The logistics of travelling with two under fives is surprisingly simple. Our toddlers have now reached the grand old age of 3 & 4 - we've been travelling with them for 18 months now; they are (thankfully and finally) both out of nappies, yet still small enough to sit on our knees. They eat pretty much anything (unspicy) when they're in the right mood and they sleep wherever we squeeze in their tents so in terms of planning we don't really need to consider anything more than if it were just the two of us. But that all was about to change with the very welcome arrival of three families from home. The GBs, the Davies and the London Newitts were all set to descend on Kerala meaning our small family of four had rapidly morphed into a swarm of 18!
We had two weeks of fun adventures ahead and despite an ominous start - we woke on the morning of their arrival to the news of a statewide transport strike - the fortnight went off without a hitch, well there was the two trips to hospital but more on that later!! At least no-one had to walk from the airport, although they did face a death defying race against time in taxis trying to deposit them to the hotel before the strike was set to start at 6am.
We met in Varkala, as good a place as any to begin a tour of ‘God's Own Country’, especially since the new Keralan state ruling means outside of Varkala it is pretty hard to buy a beer anywhere. Not so in Varkala though, normal state rules don't seem to apply.
We spent three days on Odayam beach just 2km north of the main clifftop strip at Varkala. Waking up to the sound of the waves pounding mere metres from the door and looking out through the coconut palms to the warm seas was heavenly. We had Odayam beach almost to ourselves; in our annex we had a large garden strewn with hammocks which made a great late night hangout for the adults to unwind and the beach in front was like our private beach to get thrashed around in the waves.
Mornings of yoga, afternoons of body boarding, and evenings of fine seafood were not so hard to get used to. Throw in some cooking classes, henna tattoos and some serious souvenir shopping and you had the makings of an excellent start to a great holiday. We even had dolphins swimming by one morning as we sat on the beach eating breakfast. Sublime!
April in Southern India is hot and sweaty, air con is definitely recommended, most days it must have been late 30’s so the sea breeze was a godsend as was the odd thunderstorm which also made for a great natural fireworks display.
Watched from the (safety?) of the clifftop, the almost nightly belligerent storms were quite something; fork lightening assaulted the sea, amongst the lights of the hundreds of fishing boats. The storms were exhilarating to witness from land, but we were all grateful we weren't out there. One strike seemed so close to the boats that it drew a gasp of horror from the clifftop voyeurs. A small reminder that even in the laid back, easy going Southern state of Kerala, life can be harsh.
From Varkala, we headed north up the coast 50km to Kollam, a few rode in AC comfort by taxi with the mountain of bags, whilst the rest of us raced them by tuktuk and train. The intrepid train travellers rode in no style and nothing like comfort, apart from the kids who got lucky enough to sit up on the luggage racks. For those unlucky ones left stood by the toilets the ride was less than pleasant, a stomach turning, pallor inducing, endurance test that was possibly to have lasting consequences over the next few days. Cue the arrival of the infamous Delhi belly.
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Kelly and Mikey (but mostly Kelly). We sold up in the UK to travel with our two littluns for a year or so. If you want to know more click the about us!