Heading South – Kerala

As the night train arrived at 7am I had memorised the GPS map hoping it would cut down the searching time for something that in India occasionally can be hard to come by. A toilet. Many cafes offer “hand wash” but no facilities. Probably not the best way to start off an article about Kerala, India’s southernmost state on the Western coast. It reminded us more of Sri Lanka than Tamil Nadu did – probably due to the amount of coconut in the cooking. The language here is Malayalam – not that I would make out a difference and just like in Tamil Nadu it’s the only language on the bus signs which makes it a bit complicated to find one’s way.

While we wouldn’t hear from our agreed host anymore we were accepted by a couchsurfing flatshare even though the host himself was gone out of town for a wedding. Ended up staying for a few more days than planned, as we were invited for a day trip to the Podmudi hill station up in the mountains and recommended an Ayurvedic massage place in the neighbourhood. In the evenings we watched Bollywood movies and music videos like the one below. We have a good knowledge of the Indian movie star world now. Finally one of the guys went for a business trip up North and took us along to Kochi the ancient port on the spice route that had Istanbul and Europe on its other end. I often wish I could travel back in time to see it and blend out all this modern day nonsense, noise, pollution, traffic. But then again, I’d probably be working on a farm if it was 1500 and dying at age 42 instead of eating myself across the culinary delights this planet has to offer.

Some more DSLR shots from the Podmudi hill station:

They knew one of the police officers so we got an escort with the police jeep and didn’t have to pay the extremely high foreigner entrance fee. At the 2 previous gates we were presented as potential tea estate buyers, which led to the guards letting us pass 😀

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5 thoughts on “Heading South – Kerala

  1. We had the same problem now and then while being in a city. A fantastic gps app that I used in all the Asian countries is mapsme (you’ll find it in google play). You don’t need wifi or reception to use the GPS mode. You can search based on your location where the closest toilet, beach, bank, etc are.

    Very handy, especially for it has also points of interests, hiking trails etc in the app. It costs 4 euro to use all the functions. We found ourselves often off the beaten track and following trails or find viewpoints that were unmarked in the streets.

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  2. Yes its using OpenStreetMap as well which I contribute to. I use Osmand though bit more pro and does cycle and pedestrian routing. It all stands and falls with the level of detail on osm though. Bangalore seems great.

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  3. Thanks Bert. I know that app but prefer osmand (free) though its ui is not quite as simple and straight forward. It offers cycling and pedestrian routing though and works with brouter the besy cycling router on the planet (considers elevation). Both apps use OpenStreetMap as data source which I contribute to as well. Its usefulness stands and falls with the quality of map data available. Here in Bangalore it seems to be great!

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