After the tea plantations in the hills, we dropped altitude and increased the temperature on the way to Vembanad lake, the location of the “Backwaters”, the top tourist destination in Kerala.
This has been on Al’s bucket list for 20 years, so we booked a couple of trips at our hotel, one a sunset motorboat cruise and the second a full day tour of the lake. The full day tour including lunch cost £84 for two which is a lot of money here and we wouldn’t pay this for a boat trip at home!
So we excitedly waited for 4.30pm and the boat which would pick us up from the quay (gate opening on the back wall) of the hotel. At 4.30, the receptionist told us the lake was too choppy for the pickup, and despite watching boats go up and down we were bundled into a tuk-tuk and driven to the canal. The driver started shouting at various boatmen until one seemed to know what was going on and we boarded and slowly set off, chugging down the meandering canals, passing people washing up or just washing themselves and stared into their houses, taking photos as subtilty as possible. The sun set over the lake and we eventually were dropped of at the hotel, at the choppy quay.
Next day we again were bundled into a tuk-tuk and driven to the canal and the evening before repeated itself with various shouting between the driver and boatmen until we were put onto the right rice barge for our day trip. The trip was beautiful and we travelled around the backwaters and lake at about 5 miles an hour slowly taking in the atmosphere. The trip was serene and relatively uneventful except for our trip back when our peace was shattered with “101 Best Indian Wedding Tunes” blaring out of the barges speakers.