Cycling in the God’s Own Country | Kochi, Kerala

Maybe you wonder where you are
I don’t care
Here is where time is on our side
Take you there, take you there

We’re on a road to nowhere
We’re on a road to nowhere

Road to nowhere (Talking Heads)

I reached Kochi on Friday evening and walked down from the station to the Ernakulam Jetty. For someone who isn’t used to humidity, my body felt that it was the best time to shed some weight and released as much sweat it wished to ( Couldn’t it have shed a little bit of body fat instead?)

All the time spent on the Ferry kept me at peace and the great sunset and massive ships were a sight to remember. It was the first time I borrowed a camera from a friend (Oh! Did I mention? I never had used a dSLR ever and for what reason I thought it would be a great idea to to borrow a camera which I didn’t know how to use to a place that’s new to me, I do not know) But it worked out well in the end!

Say Hello to my bad photography on a phone with a not so good camera! And yes, I’m blaming my phone for this!

As I was saying I had a dSLR and I felt like taking pics at that moment, but me being a fraidg cat in his first solo trip had packed it so very well that if I began to unpack and get the camera out I would’ve reached the destination.

After kicking myself mentally and having physically abused myself mentally for this stupid decision I made I thought I needed to give myself a break and focussed on the scene right in front of me as it is so rare to see so much water around!

Once the ferry docked at the Fort Kochi jetty I walked to my accomodation at the Santa Maria Hostel, which if you anytime go to Kochi have to check out! I stayed at the dorm and it sure was a great experience! Santosh, was a real pleasure to converse with and he helped my settle down for the coming three nights there! The two Santoshs who managed the place are super friendly and always helped me with a smile! The hospitality was top notch and if I ever went back to Kochi, I’d probably land right here again!

My love for books and Ice tea didn’t stop my famished body from ordering one at Qissa! Oh, and it was great… Thanks for asking!

After having a nice shower and dinner at Qissa and rented a cycle on the way back to the hostel, I put my phone to charge and slept like a log!

I woke up early the next day, showered again (just in case) picked up my bike, fastened my helmet, tested the breaks, grabbed a sandwich, and took the ferry to Vypin island as I wanted to go to Cherai beach.

Upon reaching the jetty on Vypin, a zoomed ahead at a perilous speed of 24kmph (which apparently is faster than what motored vehicles can go when stuck in traffic.)

I’d followed the path set by Google maps through the centre of the island for a while and then decided to change the route and cycle beach side and there was no route that Google displayed (I later would understand why, but for the time being I concluded that my intellect was much superior than that of a certain computer miles away)

The first thing I observed while cycling in the bylanes is the fanaticism towards football and mainly a Messi Vs Ronaldo rivalry taking the form of street art!

Cycling along the Arabian sea it was really a pain for me to stop each time to take a picture and get back to cycling. Probably I still need time to get comfortable taking pictures on the go, and this time was a great learning experience! As I cycled northwards on roads untravelled with the Arabian sea to the left, buffaloes to the right and a freakish smile on my face when the automated robotic feminine voice said GPS Signal lost. I felt like Christopher McCandless and wanted to make my mark forever on the beach which should’ve read “Gorti Supertramp” but I let it pass as I didn’t feel like stopping my ride and harrassing the natural beauty of the Gods own Country!

Few kilometres later came a stretch where the road ended and sand took over and the superskilled biker in me took it up as a challenge forgetting that I had a super helpful bike in a working condition (super sarcastic here) which I spoke of in my previous post What’s cycling for 200 kilometres in 2 days like? (Do check this out as well if you haven’t)

Not quite sure where this was, but I’m sure it was one of the best moments I’ve had!

As I tried riding about the treacherous patch of the Street of Doom in the town where the Sandman lives. After a few deadly skids and falls and scratches I knew I had unlocked a new level of my cycling prowess and wisdom to not stray from paths that Google recommends (but I’m quite sure I’d chuck this lesson the moment I find another path that seems much challenging and less tread on)

I had reached a point where the sea, the backwater and a little bit of land and a lone cyclist intersected on that particular day which made me Stop. Get off. Sit on the sand and ponder about things I usually wouldn’t and went for a swim to my heart’s content!

Just a few kilometres off Munambam beach

I dried myself under the sun and in the process tanning myself (Of course someone with enough sense as I had wouldn’t have thought of Sunscreen- lesson learnt – Always carry sunscreen.)

I cycled back and just went along the twisting roads amidst coconut trees, random villagers staring at a mad bike-packer (the way Tyrion looks at Podrick wondering about one of the biggest unanswered questions of the show!) Somehow I made my way to Cherai beach and found it crowded and made a mental note ‘Try not travelling on weekends.’

I was famished after the swim and the long ride until now and I treated myself to coconut water on the way to Munambam beach which was sold by a real nice elderly couple who managed to sell me the best coconuts I’ve had in ages and the dehydrated body just couldn’t stop! I also had some local meals and tied my bike to a tree and napped by the beach under a tree!

I woke up with a start where I had a nap-mare where someone stole the camera I borrowed… Well that just must’ve primed me to wake up, it was when I dreamt that a buffalo tried riding the bike that woke me up!

I cycled about 30 kilometres until Bolgatty Palace where the guard just wouldn’t let me in seeing my avatar and understood that I am not one of the elite and rich to be admitted in the posh area! Sighing to myself and squandering with self pity, I let my bike talk me into having some self esteem and earn the privilege one day to enter the area!

A stray cat eyed me skeptically as even a cat would’ve understood that a person talking to his cycle was weird. But who is a cat to judge (I’m judging myself right now as I type this, Haha)

A Kindle in time, saves nine

I then cycled back to Vypin after climbing those horrendous and scary bridges back! After spending an hour at the top of the Puthuvype Light house and then an hour on the Puthuvype beach while reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian wood as children and families played in the cold water squealing in bliss and there was happiness and joy in the air!

A friend of mine wanted me to take a pic of the sunset by the beach and I found a great spot and had experimented quite a lot with the camera and tried to click a few pictures by playing with the Aperture,Shutter Speed and the ISO, I’ve seen how bad a pic can get to how good I could take a picture and dreamt of a time when I could click pics like my favourite photographers Chris Burkard, Paul Nicklen and Tim Laman but I had to leave as clouds started to form and I felt a light drizzle and I didn’t want to risk anything as I was unequipped for an unseasonal rain!

The best I could do!

I cycled back, got in the ferry and went back to my room stinking with sweat and a Deo that failed to deliver it’s promise and my super high expectations out of it.

After a shower and a dinner at Kashi’s Art cafe and revitalizing myself and hogging on all the carbohydrates and fat I could in a day and having my first and only conversation with a Swedish Flat Earther (about which I’ll write on another day) I retired for a day.

Little did I know I’d have a great conversation with a fellow traveller from Spain on a Solo trip! And finally I had gone to bed post midnight, knowing I cycled a contended 75.6km with a sprain in my right calf, tender muscles, sore butts, blistered thighs and sunburnt chest and a new furry friend who wished me a Good Night!

Apologies from a sub-mediocre photographer who promises to improve!

And that, was one of the best Nights EVER!

And that was how my first day in Kochi happened to pass!
I’d really love to know how you felt about it and would want to know about any other places and things I could’ve/should’ve done!
I also hope this post was enjoyable and fun!
Until then..
Stay Wonderstruck, Folks!

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-The road not taken (Robert Frost)

6 thoughts on “Cycling in the God’s Own Country | Kochi, Kerala

  1. A thrilling ride to Kochi through wonderfully crafted words. The God’s own country couldn’t have been captured more beautifully coupled with the decent camera skills (trust me, they aren’t bad) I would love to see your trek (and may be experience it) in the hilly regions of Nainitaal or Kulu

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you buddy! And about the pics, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder! And yes, I’d love to learn to take better pics and keep improving and also there are gonna be many many more treks and trips ahead! Just stay tuned! We should probably go on one!


  2. Have been to Kochi a couple of times for now, and yup visited many places as a traveller,but still u made me realise Kochi can be more beautiful through your words than I have visited, you made me revisit the places in my thoughts and experienced the wonder of the power of your words!! Thank you 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome bro. I love bikepacking. I am planning to bike-pack entire Kerala with the final destination to Kanyakumari. This is my goal on my next trip to India.

    Liked by 1 person

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