Our next stop, Alleppey, is known as the Venice of India due to its location on canals. Well I’ve been to Venice and I would have to say the similarities end there. Alleppey is one of the gateways to Keralas famous backwaters and many people use it as transit stop before heading off on a rice barge houseboat. We were no different and as soon as we arrived planned our house boat to depart as soon as possible. The rest of the day was spent wandering the canals and watching another sunset from the beach. Alleppey was a nice town but we were glad we were heading off the next day.
We were directed to our boat, Baselel, at around midday and were pleased to find it had a clean roomy bedroom, a sundeck and comfy couch chairs on the lower deck that we could relax on. We set of soon after and as we sipped our welcome lemonade drinks we gazed out the side of our boat at the many other rice barges along the way. No two are the same with some the size of huge floating palaces or some smaller like ours. There were modern boats with flatscreen tv’s and satellite dishes and others that were more traditional. We even saw a couple in the process of being made. When I could tear my eyes from the other boats and looked at the scenery I as treated to swaying palmtrees, rice fields and little villages tucked behind the canal walls. We saw fishermen in their canoes, women cleaning clothes against the rocks and young kids swimming in the shallows. Everytime we passed another boat everyone would wave and shout hello. There was so much to look at I didn’t realise we had already been going for two hours when we stopped for lunch.
Three meals were included in our package and as we were served up a feast we were told that it was all local produce. The fish was caught from the lake we had just crossed and the rice was from the fields behind us. The food was fresh and tasty and I am getting more and more used to eating seafood. We were absolutely stuffed at the end of it and were thankful that all we had to do was spend the rest of the afternoon lazing around.
Later in the day we had the option of stopping at a local fish market to pick out our own fresh produce for them to cook. The ‘market’ was actually a
shack on the side of the canals but when we asked to see some prawns we were shocked. The owner picked up what could only be described as a medium sized lobster to show us an example of a king prawn. I’m not even exaggerating. We opted for getting eight or so smaller king prawns (which were definitely king size) to have cooked with our dinner.
Not long after we stopped it was time to dock and as we pulled up to the side of a canal we watched the sunset from our top sun deck. It was cool and breezy up there and we spent dusk just chatting and reading in the breeze. Unfortunately after the sun went down there wasn’t too much to do except eat our dinner, read and relax as we tried fight off the bugs attracted to the lights. This would have to be the only downside of the experience as we spent our evening a little bored after so much relaxing. Its a weird thing to complain about I know, but when you can’t really get off the boat and explore there isn’t much else to do!
The next morning we set off early to make it back to Alleppey. Once we were sailing again we thought we could have done another day since it was so much fun and we were a bit bummed it was all over too quickly. We had a great time on our house boat with our friendly and helpful crew and I can see why it is one of the most popular things to do and the experience is near the top of the favourites list!