Picking up where we left off, that HORRIBLE overnight bus ride landed us in Ernakulam, Kerala. From there we were only a rickshaw ride away to our destination, Fort Cochin, an island now known as India’s homestay capital. It wasn’t difficult to find a lovely spot, centrally located.
Fort Cochin is well known its Chinese fishing nets that dot the shoreline, a hold-over from bygone days. We idled away the afternoon watching the fishermen lower the spider like nets with boom-style/counter-weight contraptions into the water, with the hope of catching some fresh fish & seafood. It takes four or more men to operate these things & sadly is a dying art.
This area, once a busy trading port, drew traders & explorers to its shores well over 600 years. The Arabians & Chinese first came to the area to purchase spices, a lucrative market in Europe back in the day.
The various European influences over the years has resulted in a blend of medieval Portuguese, Dutch & British buildings giving it a lovely, quaint village atmosphere with winding streets & back alleys. Some of these great old buildings are still in use, others sadly neglected & decaying. The area is much cleaner compared to the larger cities we have visited & was such a welcome escape from the noise & chaos.
The many art galleries, antique stores (found some lovely door knobs Lauren 😉), spice shops, small coffee shops & restaurants in Fort Cochin, Mattancherry & Jew Town (yes, that is the actual name) made browsing fun with the whole area very walkable, but then again we do like to walk! As well, wherever we go we always keep our eyes peeled for street art & we weren’t disappointed here. Enjoy the few colourful shots we were able to capture.
There are a few other highlights to see such as St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica & the Dutch palace in Fort Cochin. Mattancherry & Jew Town, about 3K to the west, boast a lively bazaar atmosphere & has one of the first synagogues in India. This 400 year old building is beautifully preserved as a historical site.
One thing we have noticed in India is that animals roaming the street vary from place to place. In Mumbai it was dogs, cows in Goa, Hampi & Mysore, in Fort Cochi there are goats, lot & lots of goats. But hey, this is India where you expect to see the unexpected!
We could have stayed a bit longer in this area but decided to head further south to the back waters of Kerala.