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SUGGESTED ITINERARY - WEEK 2

DAY 7
After breakfast you may wish to walk through the villages on Vypin to see the Chinese fishing nets and prawn farms. Alternatively, with your driver, you may wish to visit Fort Kochi, an obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India.
The town was shaped by Portuguese, Dutch and latterly, British rules. The Jewish synagogue in Jewtown was built in the sixteenth century. It has hand painted willow-patterned floor tiles from China, an early clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs and Old Testament scrolls. Other places to visit are the Dutch Palace built in 1557 by the Portuguese and presented to the King Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, and the St.Francis church built in 1503, India's oldest European church.
The spice traders, handicraft stalls and the local markets are well worth a visit. Drive to Ernakulam to do a little shopping. In the evening see why it is called the 'Queen of the Arabian sea' (the sunset is spectacular). Return to Vypin for dinner and overnight accommodation.

DAY 8
Breakfast at homestay. Drive to Alleppey where a houseboat awaits to take you to the backwaters. A typical Kerala style lunch onboard. The backwaters are a network of lakes, canals, rivers and lagoons. Take plenty of pens. Children who come from poor households do not want money, only a pen to complete their education. Kerala has the highest literacy rate in India (98%). Travelling by houseboats along these canals and winding waterways could probably be the best part of your visit to Kerala. Stop off at sunset at safe moorings. Dinner is served before sunset and you have time to relax and have a romantic evening.

DAY 9
After breakfast on the houseboat you will continue cruising the backwaters to see riverside villages and markets and reach Kollam before noon. You will be met and transferred by car to the homestay at Kaipattoor. Visit Sasthankotta on the way. This vast fresh water lake surrounded by hills on three sides is the largest of its kind in Kerala.
The ancient Sastha Temple which lends its name to the town is an important pilgrim centre. This is where one can see monkeys literally charmed from the trees by a local herdsman. An elephant ride is arranged for the guests at Kaipattoor in the evening - a thrilling experience of course! Dinner will be served on your arrival at the homestay.

DAY 10 to 13
Today you will have earned the right to relax. You may wish to try an Ayurvedic massage to rejuvenate you. You may also wish to travel back to the 18th Century and try your hand at driving a bullock cart (No driving licence required). Some cultural programmes can be arranged in the evening.
After breakfast you will be driven to the Aqua Serene Resort where the clear, warm waters of the Arabian Sea wash the golden sands of Kerala. Many visitors take a three-day course of Ayurvedic massages. Here is the time to 'top up your tan' and basically laze to your heart's content.

DAY 14
Depending upon the time of your flight, you will be transferred to Trivandrum or Cochin for your journey home. Reflect on the two weeks you have taken, and like many others, will look forward to returning again to see.

/.. WEEK 1