thinking right…slept off again 😉 We woke up fresh and went for village tour on our royal auto. Anil, our wonderful auto driver, took us around the village and informed us about major attractions. Out of all the major attractions we could just visit two though there were only three attractions: Backwaters, a temple (where some festival was going for the past 12 days), and a bird sanctuary. So we decided to go for Backwaters and leave the rest two for next day. The Backwaters ride was beautiful. Though I have never been to Rome other than my dreams, but yes I have heard that you have to use your boats to travel. So I could just feel the same when our little boat with only three of us in it was passing through those narrow lakes overlooking roads and homes on both the sides. It was completely mesmerizing. We were in the middle of the lake and Sanjeev and I were completely quite again for some time and was looking at the beautiful sunset. Nature is beautiful, the color of the sky, the sun, the reflection of the sunset in water was surreal. I do not know how people can explain such beauty in words or in painting. You can just paint a closer picture with words. When we had some amazing thoughts in our minds our bunny broke it and called us back to the real word by his shrieking call…as if Mom and Dad stop overreacting. And we listened to him and came back. But we both were really happy to be part of that evening with the nature.
While coming back to our resort with our very own Anil, our chauffeur, he showed us his beautiful and cute home. And it was indeed a beautiful one. Sometime, I envy these people as they have such a simple and stress free life. I guess we all dream of a home where a small
natural lake is flowing by just besides it and lot of plants around. And Anil has it and we are still dreaming. It was 7:00 p.m. and each and every house we passed had their main gates open and a beautiful two or three tier diya was lightened and kept on a stool in the verandah. Such a beautiful tradition and every house did that until it practices some other faith. Even if diya was not lit, the door was opened. I have that picture in my heart forever. A woman had a tattered hut, even she had done this. What a lovely and beautiful tradition.
With a memory of a beautiful day we rested in our cottage for some time and after sometime went to the lobby for a music program. We thought it is going to be some big thing but only two musicians: one on guitar and the other one on tabla were sitting and playing some beautiful instrumentals of famous old Hindi numbers. The number of audience was just few guests at the resort and we all enjoyed those numbers. Veer glued his eyes completely on the tabla maestro and I with my all-time favorite dessert hot chocolate cake with Vanilla ice-cream enjoyed the musical evening.
Feb 19, 2016
Our Wedding Anniversary
This was special for us as it was our second wedding anniversary. So we were in a laid back mood and did not want to do anything and just discuss how it was two years back. And we did that. Had our breakfast and just went to the pool for a nice swim overlooking the beautiful lake. We did some practice session as we both did not swim for quite a long time. Though I did swim a day before in Allepey but Sanjeev could not. So I was more confident than him this time. As we both were giving each other some tips and sharing our weakness and strengths, Veer woke up and our swimming session ended. We thought of visiting the Bird Sanctuary but then it was too hot to go out so we skipped the idea and planned to visit the temple in the evening. Meanwhile I got this craze of having typical Kerala sari but for that you have to travel to Kottayam that is 14 kms from Kumarakom. So dropped the plan of travelling too far for one sari. After sometime when I woke from my sleep I did not find Sanjeev anywhere and then reminded myself that he said he is going for his customary walk in the middle of the afternoon. While I was doing some preparations for our evening Sanjeev came with a beautiful Kerala sari as my anniversary gift. I was super happy to see that. That is really sweet of him. We exchanged some those thank you looks with each other and pushed off for our visit to temple.
As I mentioned that there was some ongoing festival for the last 12 days so the temple was
beautifully decorated and people were specially dressed. We sensed that there is going to be heavy traffic in a short while therefore we did a quick darshanam and seek blessings for us from the almighty and went for a long drive with Anil. While coming back it was heavy jam on the road and suddenly we saw beautiful ladies in off white sari, girls in the lehnga and top and men dressed in white lungi and silk shirts emerging with massive headgears and musical instruments in their hands. Oh man it was something. It was such a treat to watch them dancing and moving in a queue to the temple. The procession was almost 2-3 kms long..with girls, women, men coming in small groups in a proper order. Again I noticed those diyas and opened doors while coming back to the resort. Our day ended with a nice dinner and wishing each other.
Feb 20, 2016
Travel: By Road
Cost: Rs 2000/-
Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Distance: Almost 50 kms
So this was the last day of our vacation. And it was usual as everything followed as it should be. With us getting ready, had some ducky ducky moments with the ducks around, clearing our bills, packing our bags and loading them on the car. This was supposed to be longest travel in Kerala for us till now so we did not stuff ourselves with food and moved back to Cochin to catch our 4:55 p.m. flight. With our lunch break on the way we made it to the airport before time. Somehow I love small airports where I can find STD/ISD booths and small eateries with Samosa and patties stacked as snacks. That’s why I am in love with airports at Goa and Bagdogra. Anyway after doing all the customs and traditions of airport we waited at the lounge for our airlines to announce the boarding. We landed Hyderabad on time and called back our parents that we are back home safely.
Hoping for many more vacations like these with the complete family. Vacations do rejuvenate you and they are extremely important to re-energize you. Destinations of your holiday can be anywhere any place but it should be included in your life as they surely enriches you as a person and your experience.