The “Queen of the Arabian Sea” seemed “aptly nicknamed. We enjoyed this city much more than Goa and Mangalore. The featured areas (and our docking point) are on islands off the mainland and everything we wanted to see looked fairly close together.
The two of us walked from the boat to a nearby pier and caught a local ferry from Willingdon Island to Fort Cochin area. We’d planned to just walk but soon realized that the map was deceptive. So, we availed ourselves of the services of a tuk-tuk driver, Babu, and he taxied us from place to place.
The oldest church in India is Cochin’s St. Francis, built in 1503, it has very little ornamentation. Theres more evidence of Vasco da Gama here but, this time, it’s his original grave. His bones were actually shipped to Lisbon 20 yrs or so after he died but the “grave” remains a sacred place.
By contrast, the gothic-styled Santa Cruz Basilica, was rebuilt in 1905 after it was destroyed by the British and it features some large frescoes and murals. One, high above the alter area, features the Last Supper.
We were able to walk right into Dhobi Khana, Cochin’s municipal laundry. I felt awfully like a voyeur but it was soon obvious that they were very used to tourists (and smart enough to have a donation box). One old man was slapping the clothes and laughing away – I took a video but, unfortunately, can’t attach it while travelling.
As Tony said, though, the material can’t last long with regular beatings on rough concrete!
Babu also took us to see the ancient Chinese fishing nets that are still in service (although with paltry hauls) on the beachfront. As everywhere else in India, the water is filthy and both it and the beach itself are littered with garbage. So sad…it could be beautiful. Ironically, every time we see a sign urging people to stop littering, the area around it is a mess!