Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cruising to Cochin ~ Our Gateway to India

The, already intense, early morning sun was a spotlight focused on the giant Chinese fishing nets that lined the waterway. A most striking sight to be sure, but not what we’d expected.

After all, we were in India.

The stillness allowed voices to carry from those on the fishing nets- distance and dialect making them indistinguishable – as our ship headed towards the cruise port.

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Fishing nets - Cochin, India

It didn’t matter whether we could understand the words, as we consider these distant voices an unofficial call of welcome as we approach a port of call. And on this morning we were gliding to Cochin, our gateway to India.

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Fishing nets believed introduced during the time of Kublai Khan - Cochin, India

Cochin, (Kochi, as it is more commonly called  there)  is often called “The Queen of the Arabian Sea”.

These slow-passing scenes that come with arrivals and departures are among our favorite parts of cruising. We find them far more interesting than the thud of an airplane’s wheels on the runway and the hustle through an unfamiliar airport.

TYangontoSafaga2015 103wo weeks before, we’d set sail from Bangkok, Thailand en route to Istanbul, Turkey, a 34-day journey -- a Magic Carpet Ride -- aboard Oceania’s Nautica.  

We’d finished three languorous days at sea crossing the Bay of Bengal (the largest bay in the world) and passing Sri Lanka as we headed to Cochin, located on the southwestern tip of India.

We find that approaching and departing cruise ports is much like watching an old-fashioned photo slide show; a glimpse at how people live and work in the place (which is to us often more interesting than highly touted tourist attractions).

Sometimes like in the photo below, you see both the beauty and the not-so-beautiful side of places.
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Garbage and Gondolas - Cochin, India

While we hovered at the ship’s railing not wanting to miss anything we noted  very few of our fellow passengers had gathered to watch this arrival. Maybe it wasn’t as fascinating to them as it was for us – this was our first glimpse of India!

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Morning commute - Cochin, India
Of course, many of our fellow cruisers might might have been packing as a large group was traveling from Cochin to the Taj Mahal and wouldn’t return to the ship until four days later in Mumbai (as I’ve noted in earlier posts, the land options were many and varied with this cruise line).

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A passing scene - Cochin, India
The passing scenes provided snapshots for us of the area’s history beginning with those giant Chinese fishing nets, called Cheenavala, and believed to have been introduced here by traders from the court of Chinese Ruler Kublai Khan (who reigned from 1260 to 1294)  to architecture reflecting both the influence of the Portuguese and British.

It all was a far cry from our preconceived notions of how India would look: a crush of people and traffic, rushing about dirty streets:  Why the water here was finally blue; not the murky polluted stuff we’d been sailing through in Southeast Asia!

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Tourist boats line the waterway - Cochin, India

Our departure that evening provided the same sense of serenity – ferry passengers found our ship as interesting as we did theirs:

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Ferries - Cochin, India
As we sailed past, we picked out places that we would like to explore in more detail on a future trip (yes, we’d love to return to this place that ranks the 6th best tourist destination in India):

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Scenes of sail-away - Cochin, India
A day in Cochin was simply not long enough! We didn’t make it to the modern part of the city, and we’d not had enough time to explore the areas lining the waterways.  We’d spent our time visiting the city’s historic district; the one with a mix of ancient mosques, a 400-year-old synagogue and the remains of a once-flourishing Jewish community and bygone era structures influenced by both the Portuguese and British occupancy.

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The TravelnWrite Duo Exploring Cochin, India - up close and personal in an autorickshaw

And we did it as any daring adventurers might: on our own as passengers aboard a teeny, tiny auto-rickshaw, (or tuk-tuk) pictured above. In our next post we’ll take you zipping along with us through the streets of Cochin! Hope to see you back again and until then, happy and safe travels~

Linking this week with:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings
Wordless Wednesday

57 comments:

  1. Wonderful travel account. Good to know you have visited this city.

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    1. Thanks much for the lovely comment Rajesh - we loved our time in Cochin!

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  2. Oh, love going on cruise! I really enjoyed this post. I dream of someday having an Asian cruise. This posts is making me more inspired. Thanks for sharing. Thanks you for visiting my blog today, that is very kind of you to stop by and leave a message. Maya: Tea in Sidi Bou Said Tunisia"

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    1. Maya, I loved your post - it was fun discovering your blog!

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  3. I am enchanted by that fishing net, and utterly amazed that there is a Jewish synagogue in Cochin. :-)

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    1. Just wait until next week when we head out for what they call Jew Town. . .the influence is absolutely fabulous.

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  4. I'm hanging on to your every word about this cruise! I love the flexibility that this particular trip offered you. Can't wait to ride the tuk-tuk with you!

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    1. It was a great tour - glad to know you'll be aboard! Happy week Amy!

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  5. Quite interesting.
    Thank you for linking up st http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/strange-visitors-in-garden.html

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  6. Those fishing nets make a great subject for photography. :)
    I have been to Cochin, it is indeed a beautiful place. Waiting to see it once more through your eyes.

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    1. Indiana, Cochin was a wonderful first-taste of India. It was small yet large, and a great introduction. We do want to return and wonder why we don't hear more about this wonderful place. More to come next week!

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  7. Just saying the word tuk tuk is fun so I imagine riding in one must be a blast!

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    1. Isn't that the truth! I was so disappointed when I saw them referred to as autorickshaws. . .I really didn't know that until this post! I prefer tuk tuk!

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  8. Hi Jackie. I would never have dreamed that an Indian city could be so tranquil. I can see myself visiting Cochin. I love those fishing nets. Tuk Tuk rides are always an adventure! Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

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    1. Oh Nancie, I think you would love this place. It is "India" enough to be extremely fascinating and wonderful but not so exotic that you feel like Alice in Wonderland as she takes her tumble. Love being a part of #TPThursday!

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  9. I will imagine the anxiety of getting out of the ship after three days sailing. And, then, knowing you would disembark in India, well, I think that made things more interesting. To be honest, your photos doesn't look like India. But, like you mentioned on the post this part is very different from the India we are used to see.

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    1. Ruth I think when I post the photos taken during our tuk-tuk ride through town it will look more like India. Cochin was a wonderful destination - we'd love to go back!

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  10. Cochin looks amazing and not what I had expected. It actually looks more like Cambodia or Thailand. The photos are beautiful

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    1. It really was much the same for me Paula - I guess I wasn't sure what to expect but whatever it was, it wasn't this nice serene welcome and departure route we had. Thanks for the visit~

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  11. I agree that it's sometimes more interesting to see how the locals live rather than just focusing on the famous tourist attractions. Cochin does look very serene. When I lived in Penang, I could see the cruise boats from my condo and often wondered what people thought when they looked ashore.

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    1. One of the nice things about the view from a cruise ship is that you do get to see a lot of the real people out working and commuting and doing everyday things -- that is my favorite part of all travel I guess.

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  12. So enriching those trips and how many windows can be opened while travelling around the world! I'm sure you are able to discover things off the beaten track, you have the know how, absolutely!
    Wishing you a great month and thanking you for all your sweet comments
    Olympia

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    1. Olympia, we are on count-down to our return to Greece (Oct. 8th). Hope that sometime during our stay - 2.5 months this time - I might get close enough to Corinth that you and I might have a visit over coffee one day!

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  13. You've captured the feel of languid days cruising past scenic villages perfectly in this post. Your glimpse of this side of India shows some quiet beauty away from the tourist crowds and I loved your photos. Wouldn't it be fun to stay at a place on the called the Hotel Seagull?

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  14. Glad you enjoyed the photos, Anita. And yes, that Hotel Seagull called out to us both on our arrival and departure. . looks like a perfect spot. Thanks much for the visit~

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  15. The fishing nets are such a symbol of Cochin. Whilst we were there we were invited to help pull the nets in...it's quite a feat! Cochin is definitely a city you should return to . There's so much to see from the tea areas, to the spice gardens and the wonderful waterways. Looking forward to seeing more photos of your visit to the city.

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    1. Jenny, you are so correct about our need to return. This was definitely a place where one day was simply not enough! Thanks much for your visit -

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  16. I really enjoyed this look at Cochin, a place I've not read anything about before. I agree it looks different than my preconceived notions of India too - the crush of traffic, etc.I'm looking forward to reading the next post.

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    1. Glad to know I wasn't the only one who didn't have Cochin on my travel radar, Donna. I really don't think I'd heard of it before -- and I certainly was missing something special! As always, your visits and comments are appreciated.

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  17. I agree. Your approach to India through Cochin is not what I expected, either. But it does look quite interesting.

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    1. It was fascinating Carole and I guess sometimes it is good to not have expectations as everything becomes something new and magical! Thanks for stopping by~

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  18. A great reminder that our notions and expectations as travelers are always subject to realities we don't anticipate! Tranquil and fascinating.

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    1. Excellent point Betsy! And it is great when we have no expectations and then find something completely out of the preconceived notion to rattle us a bit!

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  19. Cochin looks very interesting place and you have beautiful travelling pictures. I love those fishing pictures.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the photos. Hope you come back again when we head downtown in Cochin for a less tranquil experience.

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  20. Cruising is a great way to get introduced to wonderful destinations that you'll want to return to again, as you felt about Cochin.i

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    1. Irene, I know you understand the joys of cruising and discovering destinations. It is amazing what a viewing platform the deck of a ship can be, isn't it? Thanks for commenting~ happy week!

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  21. Lovely to see Cochin on your cruise and I can't believe you two took an auto rickshaw out yourselves! Brave souls. :-)
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Jackie - nice to see you and Joel together.

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    1. It was an adventure riding the auto rickshaw but then that's what we wanted from this cruise -- can hardly wait to show you the town as we buzzed through it Judith!

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  22. I have to 'fess up to not having known of Cochin before so it was nice to learn a little about it. That picture of the fishing nets is stunning!

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    1. Kay, as I told Donna above, I am glad to find that I am not the only one whose travel radar had never landed on Cochin as a destination before! Thanks for stopping by~

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  23. Hi Jackie,

    What interesting photos of Cochin and your arrival into India! Yes, I was expecting what you had expected, but it was very refreshing to arrive in Cochin along with you and the Scout, and to board that auto rickshaw, and secure a good seat in order to see the city from up close - in your next post, waiting for the whirlwind tour!

    Have a wonderful week!

    xx
    Poppy

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    1. Hi Poppy, So nice to see you hear this morning. Our cruise did open our eyes to so many cultures and religions and wonderful people and places. And oftentimes I found my preconceived notions were completely off base!

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  24. Wow, Cochin looks so calm, not what I expected of India at all. What is it about the light in India though - it's always so beautiful, surreal, ethereal even.

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    1. Well Jo you need to come back for part two of the tour - from the auto rickshaw we had a taste of the congestion that I had been anticipating. . .but it was such a contrast to the waterway that leads to the city.

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  25. Wow, Cochin looks so calm, not what I expected of India at all. What is it about the light in India though - it's always so beautiful, surreal, ethereal even.

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  26. What a fabulous trip and you have documented it well with great images for us. Love the fishing net and line of boats. I have riden in a Tuk Tuk and it is quite exciting.

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    1. Margaret, I am glad you understand the view from the Tuk Tuk. . .it does put a city up-close and personal doesn't it? Hope you'll be back for our trip through town in that tiny little vehicle! Have a great week. I look forward to your comments~

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  27. This is such an interesting perspective of arriving in a new country. I haven't done any cruises yet beyond ferries and other local or tour boat rides. However, I'll be on my first European river cruise in December. Although not quite the same experience, I'm sure I'll be one of those watching closely as we approach each port.

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    1. Oh Cathy, I know you will be standing there watching every scene pass by and then tempting us with the tales I hope you will tell as result of the experience.

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  28. Hi Jackie, nice catching up with your blog. Thanks for visiting my new post. I took a break from blogging for a while and it's nice to be back and catch up with my favorite bloggers. I so enjoyed this post. I totally agree that having a glimpse of people go on with their daily lives is much more rewarding than just seeing the typical tourist scenes. I was fascinated with the ancient fishing nets and not surprised at all with the sight of garbage next to something beautiful. It's India after all, a fascinating land of contrast. Lovely photos and narrative.

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    1. Oh Marisol, Nice to have you back among us, although I can understand the 'blog break'! Glad you enjoyed this post - there's more to come. . .

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  29. Cochin sounds worth a visit. I've never been on a cruise, but I read that comment in blogs a lot: "one day wasn't enough!" Doesn't that get frustrating?

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  30. Never thought about going on a cruise there. Cool!

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