Kerala in Pictures2017 - Our Year OutTravel, Holidays and Hotels by Mrs C - April 27, 2017April 27, 2017 Our trip around Kerala began with a few days in the state capital, Kochi. It’s a city with a long heritage dating right back to before the time of the great explorers and when the great silk and spice routes were being established. Fort Kochi is the part of the city nearest the sea, where the famous Chinese Fishing Nets can be seen at the entrance to the harbour.In complete contrast, the time we spent at the Tea Harvester Hotel in Munnar gave us a chance to see some of the history of the Tea industry in this southern part of India. The Tea Museum in Munnar gives you a chance to see the whole process, from picking to packing and to see how the process has changed over the last century or so.A short visit to the main town market in Munnar gave us a chance to see a fantastic array of colour and sounds and to experience the hustle, bustle and horn-blowing that give these cities their character.Prior to visiting the Peryar Nature Reserve, we spent a couple of nights at the Pepper County Home Stay in Thekkady. The owner is a retired farmer who was so nice and so eager and willing to help in any way. He made us feel very welcome.The Peryar Nature Reserve is situated around a man-made lake in the eastern part of Kerala and is a sanctuary for elephants, tigers, deer, bison and many other species.It is best viewed from the lake itself and we were lucky enough to see wild elephants – see photo above.The next day we headed back toward the coast to join a houseboat at Alleppey. This was undoubtedly the highlight of our trip. The houseboat was very simple yet incredibly comfortable and relaxing. It was just us and a crew of two looking after us. They took it in turns driving/cooking and we took it in turns sleeping/sightseeing.It allows you to see life as it really is in this part of India, wandering around the Keralan backwaters and seeing families going about their daily lives, all the while being cradled in the comfort of our houseboat. We moored up for the night at a little place called Nedumudi and were greeted by the most beautiful sunrise the following morning.It’s all very cleverly put together to ensure you really get to see the real Kerala. There are no distractions – No Mobile signal, No Wifi, No Television. Just you, the boat and the beautiful environment. A perfect way to switch off, relax and experience something that’s so rare nowadays – complete peace and quiet. Prior to flying home we spent a few days down at a little place called Poovar. Situated right on the beach, it is again, a complete retreat and somewhere to totally relax. It was the perfect place to sit in the sun, collect our thoughts and reflect on what had been a truly enjoyable and educational experience in Southern India.