Kerela was proving to be more mystical, more magical than anticipated. We were enamoured by the riot of colours, the lush, verdant nature, the innumerable species of birds and insects, and the fresh crispy air that we inhaled. The DH and I love waking up early even on vacations. We feel the beauty of these pristine places can be savoured and experienced while everybody else sleeps. We love to go for our morning run or walk and unfailingly pack our workout gear.
The girls were fast asleep in their cottage. Al took off for his run while I chose to stick to my favourite activity, cycling. There were a whole bunch of cycles. I pedaled furiously around the property hoping to burn some of the calories I had gained over the last two days. But then our input outweighed the output. Well, we were on vacation so it was okay to take that leeway.
After having done with our rounds of workout, we sat at the patio and sipped into some soulful masala chai. The girls were awake by then and wanted to go pedal boating in the lake within the property. So we jumped into the boat and pedaled our way around the length and breadth of the serene, sensuous lake, where Kari meens surreptitiously swam away into unknown corners and hideouts. The morning breeze felt sublime and sweet. Once done we clamoured to the open restaurant for breakfast. A bevy of swans announced their arrival by making raucous sounds, begging for breakfast. The hotel staff gave us some bread to feed them. The little one was excited and forgot all about her breakfast and wandered around the swans feeding and cooing at them. The swans were not too friendly and when given a chance tried to peck back with guarded hostility.
Our day plans were as dreamy as the captivating land we were in. It was something we were eagerly anticipating a houseboat ride on the Vembanad lake. We arrived at the jetty well before time and our grandiose boat stood there anchored and steady. As we made our way into it, we were greeted by a lovely dine in area with a living room space with two open doors. There was an al fresco space where we could sit and enjoy the balmy breeze and where the pilot or helmsman of the boat would be seated steering us through the huge expansive lake. There were also two cosy bedrooms to boot.
Vembanad lake is so vast that it seems like a huge river. No wonder it is the longest lake in India. The houseboat had a chef and helper who served us our welcome drink and some munchies, while they got busy in the kitchen rustling up fresh Kerela cuisine of fish, chicken an array of vegetables. We savoured the beautiful lake and its wondrous view, as the breeze played with us coquettishly.
We passed various landmarks by the banks of the that were dotted by
the coconuts palms including an old, abandoned church which appeared eerie and haunted. We stopped by the bank to buy some toddy, the local drink which is extracted from the new buds of coconut palm. This drink is fermented and consumed and supposedly elixir to the local soul. We also stopped to buy some freshly netted tiger prawns.
Lunch was beyond sumptuous. We gorged on the various delicacies and smacked our lips in contentment when we were done. Our entire family, we realise is a fan of Malyali cuisine. The Tiger prawns were reserved for the evening snack.
Aarshia and I had another incredible experience of manoeuvering the boat, around the Vembanad lake. It was exhilarating to say the least. I felt unstoppable, as the breeze flirted with my hair and caressed my face.
But then all good things have to come to an end. The sun was readying to go down and welcome the upcoming dusk and it was time to bid adieu to the Vembanad lake till the next time, whenever that would be. We docked back at the hotel jetty partially satiated to the soul and craving more adventure in God’s Own Country. Our next destination beckoned us, and the chances of visiting another more than surreal place seemed plausible and inviting.