March 11, 2009
The ride for the day 3 looked easy as the places along the coast were well plotted in my map. I had to take the highway initially but could find an alternate road soon. After making my exit from the city limits, I started looking out for a hotel for breakfast, which I found with ease. A simple breakfast with few idlis and Kadla tasted excellent and was offered at reasonable prices. It costed about Rs. 15 for a plate of Idlis (4 nos.) and a tea! Though, I regret not opting for the authentic Mallu breakfast of Puttu and Kadla. The conversation during the breakfast was made easy by the presence of a hotel staff who hailed from Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.
After riding through the village roads and passing by some beautiful backwaters and villages of Kerala, I stopped at Varkala beach. A visit to the Varkala beach was highly recommended by some of my friends. The beach was indeed magnificent with a huge cliff laden with coconut trees overlooking it. The beach also has a fresh water brook flowing from the cliff which can be used as a shower after a splash in the beach. It was a too tempting offer to resist. A bakery nearby offered to take care of my luggage for sometime. The next issue to tackle was the self-perceived hydrophobia in me. Extremely cautious, I chose a spot right under the eyes of lifesavers. The splash and the shower was much wanted to get a reprieve from the on-setting summer heat. The person running the bakery was kind enough not to charge any money to keep my baggage. I still impressed him by buying croissants and a cup of tea (the most expensive of the trip)!.
The star attraction of Varkala was the view of the beach and the sea from the top of the cliff. The beach looks more beautiful from the cliff than on the sands. The climb to the top of the cliff was tedious. On the way, I stopped for a lunch and some rest before continuing further. The view of the beach from the top of the cliff was worth the effort of the climb to the top of the cliff. I could not capture the best view with my camera. The landscape spanned beyond 180 degrees and visual can be best enjoyed on the place than through the lens.
The road from there to Kollam was alongside the backwaters until I connected back with the highway at Paravoor. I wanted to reach Kollam in time to watch the sunset. The delay at a railway gate for over 20 minutes dented my hopes badly, I eventually managed to catch a glimpse of the sunset at the Kollam beach.
The two beaches that I used to frequent then are the Marina and the Elliots beach in Chennai. The crowd in both these beaches has been disappointing, especially their lack of regard for cleanliness. In this aspect the beaches in Kerala are much better – less crowded and more clean (Not sure if both are always related).
I could find a decent room for that night near to the town’s market place. I took a stroll in the town’s marketplace around 9 PM. All the shops were closed sharply at 8:30 PM except for a few restaurants and of course, liquor shops! How I wish, the shops at T. Nagar follow the same routine! The dinner was at Padma’s café which served some south Indian tiffin and an excellent cup of coffee. Strangely, I could relate the hotel very closely to the ‘Boardless café of Malgudi’ in R.K.Narayan’s novels.
Thumba – Varkala, Kappil, Paravoor, Chattanoor- Kollam
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