Up early for our walking tour. We booked with a lady at the hotel next to our homestay. She said she had an elderly gentleman who was a very good historian.
So at 7.30 sharp a very well groomed man appeared outside our homestay. Mr Anthony Thommen was smiling widely and spoke in a gentle way. He launched into a little story about himself telling us he was born in the area, was a historian an author and guide and lived alone since his wife’s death and his only child had moved away.
We began the story of Fort Cochin or Kochi as it’s known locally, in Princess St. We heard about the Portuguese arriving and settling up trading, then the arrival of the Dutch and finally the British. We wandered along the narrow streets stopping at Anthony’s street and then the large Catholic Basilica.
We heard about the rebuilding of the Basilica and how Anthony spent a year in the Seminary.
We moved along through streets dotted with houses showing distinct Dutch and English influence.
We saw our first lot of young men playing cricket! On a dusty ground.
And visited the Bishops House and Museum.
Next stop was the Dutch Cemetery. This was turning into a history / religious tour of Kochi. Not that I minded.
We visited the elephants I had seen yesterday and then spied a lot of photographers along with couples posing. Seems it is ‘post wedding photo week.’ Just before Valentines Day. Some lovely couples posed with just one in a wedding dress.
Our last stop was St Francis Church and Vasco de Gama’s house
Mr Anthony was more than keen to continue but after 2.5 hours we were ready for breakfast!
We paid him and he asked if we’d like to buy his book. How could we refuse. He was so sweet. So he found us later at the breakfast place and three of us bought his book!
By now all power was off. The poor shop keepers were beside themselves. No one was coming into their dark hot shops. Our rooms were hot and noisy – the hotel right next door had a generator making a huge racket. So I went walking by the water and eventually took my book out and enjoyed a read in the sea breeze.
Marlene and I also had another stroll and visited our Homestay’s brothers guesthouse a little further out.
It was charming. If you’re coming to this area the Delight Homestay looks good. It’s opposite a park and has lovely big rooms set in a garden. it’s also very reasonably priced. Around $A30 a night.
We had a lovely last night dinner at a hotel by the water. We all decided we had to wear something we had bought on the trip.
To top it off three of us Marlene, Linda and I all bought the same white dress! We decided we chance not ever wearing it on the same day!
Tomorrow we leave. I’ll miss the smiling faces and the colours.
It’s been such a wonderful holiday. Temples, the history, the bronze casters, mud bricks, tea plantations, dancing Shivas, beautiful people, colourful saris and men in dhoti, great food, elephants, farms, fashion, yoga and lots of laughter.
To my travelling Sari sisters. Thank you.