Yes I am only posting the experiences of my December 2013 holiday now, well in between my return and now life and family responsibilities took preference. During the month of February 2014 – I welcomed my very first grandchild-my precious granddaughter, who is now just over a month old. Every moment with her is a treasured and special moment.
2013 was a year filled with UPS & DOWNS – and my amazing family sent me on holiday to a “holistic retreat” in the South of India, it was a wonderful holiday and just the perfect end to a difficult year. Early on the 6th December 2013, my sons mother in law and I set of on this wonderful holiday-the journey was quite tiring (learnt and found out about a much easier and quicker route for next time).
We were on our way to Kovalam which is in the state of Kerala-fondly referred to as “Gods Own Country”-Kerala is located on the southern western tip of India – I could go on telling you about this place, but if this perks your interest, you will most certainly “Google Kerala” and you will be flooded with tons of incredible info on “Gods Own Country”. While planning this journey-the both of us had decided we did not want to see museums, temples and palaces—we just wanted to be “pampered” and pampered we were, at this amazing resort we went to.
We stayed at a 5star resort and received 5star treatment in every aspect of our stay there, and all this at a South African 3star price tag. The resort is on a cliff with the sea at the bottom-it is strewn with little cottages, some double story and some single, the grounds are beautiful and lush with hammocks and the most amazing seating areas for one to relax and a take in the beauty of the surrounds. The infinite pool looked over the sea, the yoga stage faced the sea, the restaurant was also sea facing
We were there for 6days, and not once did we have the urge to leave the resort and venture out and do the “tourist stuff”, however we did manage to pack in about 1/2days shopping- and oh my word the bargains – spices (saffron, vanilla pods, vanilla extract, and etc), fabrics, kitchen utensils and etc, etc. India is a shopper’s paradise – no matter what you looking to buy and even what you had no intention of buying.
However for us the “Ayurvedic Treatments, Yoga, Swimming, Walks and Amazing Food” is all that we needed to distress and feel rejuvenated. I also had a couple of cooking lessons thrown in – which for me was the ‘cherry on the top’. The food in the south of India is amazingly simple, fresh, healthy and oh so tasty. The very young, knowledgeable and talented chef at the resort created stunning vegetarian dishes for me-(& yes once he heard that I loved cooking and sharing my recipes-he went out of his way to create vegetarian, eggless, and gelatine free dishes for me)
I really think every so often we need to explore some sort of holistic holiday/pamper session for ourselves—this really does rejuvenate us and gives us the energy and inspiration to go about our daily jobs and life in general. Yes there are a number of Spas in South Africa and some of them are the very best, however they somehow do not cater for the vegetarian who would like to be pampered, and hence my decision to go to India. We consulted with an Ayurvedic doctor who then worked out an eating, massage and exercise plan for each of us and the eating plan was sent to the resorts kitchen and the chef then arranged to meet with us and discuss the various options available (no bland steamed veggies for the vegetarians), I was amazed at the variety that was available for vegetarians, Yes we had salads-but they were salads with a difference, they were sometimes warm or sometimes cold but they always packed in amazing flavour and texture. THEY CATER FOR NON VEGETARIANS AS WELL.
For me there was no question of choice—we were given a Western cuisine menu and an Indian cuisine menu—now all the western stuff I could have here in SA—but to be able to have the freshest of fresh IDLI, DOSA, UTHAPAM, PARATHAS, UPPMA and etc. served with SAMBHAR & CHUTNEYS for breakfast was like dining in heaven for me—I am sure by now you have realized that I am an Indian cuisine kind of person—don’t really like pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, steamed or roasted vegetables & etc. Our coffees were served with palm sugar and fresh coconut milk and the masala chai was the very best-made with coconut, milk, ginger and a wonderful blend of sweet spices.
The second destination of our holiday was Cochin, and the highlight of our time in Cochin was a day cruise on the “Backwaters”, now let me just tell you this was no luxury liner, but it was a wonderful experience and it was just the 2 of us and the staff-(we had decided we did not want to share with anyone)—oh yes we did have our own chef who prepared a very simple yet amazingly delicious meal for us, and while cruising along the waters we took in some amazing sights of rice paddies, churches, vendors on the banks selling lots of goodies, we docked on the side and a vendor selling fresh coconut came buy and asked how many coconuts we needed and our reply was 2-he shouted this out to a guy who was on top of the tree & the next thing we saw was 2 coconuts being thrown down-tops sliced of-straws placed in them and VOILA we had fresh coconut water to drink.
For those living and working on the banks of the Backwaters, their only way getting to the mainland is via public transport – and their mode of public transport, are the amazing liners that cruise at a good speed up and down the backwaters all day—kids going to school also travel on these liners.
For the third part of our holiday we were in Mumbai-home of Bollywood, cricket, street food, shopping & etc. In Mumbai you are exposed to everything-the slums and the extremely wealthy and yes we had front seat views of those very wealthy—we stayed at the JW Marriot in Mumbai, and I had been warned that this is where the rich and famous of Mumbai dine and meet for coffee—and yes we sat in the lobby watching the arrivals & departures of these rich & famous. We also shopped in Mumbai—clothes for my sons – the boys went onto the relevant websites—perused what was available, picked reference numbers, colours and sizes and messaged it to me—all I had to do was go to the shops – show them the messages and “Voila” shopping done – yes exceptional prices for the likes of Lacoste, Gant, Benetton &????
For me a holiday is all about relaxing, being pampered and eating food that you enjoy and this holiday ticked all of the above boxes for me!!!!