Arrived very early in Kannur and walked for ages to find our hotel, the Mascot Resort. Was half expecting Basil Fawlty to appear as the hotel’s manager, such was the surreal nature of all our exchanges with the staff there. Eventually settled into a sea facing room and had a nice South Indian buffet breakfast. Walked down to the lovely Payyambalam beach which will no doubt one day be a bif tourist destination and had lunch in the funny little park. Caught an auto into town, changed money and went on the net before a delicious thali lunch at a restaurant in the main street. Went back to the station to get tickets for Kochi then back to the hotel where we watched the setting up of an engagement party in the garden. Had a reasonable Chinese dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Cabane Bamboo.
Next morning went to the well organized bus station. Caught a bus driven by a maniac to Mahe, a former French colony, which had a nice waterfront and lots of bottle shops. Caught another bus onto Thalassery, one of the oldest British colonies on the west coast, where we first had an excellent lunch at the Paris Hotel. Walked through the busy town to the Fort which is well worth a visit, and the historically interesting graveyard, with the oldest grave dating back to 1792. Walked back to the old Malabar style wooden mosque opposite the Paris Hotel. Caught a bus back to Kannur but on the way decided to hop off at “drive in beach” (Muzhupillangad) where everyone drives up and down the beach, many doing lessons. At the beach met a local historian who had written a book about the history of the area. Watched the sunset then caught another scary bus (admittedly very impressed with someone driving a 40 year old bus like a WRC rally car) and ended up having dinner at the weirdly named Broad bean hotel in the bus station. brand new and a pretty good restaurant too. Had a bit of a hassle finding any transport back but finally made it after a long and unusual day.
Walked into town on my own for a change, and for part of it was entertained by the excellent marching band of the St Theresa’s girls school. Very professional and great musicians. Changed money, checked emails and discovered a great bookshop, DC Books in Fort Rd. Boring lunch at the Indian Coffee House then auto back and spent some time by the pool. Caught a rip off taxi to Kannur fort where we caught up with our historian mate again. Fort really cute and well looked after. Walked through army cantonment to bus stop, army seems to have a lot of land here. Got off in Fort Rd and spent lots of money at the bookshop, then dinner back at the hotel after a long wait.
Next day and its a daytime train for once. If you want a truly zen moment, sit in the doorway of a train through Kerala, watching villages, palm trees, waterways and farm animals flash by. Still my favourite travel experience of all. Arrived in Kozhikode (Calicut) and caught autos to old wooden mosques, which are quite unique and cute. Lost a bit of time in this busy mainly Muslim town when we got dropped off in different places by our auto drivers, but eventually found each other and then found the buffet at the Malabar Palace Hotel which was good value but sadly ran out of lots of the tastiest things and didn’t replenish them. Had a look at the crappy beach then back to the station, walking through some nice textile markets on the way. Hopped onto our train to Kochi, arrived at Town station, Ernakulam then autos to our hotel, the Broadway tower hotel in TD West Rd, which was clean and functional. Quite late by then so ate very oily stuff at the Punjabi place across the road.
Nice dosas for breakfast then off to VEEGALAND by autos, lots of fun as usual but much more crowded than last time. Lots of school groups this time too. Had a nice thali lunch there and got very wet. By the way, its now called Wonder La park now. Bus back and dinner at Sealord’s rooftop restaurant which was Ok but really slow.
Last day now, walked down to find the Sunshine residency where we stayed last time but it had closed up. Luckily Buhari’s restaurant was still there for breakfast. Checked out some bookshops and music stores, had morning tea at Cafe Coffee Day which was the usual overpriced rubbish. Went on a shopping spree to get rid of our rupees, best buy was a beautiful wooden Ganesa statue. Repacked all our purchases back at the hotel, then off in an Ambassador (wonder how many will be left by the next visit?) to the fancy new airport outside Kochi. Bye bye India sob sniff..