From the Kumarakom area my wife and I drove down to Fort Kochi for the next leg of our holiday. I enjoy travelling through Kerala. The landscape is always lush and green, and there is so much to see regardless of which part of Kerala one is in. But this time the drive was not as pleasant as I had hoped it would be. Some major pipe laying project was in progress and the road was in very poor shape for most of the distance.
When I was a teenager, and even into my mid-twenties, I used to visit Fort Kochi at least once or twice a year. Since I used to live only a few miles away across the backwaters, these were day trips. I recall that there were very few hotels in the area and it was difficult in those days to get food to my taste over there. That was not the case a few miles away at Ernakulam. This was about 35 years ago. Since then Fort Kochi has transformed itself into a tourist destination with plenty of hotels and cafes.
We stayed at The Old Harbour Hotel, a small but exquisitely furnished hotel, very close to the waterfront. This building was originally built by the Dutch and used as a warehouse. Later it passed into the hands of the British and was used as a tea auction house and also as a residence. Recently it was bought by an Indian and converted into the present hotel with the help of a Dutch architect. My friend, Mohan Pulimood was involved in the project, and it was he who recommended the hotel to me. I am glad I took his advice.