Sunday, January 05, 2020

Visiting Alleppy, Munnar & Cochin - In search of the elusive Appam!

Visiting Alleppy, Munnar and Cochin - In Search of the elusive Appam!

Our yearly vacation this time was to revisit Munnar and Alleppy in Kerala, which Souji and I had visited 16 years back right after our marriage. So we retraced these visits, this time with Pooja and Ruchir.

22 Dec, 2019 - Sunday:
We took the Kochuveli Humsafar Express - We boarded the Kochuveli-Humsafar Express from K R Puram at 7 PM.  A new train, with only AC Coaches, beautiful Blue-Green Liveries, with Smart toilets,  Reasonably clean and tidy. We reached Ernakulam Jn., by 5:30 AM, an hour late and spent the next couple of hours at the First Class Waiting Hall.

Just outside of the railway station was a Pure Veg hotel and where we had our breakfast. We ordered for the Kerala's famous Appams, but the waiter told that he had served the last Appam to a family that ordered just before us. He assured that Appams would be available everywhere across Kerala and not to worry. Felt happy with the assurance the waiter gave us. Appams were definitely on our bucket-list of items to try while in Kerala!

23 Dec, 2019 - Monday:
We took the Chennai-Alleppy Fast Passenger at 9:30 AM and reached Alleppy by 11 PM. Must say that the train ride to Alleppy offers great views of Backwaters, Green Lands, Beautiful houses near the railway lines, nicely decked for Christmas. One of the best short distance train journey, that should not be missed. We took an Auto from Alleppy to 'Ponnumada' - starting point where all the houseboats were anchored. Its about 5 Kms distance from Alleppy railway station and 3 Kms from the Alleppy town. Beautiful town with large palatial houses, very rich!

Ponnumada greeted us with 100s of houseboats where we met the manager of the houseboat (Kevin), who took us inside one boat tethered to the shore and exited into the entrance of 'our' houseboat - 'Aqua Malabar'

Aqua Malabar - A neat 1 BHK houseboat, which we had reserved back in October over the web. A beautiful hall welcomed us with neat Sofa sets, Dining table & Chairs, Large windows, TV and Entertainment Units. A passage down the hall had a Sparkling clean wash basin with Mirror before leading us to our Double cot AC room with an attached bathroom. Further behind our room was the Kitchen and the Staff Quarters.

We were introduced to the Captain of our boat and the cook, who would take care of us during the 1 day accommodation. We stated sailing just a few minutes past noon that took us through huge wide backwater waterways that Alleppy is famous far. With water that was absolutely still, our boat cruised at a slow speed giving us enough and more time to enjoy the beautiful landscapes on both sides of the waterways.

We steered around Islands which had acres and acres of Green Paddy fields on both sides, which were fed by the water from the waterways. Apparently, all these paddy fields belong to the Govt. of Kerala and employs the laborers whose live right across the ridge of these paddy fields. The lush green paddy fields, stretches far and wide as long as the eyes can see, are a treat to the eyes. The pale blue waterways surrounding these paddy fields, Cute little houses along the shoreline showing off colorful flowers and Christmas cheers, the Coconut trees along the shoreline, wandering Houseboats and the the clear blue sky made it a naturally idyllic scenery, and left us with an indelible sight in the mind for a long time to come. 

The cameras did not stop clicking top for the next hour or so till our captain dropped the anchor next to another Paddy field. Lunch was served and we couldn't wait to hog. 

For lunch, Our cook 'Raj' [Nepali!] had prepared Vegetable salads, 3 types of Palyas - Alu-Gobhi Palya, Kosu [Cabbage] Palya, Gorikaaye-Carrot palya, Rice, Sambhar with multiple veggies, Happala [Papad] and Pickles! Heaven!

The sun was quite heavy post lunch as we lazily dozed off for an hour and so did our boat. The captain resumed the journey and drove us to deeper places where we saw 'highways' of waterways, service waterways, houseboat traffic on both ways, and traffic jams at the intersections of highways and smaller waterways! Very much akin to our land roads, movement on the waterways were very similar to what we see on roadways in all aspects! 

We saw waterway commerce with Ice-cream and Tender coconut vendors on boats that come and latch onto the houseboats. These sellers have a 1 man boat almost similar to a Kayak with just enough space to hold an Ice-cream dabba. They attack the minds of peaceful people of houseboat to indulge into their offerings! Good quality Ice-creams I must say and very reasonable prices. So lot of fun and who would not want to slurp a cone or a candy on a hot, humid afternoon in the lap of nature?!?!

At about 5 PM, our Houseboats dropped anchored again near an Island Village, where the captain rolled out the power cables from our boat to the metered connections on the land. That way, they can draw power from the mains for the AC and lights during the night and hence no need to run the Diesel Generator anymore! Quite a nice arrangement I must admit.

We got off the boat and checked out a few houses and shops for a few minutes. Ruchir demanded that he wanted to fishing and our cook Raj got a Fishing rod made from a tree branch, got the wires and hook and give him a hand full of dough as a bait, to catch the fish. Pooja got one for herself too. Both tried their hands with fishing and they loved the experience! Taught some patience ;-)

Our captain suggested we could hire one of the smaller boats and explore the by-lanes of these Islands, which were great places to see while our houseboats were anchored for the night. Initially, we resisted the offer, but with Souji's insistence, I took the bait!

A small boat took us into the smaller lanes of these villages and that is when we started to realize the beauty of this place. A truly incredible experience of how life thrives in backwaters can only be experienced and no words will be enough to describe the beautiful glimpses we saw. I have captured these scenes on the photos we took, but whoever is reading this blog, should be advised not to miss taking this tour of the villages while you are there. If this is not heaven, then nothing is. As plain and simple as it is.

Beautiful houses decked with grand flowering bushes on both sides of these canals, Orchids, Jackfruit trees, coconut trees and Plantains all around, the flowering Mango trees  swoop down from the banks and brushes the guests on these boats and one can pluck these mangoes as you slowly move on these clear waters. Awesome experiences and we loved every second of this drive!

We saw temples, small shops/shacks, footpaths along the bunds, people crossing over from each side of the canal through arched over-bridges which are so low, that we need to literally lie down on the floor of the boat to get us past through the bridge. Each house has a boat or two of their own, very similar to us having our vehicles on our streets. Imagine a village with roads replaced with waterways! And that's exactly what it is like. A truly memorable one. This little tour that costed about Rs. 500 per hour is worth every grain of salt and must say was more enjoyable than the larger tour on the Houseboat! If not for this little tour, we would never have known the true life on the backwaters. 

As the sun went down, the 'Karthika' Maasa' deepa/diyas were seen from each of these little houses as we sailed past them making a very beautiful sight. Christian houses showed-off their hanging-stars lighting up their front yard. After 45 minutes, our little boat emerged out of these narrow canals, into the main highway where our Houseboat was anchored.

The rest of the evening, was spent behind closed windows and doors and excused ourselves from uninvited mosquitoes. Thanks to Souji's advice, we had mosquito-proofed our hall and room even before we de-boarded for the mini tour. 

Our houseboat showed off a beautiful blue, white and pink neon lights that looked amazing in the night, raising the eyebrows of all the other houseboat visitors. Many inquired about how we got our houseboat booked and felt happy knowing from their inquiries, that ours was quite a Queen compared the rest.

We spent the night watching the only movie DVD that was on our Houseboat - Zero! The SRK - Anushka Sharma starrer was a okay-okay movie to spend the night together. Dinner got served at 8 PM with Chapathis, Panneer Subjee, Bhindi Masala, Rice, Dal Fry, Curds, Papads and Pickles! Deliciously made and we loved it! [No Appams :-( ]

The AC in the bedroom was a real boon considering how hot and humid the rest of the non-AC world was. 

24 Dec, 2019 - Tuesday:
Early morning at 6 AM, Ruchir and I woke up first and took some nice snaps of the village at dawn. We then explored the lush green Paddy fields witnessing the sunrise on these Islands. Morning coffee was served as we stood enjoying the beauty of the paddy fields from our houseboats oriented towards the sunrise. Quite a mesmerizing experience, I must stay. Goosebumps!

Our captain raised the anchors one last time as we set sail by 8 AM and started driving back towards Ponnumada. Breakfast of Idlis, Sambhar and Chutney was served indoors and en-route. We (probably) retraced our route back the Starting point of 'Ponnumada', and we disembarked our house boat at 9 AM.

We bade goodbye to the Captain, the Cook and the Wonderful houseboat experiences of Alleppy backwaters. Our Taxidriver to our next destination 'Munnar' was already waiting at the door for us to be picked up. On time!

We had pre-booked the taxi services from our Hotel in Munnar. We started towards Munnar by 9:30 AM and reached our Hotel, Royal Retreat by about 4 PM. On the way, we took a break at one of the waterfall, which hardly had any water. We ate some cut Pineapple, Carrots at the waterfalls and continued with home made Kurku-Murkus. The roads from Alleppy to Munnar were quite good till such time the Ghat Section arrived. The climbing of the hills started after we were 3 hours into the journey. The last 30-45 minutes of the drive saw us going through vast green tea estates on each side of the road. A sign that indicated that we were now getting into the much famed 'Kannan Devan Hills', where Munnar was situated.

Our Hotel at Munnar - 'Royal Retreat' was the same hotel Souji and I had stayed 16 years back and it hadn't changed much, except that the little sleepy town was busting with huge buildings, traffic snarls, heavy traffic and people everywhere. At the reception, we got to know that our room was upgraded to a 'Suite' from the 'Premium' we had booked. So a happy start to our stay at Munnar. 

Our room was super spacious, with a King Size Bed, Cozy comforters, Clean and neat linen, TV with all channels pre-loaded, AC, Couple of Sofa Sets, a mini-fridge, Huge Spic and span toilet, and my favorite - latest editions of Photography Magazines! I couldn't have asked for more! It was already 4 PM and we refreshed ourselves, and got to know we could finish the 'Tea Museum' nearby before the day ends. So we picked up an Auto rickshaw to the Town center and from there to the Tea Museum. 

The 'Ripple' Tea Museum had some interesting old gadgets that were used during the time the Tea Gardens were first started 130 years back. There was also a documentary movie session of 40 minutes that gave a good idea of how Munnar became the Tea Plantation Capital of South India and a good run down on the reasons for it. The museum also had a demo setup which showcased the entire process right from Plucking Tea Leaves to Packaging Tea. One could buy all the varieties of tea that they manufacture at the Tea Store and also have sip piping Hot Tea over the live counters.

We were done with the Tea Museum by 5:30 PM and walked half the distance back to the Town with no Auto-rickshaws available to pick us up back to the town! Most of the folks who reached there were part of a package deal and we didn't realize that we would not have Autos waiting for us when we got dropped at the entrance when we came in. Fortunately, we found one Auto-rickshaw guy who was willing to pick us up back to the Town from midway. We spent some time looking at the town which was crowded beyond capacity, due to Christmas, Year end vacations etc... Every hotel was booked, every restaurant was full and busy and a prime season for business activity. We walked down from the town back to our hotel, which was about 2 Kms. A long day of travel and a long walk, our legs was beginning to pain bad. We had a nice dinner at the hotel itself and hit the bed early.

Oh! by the way, we enquired with a couple of 'Vegetarian' hotels if they served Appam, but got to know they didn't and it would only be served where both Veg and Non-Veg food were served. We were also told that Appams were served at Pure Veg Hotels in Cochin and Guruvayoor! So we were still okay with it, as these were on our list of to-visit places  anyways!

25 Dec, 2019 - Wednesday, Christmas:
We got up ready and took some nice snaps in the beautiful flowering gardens of Royal Retreat. We had booked a Jeep for sight seeing around Munnar on the 'Madhupetty' direction, the previous night itself, considering that it was Christmas season and huge demand for tourist vehicles. We had a Super-duper breakfast of Bread Toasts with Jam and Butter, Idli, Vada, Sambhar, Chutney, Upma, Coffee and Tea which was complimentary along with our hotel bookings. We enquired if they would prepare Appams, but got to know they didn't and asked us to check with another Hotel nearby (SN hotel). So we decided that we would have Appams at SN Hotel at the close of our day today. 

On our way we briefly glanced upon Flower and Botanical Gardens and then stopped for some snaps at good Vantage points across the lush green Tea Estates. We saw again! - The WORLD FAMOUS (in Munnar only) - Honey Bee Point, a tree that had loads of Honey Bee nests. We saw the same tree 16 years back ;-). Wondering why a tree with Honey Bee Nests is Point of interest in Munnar!

Next was the Elephant Ride which we skipped as we wanted to cover only if time permitted  on our way back. Our next stop was at another beautiful tea estate, where Souji and Pooja dressed up as Tea Leaf Pluckers. Ruchir tried Horse riding along the same road. After an hour, we drove past the Madhupetty Dam, which had good water storage. Crystal clear and clean. Not a huge one, but big enough for the region I believe. 

Next, we visited the 'Cowboy Park' which had lot of amusements for kids and also the Boating on the backwaters of Madhupetty Dam. Pooja and Ruchir were thrilled to take one of the packages at the amusement Park. Souji engaged herself into looking around the Souvenir shop while I explored the beautiful lake with towering cloud covered peaks. Ruchir and Pooja returned an hour and half later and got them some food at the restaurant. We all went to the lake and took some group Photos there. 

Our next visit was the Echo Point, which was further upstream the boating lake. A beautiful section of the with hardly any a few people around, it was mystically silent. People shouted whatever they want to hear back the Echo, but nothing much happened. However, the scenery and landscapes over there was just mind-boggling. The camera did not stop for a second we were there. 

We sat down the grassy meadows next to the lake admiring the beautiful weather and the surroundings and relishing the Kurku-Murkus for some time in the lap of nature. 

We drove back again with the Sun, Clouds and Rain playing hide and seek and taking turns. Our next destination was the Kundala Dam. Another storage reservoir that feeds collected water to the downstream Madhupetty dam, via the Echo Point. We spent some time looking at the pristine beautiful reservoir. It started raining for some time and we took shelter in a nearby Shack. All of us got drenched but enjoyed the state we were in. Rainy weather, Fully drenched, cold and hungry like hell... A perfect setting for a piping hot Maggi!!! Pooja and Ruchir gorged on the most loved snack of all times and felt really satisfied afterwards. The rain stopped and we explored the place a little further and then got back into our Jeep again.

Next was 'Top Station' another Vantage point, the highest in the Kannan Devan Hills range. As we climbed the hills, the fog brought in even-heavier rains. The  visibility on the roads dropped a bit due to the Mountain Mist. The view point was completely fogged out and we couldn't see anything beyond 5 feet. We waited for better visibility but the situation did not get any better. So we got back into our Jeep and started on our way back. 

Got to know that only the Top Station point belongs to 'Tamil Nadu' where was the remaining section of the lower hills belong to Kerala. Also go to know that during the reformation of Indian States during the late 60s, Kerala retained the possession of Iddukki District (Munnar) and lost Nagercoil and Kanyakumari to Tamilnadu. However, the Top Station also was retained by Tamilnadu. 

We started our return back to Munnar hotel and in about an hour and half we were close to our hotel. We got into a huge traffic jam a kilometer long and we could see the vehicles stuck at the traffic junctions at Munnar. It took us 30 minutes more to get past the traffic jam and then got dropped back at our hotel by 5:30 PM.

We refreshed ourselves at our wonderful hotel room and spent an hour getting ready for a feast of Appams to be devoured at SN Hotel, a few hundred meters away. We dressed well, took some photos of the gardens, and then left our hotel with a smile. Appams - here we come!

We reached SN Hotel, occupied a cozy seat and asked for Appams! A cold, very heavily accented manly voice responded back - No Appams. Appams only in Morning not during evening. All our smiles withdrew from our face and turned upside down. We enquired if they could recommend other hotels which served Appam and they answered that it would be served only in the morning. With a heavy heart, we came out of the hotel with blood rushing to our heads. With body aching all over due to non-stop activity during the past few days, we walked again back towards the town, with barely enough energy to spend. We saw a Vegetarian 'Annapoorna Hotel' and settled down to have some Rice, Rotis and Phulkas. A very decent hotel. We didn't even look at the menu card and just ordered a few things in random, still nursing the thoughts of the elusive Appams replaying in the background. We got a shocking jolt when the bill arrived close to Rs. 1000! We thought there was some mistake and asked the waiter to recalculate and come back. The person at the counter redid his math and put a sent across the bill, which had the same amount, this time circled and reconfirmed. We opened the menu card and found that every single dish we had over there was 3 times costlier than normal 3 Star hotel charge. This was like rubbing salt over the injury of not able to find Appams! We took an Auto back to our hotel and retired to bed early.

26 Dec, 2019 - Thursday:
Enjoyed the same complimentary breakfast at Royal Retreat, and then walked towards the Town. Strolled leisurely around the streets as Souji shopped for specialties of Munnar. Spices, Plum Cakes, Handmade Soaps etc... With 2 bags full, we returned back to the hotel and checked out by 11 AM. We refreshed again and left for Cochin by 12 PM. Our return journey was uneventful and we reached Cochin by 4 PM. We checked into South Gate Residency, a hotel near the South Railway Station. Very convenient location for catching trains, Metro and buses all at the same place. Also we were in the middle of the wholesale Markets, so shopping was an arm length away. 

After freshening up, we asked for directions to the Port side of Cochin and then walked towards the Marine Drive Road. We entered the Subhash Chandra Bose Park overlooking the Cochin Port. A well maintained public park with good seating all through and a fantastic view of the Cochin Port. We spent some a couple of hours there. Our hunger pangs were blowing loud whistles and we decided the time was right for a full fledged traditional Kerala meal. We googled and found 'Vasant Vihaar', a Vegetarian hotel 2 Kms away with photos of mouth watering Kerala dishes served on Plantain Leaf Meal. Got to know reaching there that the meals were only during Lunch and only Chinese and North Indian during dinner. We felt cheated that being in South India, we don't get South Indian meals in Hotels, but you get Chinese and North Indian specialties only! Upon enquiry we were told that they had Chilly Parota and Kotthu Parotas which were their best specialties. So we ordered 2 Chilly Parotas and 1 Kotthu Parota. It took about 35 minutes for our food to arrive and we when it was served, we just jumped off our seats. We were expecting Parotas that would have some chilies but got a bowl of mish-mashed stuff that looked like Gobi Manchurian!. Kotthu Parota was even more worse with and looked like a forest of heap of junk food. The taste was okay, but the feeling of wanting to have a South Indian Meal versus the reality that was in 3 bowls of junk literally screwed our happiness. We left the bowl half finished and took a couple of Bananas and got done with our Dinner. Souji even had a plate of Gol Gappa to flush down the junk if anything was still stuck in the food pipe.

We booked a Taxicab at the reception of our hotel to visit temples of Guruvayoor and Thrissur. Initially, we checked out our options with the Railway Station, but later decided that it would be better to do the visit in a taxi. Because of the vacation season, we wanted to avoid the rush and so the plan was to leave early morning 3:30 AM the next day.

27 Dec, 2019 - Friday:
We got up at 2 AM, got ready at 3:30 AM. Our taxi guy came only at 4 AM and we were in Guruvayoor temple by 6:15 AM. The Queue did not seem to be too long and that is when we realized we were in the wrong queue. We then asked people around and that led us into a huge queue. Thankfully, there were benches all through the queue and we joined the queue at a time when the last bench was open for seating! The folks who were behind us had to stand. Luck us we thought! 

Guruvayoor temple looked splendid in the early morning lights. The streets around had full of stalls glittering with the reflections of Copper Vessels, Imitation stuff and Pooja related stuff. The crowd also seemed to have some class. Looked very forward looking, descent and well behaved. A very Brahmin based crowd I must say. 30 minutes passed and we hardly moved any further in the queue. We were told that due to the Solar Eclipse the previous day, there were extra things that were being done inside the temple. Another 30 minutes, we hardly moved another 20 feet. We saw at-least 2 central ministers who walked in with VIP status and got their Darshan done in minutes. Even after an hour, our queue didn't move. After 2 hours we must have moved about 100 feet in all. That's when we realized something was not right. Souji checked with another family what was the issue and they knew both Malayalam and Kannada and told us that if we needed faster darshan then it would cost more. Knowing Thirupati well, we thought we could use that route as it was already getting closer to 9:30 AM and the temple would close by 11 AM. So we existed the queue and joined the queue at a ticket counter and got to know that it was Rs. 1000 per person for a fast entry!!! This was too just too much nonsense. We felt disappointed that only people who have money can get the darshan. Since we had come this far, that too starting our day at 2 AM, going back without seeing Guruvayoor temple after standing in the queue for 3 hours, would be a total waste of time, money and effort. This was ridiculous, and outright robbery in the name of god. But we were helpless, and had to cough-in Rs. 1000 per person for getting the fast darshan. 

In 5 minutes we were able to get-in and get a Darshan of the Lord inside. We came out of the temple and saw the same people we were with in the Queue still waiting. And many of them still believed that the delay was due to the Solar Eclipse, Ministers arrivals and other things. But in reality, this was a money making tactic to which allows the rich to have a Darshan while the others had to wait, not sure how much longer. That experience at Guruvayoor temple left a very bad memory.

It was 10:30 AM and had a quick breakfast of Dosas and Upma, at a nearby Veg Hotel. We left Guruvayoor to Thrissur immediately and reached Thrissur by 12 PM. We reached the Vadukunathan temple only to find that it was already closed by 11 AM and would only reopen at 5 PM. So we spent some time at the gates looking at the old temple, had some Ice Candies near by and then started back on our return journey to Cochin. 

We reached Cochin by 3:30 PM and took some rest in our Hotel and then headed again to do some Shopping nearby. We first visited Marine Drive. At one of the junctions, we took a boat-ride that took us through the coast lines of Cochin. We saw the Aircraft Carrier docked at a distance as well! Beautiful tall buildings looking bright in the setting sun, made up for a good tour. A small Island resort was fully decorated for a wedding reception and looked regal. After an hour's drive we returned back to where we started. 

We crossed over the street into 'Broadway Street', a paradise for shopping at budget prices. Loads of shops, quite busy. Bags, Footwear, Spices, Cakes and pastries and other Steet side stuff, was in full demand. Ruchir finally found the pair of Brown Shoes with lace, and bought it. He was over the moon, now that he had the Police Uniform, Cap, Gun, Sun Glasses and now the Brown Shoes with Lace, to become the 'Little Singham'. He felt unstoppable!

We visited Veg Bhavan, a restaurant that was close to our hotel where we had dinner. We enquired about Appams and they said that Appams would be available only during mornings! Finally, it looked like we would get to taste the Kerala's very own Appam and the time had come! We returned back to our hotel and hit the bed. 

28 Dec, 2019 - Saturday:
Our last day of the trip. We got ready leisurely and by 9 AM we came out of the Hotel. Even though the breakfast was complimentary, we wanted to eat the Appams. So we skipped the complimentary breakfast at South Gate Residency and walked straight to Veg Bhavan. Finally! We smiled at the waiter and ordered the 3 plates of Appam!. The waiter smiled back and said that Appams were not available!!! I looked at the reception guy who said just the previous night that Appams were served during breakfast time and it was still breakfast time! The waiter smile again and said, that the information regarding Appam being served in during the breakfast time is correct. However, Appams are not served on Saturday and Sundays!!! I felt like throwing the plates onto the face of the waiter, but somehow restrained my composure and we all walked out of the hotel. Enquired in another Veg hotel and the result was the same. So there we were, 6 days in Kerala and not a single chance to taste the Appam! We walked back to our Hotel which still was serving our complimentary breakfast of Plain Bread (No Jam, No Butter), Vada, Sambhar, Upma and Coffee. We checked out of our rooms by 11 AM, kept our luggage at the reception and left for Lulu Mall!

We took the metro train to Lulu Mall, which I am told is the largest mall in South India. The Edapally Metro Station was a few hundred feet away from the mall and also has a over-bridge that directly is connected to the 2nd floor of the Mall. We spent about 4 hours there going around each floor, with out Window Shopping. We returned back to our Hotel via the same Metro which was just 100 meters from away from our Hotel. We stayed in the reception lobby and took an Auto-rickshaw to 'Kalladi' by 4:30 PM. An hour and half, we reached Kalladi but the traffic was so intense that the Auto-driver could not take us any further. Kalladi has a temple, which is Adi Shankaracharya's birth place and Souji really wanted to visit this place. Unfortunately, the traffic got really worse and the driver was not very cooperative, so we had to return back without stepping into the actual temple, even though we were just 1 Km away from it. We reached Cochin International Airport by 7 PM. The lights at the Airport looked Majestic. The airport itself has the best Architectural design I must say, compared to any other Airport I have visited. We spent a lot of time admiring the beauty of the Airport. 

We checked into the airport early, got our boarding passes, and rested at the Level 2 Lobby. Our Indigo Flight was on time and we departed at 10:30 PM to Namma Bengaluru at 11:30 PM. We took a taxi from Bengaluru Airport and had a pit-stop at VV Puram to get some midnight masala dosa packed as Souji and I had not had our dinner. We reached home by 12:45, had the masala dosas and went to bed.

Thus came to an end our, wonderful trip to Alleppy, Munnar and Guruvayoor, Thrissur and Cochin! The search for the elusive Appams is still on!


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