Saturday, 25 May 2019

Kochi Journals. (Part 2)

Hello Travellers! I’m back with the second part of Kochi Journals! If you haven’t already read the first one, you can check it out here.
In this post, I’m going to tell you about few places that you can visit a little away from Kochi, which are mainly in Ernakulam. I will also tell you about my AirBnB experience. And, to conclude this sweet & short trip, there will be a lot of restaurant recommendations!! Are you set? Let’s go!!

I was truly looking forward to visit the Marine Drive in Kochi. As I have mentioned a lot of times before, there’s no place like the Marine Drive in Mumbai. So, I thought it would be pretty awesome. I might even feel at home. So, I got ready & was headed there. It is about 40 minutes away from Fort Kochi. It is on the sea lines of Ernakulam. So, you have to cross Kochi, then cross Willingdon Island & then there is Ernakulam. There are very small bridges connecting these 3 cities which results in some traffic. I dealt with traffic, no problem for a Mumbaikar. But then, it started thundering & soon it started raining heavily!! Not drizzles, just straight up pouring rains!

Can you imagine? I was all dressed up & on the way to probably what was supposed to be the highlight place of the trip. I had no umbrella or anything. I just had my wallet, not even my bag. Thankfully, I took a cab, so I changed the location to the restaurant I had planned to have dinner at. I couldn’t see any point going to Kochi Marine Drive now. It was impossible. It was raining & it was already dark because of the clouds. With a heavy heart, I dropped the plan to visit Kochi Marine Drive. But, if you are visiting Kochi, you must visit this place! I’m sure it will be perfectly lovely!

You will find this place in the many lists of places to visit in Kochi. This museum has a dance performance of Kathakali & you can get to know all the history revolving around it. This isn’t something I am interesting in, so I skipped it. But, I’m sure for those who have a liking, it will be a pleasant evening!

I stayed at Henry’s Home Stay in Fort Kochi. I took the AC bedroom flat with a hall, big kitchen and bathroom. The place was exceedingly clean. The place is also central to all the major sights in Kochi. It's a bit away from the main K B Jacob Road and placed in a very peaceful location. It is extremely safe to stay for solo travellers as well.
I went in April, when the temperature is exceedingly hot & it is impossible to step out of the house before 5 PM. So, on the first day, I took a nice nap in the afternoon & went out around 6:00 PM. Unlike Mumbai, it gets dark around 7 PM. So, for sightseeing, you can go out in the morning till noon and then 5 PM onwards.
As for my AirBnB stay, I would 100% recommend this place. It was just what I wanted. Because of such a comfortable stay, I not only got to travel but also got time for relaxing.

I usually have a lot of unpleasant experiences when it comes to food while travelling. It’s a big achievement if I don’t get an upset stomach after a trip & I’m happy to have accomplished it this time! Below are some of the restaurants I went to!

Kashi Art Café:
I was particularly interested to eat at Kashi Art Café. It had a very high rating on Zomato & all the food & travel bloggers seemed to have loved it. So, of course, I was excited to go there.
But, as it happens in most cases with me, the more I get excited about something, the more I am let down. I have rated this place at a 1.5/5 stars. I have got a list as to why it was so horrible.
Let’s start with how difficult it is to locate this café. I went around in circles & detours until I found it. And, when I did, even then I wasn’t sure if this was the place. The street on which it is located was dim lit as was the restaurant. I thought it was closed! But, I asked around & it was open & so a bit unwillingly, I went inside.

Boom! Next disappointment! It was a very small space. I think the art here was much more eloquent than Mocha Art Café. But, people can’t fill their bellies with art now, can they? Anyway, I found a place to sit. It was outdoor seating, with plants right on the wall adjacent to me. There were mosquitos and what not. It felt like I was eating in the middle of a jungle.

Boom! Next disappointment! There are little to zero options for vegetarians, which honestly sucks. So, I ordered a Cheese & Herbs Sandwich. It was, to this day, the worst thing I have ever eaten anywhere. A big slab of Paneer between 2 slices of grilled brown bread. It did not taste good, I will leave it at that.

So, now you know, why it was a completely horrible experience. Do not go here, folks! You will regret it!

Mocha Art Café:
This café is located in the Mattancherry & Jew Town area. It is on the first floor. There is a huge area, like a hall, where they have 3 beautiful window seats. As it is an Art Café, there were a lot of paintings hung & also some art pieces in the hall area. Inside, there was a proper setup of a café, which was the most beautiful. Plants on one side of the wall with nice lighting. But as it was kind of an outdoor seating, it wasn’t air-conditioned. So, I decided to sit at a window seat table in the hall area which at least had a fan.
I had absolutely the best food here. There were very few options for vegetarians but I lucked out. I ordered Veg Stir Fry & cold coffee. It took a lot of time to make, but there were a lot of things to admire in the meantime. The Veg Stir Fry was a very simple dish but its taste was something else. I completely loved it! It will definitely be a must-try for all the vegetarians out there! I will surely give this place a 4/5 stars!

Gokul Oottupura:
There are many branches of Gokul Oottupura in Kochi as well as Ernakulam. As I had plans to visit Kochi Marine Drive, I chose a branch there. Now, South Indian food is my favourite, which is why I always love authentic restaurants like these. I had 2 Sada Butter Dosas & 1 Rawa Butter Dosa with filter coffee. All in all, 5/5 stars! Everything was extremely delicious.
The place is not as highly rated on Zomato, but I request you to ignore it, because the South Indian food here is the best you will get in Kochi!

The problem is I build up a lot of expectations in my head about the places I am going to visit. I search on the internet. I go through possibly all the travel websites to narrow down the best places to visit. I look up a lot & lot of photos on Instagram. And, I think to myself, yeah, these places look amazing & beautiful & worth visiting. There are all these people with these perfect outfits at these perfect places with the perfect timing in all their glorious perfectness!

But, the only problem is all these are lies. The photos on Instagram have, for the second time, lead me to disappointment. What you actually get to see is always so different than these Instagram photos. There’s no perfect sunset photo. There are people everywhere, so you don’t get the perfect click. It is so hot, you can barely stay at such places for 10 minutes. There is no graffiti which your eyes can catch. It’s just all too fancy online & maybe we have to credit such amazing photographers for it. But, for me, it’s just becoming unreal. I cannot trust the perfect photos anymore. I can’t keep on going to Instagrammable sights & not find any beauty there. It’s just the worse form of heartbreak, is what I feel. Sure, all these famous travel bloggers are talented or maybe they have their personal photographers or maybe they talk to the locals to find the perfect time to visit the places. But then, all of that is behind the scenes. So, the places which they might have found with some effort are portrayed as just something that exists in that place for everyone to find.

There are a lot of disappointments around; be it travel places, be it Game of Thrones or be it overrated brands. And yet, beyond all falsifying evidence, here I am still hoping that the next place will be amazing or that the next episode will be better. I am still amazed by online photos but in such a conscious way that I know I will see something resembling it but not perfectly it. Sometimes I truly wonder what keeps me going in spite of such let down adventures & not so epic trips. 

My next trip will be to Jaipur, Rajasthan in August! Happy Travelling!

Until next time,

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