All posts tagged: Travel

The Backwaters Of Kerala

The serene backwaters of Kerala are now a distant memory for me, though every time I look at these images I’m taken back to India and wishing I could be there steering into the warm still air.  There’s something very mesmerising about the backwaters.  There is a state of calm and tranquility as the landscapes blend and reflect into the water, locals bathe and wash in the abundance of water surrounding them, children ride their bikes (which seems for miles) to get to school and farmers walk the rice paddy fields. Anyone who’s researched about visiting Kerala will know that the backwaters is a mandatory stop on the itinerary and I was not going to miss the chance to see these stunning landscapes. Travelling on your own has its disadvantages and I was about to experience it first hand when I went to book a house boat tour in Alleppey.  My only option to experience a night on the backwaters was to book an entire house boat to myself.  Surely there must be other people …

Striking It Lucky

One of the most wonderful things about India is its diversity when it comes to it’s towns and cities.  Some are bustling cosmopolitan delights and some are not and have a long way to go. What I enjoyed most on my travels was discovering the quaint smaller towns mixed with history and an infusion of European-Indo culture. Fort Cochin and its surrounding areas was one of these. Mixed with Portuguese houses, ancient Chinese fishing nets and an old Jewish Town there was plenty to observe as you strolled through the village streets.  I spent three nights staying in Mattancherry staying at Sui House a boutique B&B and one night in Fort Cochin at Bernard Bungalow. Sui House is a tranquil retreat located away from the crowds, but easily accessible to explore the surrounding areas on foot or by tuk tuk. Owners Kumar and Pauline make you feel welcome in their home which is filled with antiques and religious relics from their prior antique business. They also own an additional property and restaurant Caza Maria in the Jewish Town. …

An Ancient Tradition In Modern Times

After being in Wayanad for a couple of days and taking some time to rest and relax, it was nice to be back by the water, this time the west coast of India enjoying my first views of the Arabian Sea.  I was in the Fort Cochin area for four days and on the must see list were the ancient Chinese fishing nets.  This ancient technique has been around since 1400AD.  At high tide it requires at least four people to pull up the nets which is was fascinating to watch. You can purchase seafood caught from the local fisherman at the numerous fish mongers located behind them.  The restaurants next to them will then cook the catch for you while you sit outside enjoying the warm weather.  I chose not to do this after seeing the abundance of rubbish that was collected in their nets.  With faster modern fishing techniques these fisherman are struggling financially and rely on tourists to help fund their living.  Judging by the small pathetic and polluted catches I saw, …

The Streets Of India

When you wander the streets of India you become aware of the vibrancy of colours that surround you.  Everywhere you look your eyes dart around hoping not to miss anything.  I loved seeing the street art that would appear randomly.  My first true encounter was in Puducherry where I stumbled across the graffiti artist Tona.  My delight of this discovery continued throughout my travels as I encountered Tona several more times in different locations. Below is a collection of images from the streets of India.  A large majority of these images where taken while walking from the Jewish Town in Mattancherry to Fort Cochin in Kerala. The day I took these photos, thanks to a strike, the streets were almost empty and I had the advantage of photographing the majority of this art without any people in the way.  Everywhere I turned I was captivated by another image, which are captured in this series.

The Royal Treatment

After departing Shreyas Yoga Retreat with a gift package of roses and freshly made cookies, I had three hours in a taxi ahead of me to ponder what lies ahead.  I was back to travelling on my own and I was making my way to Mysore where I was to spend the next two days.  Mysore is famously known for its palace, silk and sandalwood.  It was early to bed and then early to rise to try to beat the heat during the day. Walking to see the palace I met a tuk tuk driver by the name of Iman who offered to take me to a few local sites for the day. Usually I dismiss tuk tuk drivers quickly, wary as they are often looking to take you to the nearest emporium. But my sense felt he wasn’t taking me for a ride and I decided to give him a try, which I’m glad I did as I got to see some sites that I might not have seen on my own. Our first stop …

A Luxury Escape For Two

Thanks to some creative accounting I was fortunate enough to spend two days at Shreyas Yoga Retreat with my friend Majo.  After spending most of the week in Bengaluru, the prerequisite for the weekend was to retreat away from the city and embark on a wellbeing journey of the luxury kind.  From the moment we departed our hotel, we had a sense we were about to experience something special.  From the chauffeur driven Indian Army car (it pays to have friends in high places), to the ceremonial blessing on arrival and refreshing pineapple and celery drink (who would have thought of that combination), our humid one hour car journey was quickly forgotten and a sense of calm gathered around us as we were transported into another world. Nestled amongst 25 acres of greenery and frangipani gardens, we were guided through the resort to our garden cottage tent named Titiksha.  Titiksha is Sanskrit meaning forbearance. Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 2, Sloka 14) refers to Titiksha as the contact between the senses and the sense objects.  O Arjuna, are the …

Happy Holi

Holi festival, also known as the festival of colours and the festival of love is an ancient Hindu festival which celebrates the beginning of Spring.  I was fortunate enough to be in India to experience this wonderful festival.  Although the North of India traditionally celebrates the festival in its true entirety and is the best place to be for Holi, we were still pretty happy to be in Bengaluru to celebrate. The day progresses as a game of chase with dry powder and water.  Anyone and everyone is fair game.  If there are patches of bare skin showing, watch out! By the end of the day you are literally covered in colour.  When you think you have as much colour on you as possible, someone will think otherwise.  The best part about our day was the people we met. We were taught Bollywood dancing in the rain by complete strangers, we threw powder back as equally hard as we received it and my face was sore from laughing all day. If you are ever in …

We’ll Always Have Bengaluru

There’s always something quite special about travelling when you’re able to share it with a friend or loved one creating memories to cherish for life. With the majority of my time in India to be spent travelling on my own, luck was on my side, my friend Majo was to be in India for work around the same time. Majo is the New Zealand Operations Manager for Fair Trade Australia & New Zealand. She studied international law and human rights at university which led her to work for the United Nations in countries such as Vienna, Afghanistan and Bolivia. She’s a wife, a mother to two gorgeous girls and someone I feel very lucky to call a friend. Unsure of when we would get to see each other again, I happily worked my itinerary to fit in with her so we could spend a few days together in Bengaluru. Bengaluru or previously known as Bangalore, is one of India’s major IT hubs. As I drove into the city it was a refreshing change after Chennai …

The Road To Bengaluru

After three days in Chennai I retreated south to Puducherry in Tamil Nadu before looping back round to Bengaluru where I was due to meet a friend.  I loved this part of Tamil Nadu.  I wandered for hours up and down the streets of the French Quarter in Puducherry admiring its tranquility and beauty.  I was in awe of the grandness of the Matrimandir in Auroville and enjoyed the organic food and products on offer.  And even though the car journey from Puducherry to Bengaluru was a long day, it was nice to sit back and enjoy the scenery surrounding me. Images shot on a Fujifilm XT100

First Impressions Of India

My first three days in India were spent in the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Thanks to a friend in New Zealand, I had a taxi driver organised to drive me around for my first week. It was a relief not having to worry about transport while I started to adjust to my new surroundings and how things work in India. It took me six visits to Airtel over three days to get a mobile number up and running, there were constant stares, no foreigners in sight and I was often being stopped in the street, it was overwhelming. But after three days I started to get my confidence on how things operated and I began to relax and enjoy the sites.  Here are my favourite pictures from those first few days.