I had promised myself a beach break in Kerala – to recover from the intensive travel on the temple trail in Tamil Nadu. I decided against the more famous Kovalam, just south of Trivandrum, put off by the stories of the impact of the tourist industry.
Instead I travelled about 40km north of Trivandrum, the hill-top resort of Varkala. Formerly just a fishing village, the fishermen are still there, but the cliff-top is covered by a line of small hotels, cafes and shops. It sounds awful, but once I got over the culture shock of being in a tourist resort, like every other visitor, it responded to its charm and spend a self-indulgent few days swimming on a lovely beach, trying out Ayudevedic massage and sampling delicious Keralan food and cocktails.
Claire, my companion through Tamil Nadu, had tracked me down again through my blog, and we were to travel together again from Varkala up to Allepey. My photos were all destroyed when I handed my card over to have a CD made (a computer virus I was told…), so I’m hoping Claire will provide memories of this idyllic place.
Despite being almost entirely employed in the tourist industry people were relaxed and not pushy, and we had several delightful encounters and conversations with young Keralans. (There is a high level of literacy and English speakers in Varkala.)