I know it’s been a bit quiet on here of late and I must confess, it’s because I've been doing a bit of travelling – and I plan to do as much as I possibly can, while I can, and while I'm still based here in France. I was actually a bit reluctant to turn this blog into Deb’s Travel Diary…. But for those who are vaguely interested, I’ll keep updating as I go along … and of course Bize stuff, as and when….
So, in January, I took myself off to India for 12 days. Again, it was a last minute spur-of-the-moment decision – those long winter months/short days, you know. It was to Kerala state, in the south.
I don’t know why I thought it would be any less hot and humid just because it was winter in the northern hemisphere. I guess I hadn't checked just how close to the equator it was. My least favourite weather – hot and sticky! But it was all good and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and a really nice group of 15 people on the tour.
Kerala was a good place for my introduction to India – a few facts: the richest state in India, highest literacy rate (95%), lowest population growth, highest life expectancy and lowest homicide rate! I think we were sheltered from some of the realities of the poverty that exists in other parts of the country, as we saw none at all, and we did cover a lot of ground. The people are lovely and the food was good, though I probably won’t be cooking curry for a while.
As a respite from the heat, we did spend a few days up in high tea-growing hills. And I managed not to get sick until the last day. So all in all, it was a great short break away from the cold.
Having said that, we’d actually had a very mild winter here in the south, and it’s feeling very spring-like at the moment, with a lot of plants and trees already with green shoots.
Below, a few photos of lovely Kerala.
|There are a lot of converted rice barges, now being used mainly for tourist cruises. Two days and night cruising the beautiful Backwaters was rather special.....|
|The Backwaters link to the open ocean so a lot of the fishing boats are moored away from the fishing ports.|
|Casting fishing nets at one of the locks in the Backwaters|
|A morning trek through Periyar Wildlife Reserve. There are tigers there, but we were assured that there was a 99.9% chance of NOT coming across one, and we didn't!|
|...but we were very lucky indeed to come across some of the wild Asian elephants that still live in the Reserve. A special experience.|
|Rubber tree plantation|
|Tapping a rubber tree for latex|
|Visit to a spice farm: Cardamom plant|
|Cardamom flower and developing seeds|
|Tea plantations at Munnar|
|A lot of the tea plantations are extensively planted with Australian grevilleas (Silky Oak) for shade.|
|Chinese fishing nets at Cochin|
|I just happened to have a birthday while I was away, and I was treated to cake for the occasion ....|
|.... and confetti.....|
|Lots of meals like this one ..... breakfast/lunch/dinner!|
|And the odd splurge on these .......|