Kollam to Alleppey, 6 September
Despite yesterday’s discouraging note we manage to leave Munroe Island train station without an issue. Our train is supposed to be here at 8:00, but when we get to the station at 7:50, the delayed 7:00 train is just ready for boarding. There we go. A measly 10 Rs gets us to Kollam where we hop on the Kerala State Water Transport Department’s (or KSWTD’s) public ferry to Alleppey. The total distance is about 85km, which will take roughly 7-8 hours through the amazing South Indian waterways. We’re in luck: the weather is bright and sunny and we’re about the only passengers on the boat! Private cruise anyone?
Soon we leave the mangroves that protect Kollam’s shores, pass under the bridge at Thevalli Palace and reach the open waters of Ashtamudi Lake. Suddenly loads of birds come flying up to us to catch fish in the motor’s slipstream. We’re on the top deck and get some great views of egrets flying alongside us.
We pass more of the Chinese fishing nets we’ve seen in Cochin and wave at fishermen speeding by in their small boats.
Before long we’re on the backwaters. Between the bright blue skies, the reflective brown-green water, all the palm trees and the colourful boats and houses, this place is something special.
In the afternoon we see herons, and lots and lots of eagles catching fish.
We stop off for Chai tea and a little slice of home: these bad boys that look and taste almost identical to Dutch oliebollen.
After an entertaining day on the water, finally we’re seeing the famous houseboats go past, which means we’re in Alleppey. Thank you KSWTD, we’ve had a blast!