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Journaling through Varkala

This blogpost is posted by our German volunteer

- A little holiday in view

16th November 2022

‘It seems like a completely different country! The food is delicious, every dish contains coconut! The beaches are beautiful and there are palm trees everywhere! Oh, you must definitely try a backwaters tour!...’

- The number one travel destination seems to be : Kerala.

So I planned my trip and a meetup with a friend from Germany in Varkala, probably one of the most touristic cities of Kerala. My friend is currently sitting in an airplane on her way from Germany to India. I will take my train tomorrow, only to arrive in Varkala at 6:25 AM, on the 18th of November. It will be my first solo-train-journey and it will take 13 hours! So I hope everything will go like planned and I am already so excited…

18th November 2022

When I look at my phone and to check the time, it announces: ten minutes to finally reach Varkala Sivagari. I slept 7 1/2 hours of my train journey from Vellore to Varkala. I grab my backpack and walk to the open door of the train. Standing in the door, I breathe the morning air and get to see hundreds of palm trees in between of bushes and colorful bungalows. It smells like holiday.

As soon as I checked into my hotel, my friend, her mother and I decide to drink a delicious Espresso and eat breakfast at Benny’s Café, which is just opposite my hotel. There is no table left, so we ask a guy, who is sitting alone, whether we could join him. He introduces himself as Pramod. It turns out, that his sister owns Benny’s café. Over the week, we got to know, that he spends most time of the day here, sipping juices and coffee, chatting with locals and tourists passing by. Benny actually grows all the fruit and vegetables, he uses as ingredients, himself. - Even the coffee and the spices are grown by his wife Leena and him on a plantation nearby.

19th November 2022

Today morning we asked Pramod on advice for typical Keralian food in town and he (obviously) promoted his restaurant: ‘Come and eat with me, it’s the best food, good offer.’ As there is a wedding ceremony taking place at the towns Hindu temple and the guests will be eating at Pramod’s restaurant, we will have the possibility to eat typical Keralian wedding food: Sadya.

The spread banana leaf in front of us was filled with, Choru, Cabbage Thoran, Mango Pickle, Kalan, and so much more. (Displayed in front of me in the picture!)

I am now sitting on the beautiful porch of my friends bungalow. It took me 30 steps to get here but I feel like I could fall asleep every moment. I am so full! The golden sunlight of the afternoon, coconut and banana palm trees and the blue-painted bungalow with wooden windows makes everything feel surreal. Am I in paradise? I could sit here all day long, just eventually walking the few steps to the beach or Thomas’s Chai shop, next to the bungalow.

20th November 2022

Due Pramod’s connections we are able to make a trip to the Munroe Island, quite spontaneously. We are boating through the dreamy backwaters by canoe. The destination seems offbeat of the common tourist spots and we get a low-price private tour. After some time we stop by an island and eat lunch at a local restaurant, which just offers freshly cached fish from the water. (- a pity for me as a vegetarian, but I get plenty of Tapioca, Sambar and Rice!)

24th November 2022

Time flew by and I am now finding myself sitting in The Hope House office, choosing pictures for this article and reminiscing the precious memories, I was gifted. I have to say it was quite hard to say goodbye to Kerala and my friend. Anyway I think I will definitely visit it again!

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