Kochi (Cochin), India

2019 HAL World Cruise

Friday, March 29, 2019

Day 1 of 3

Today, we begin our adventure to the Taj Mahal!  We booked the 3-day “Incredible India-Taj Mahal Overland Tour” from Cochin to Mumbai.  Thus, upon arrival, we immediately leave the ship and loose the opportunity to see anything of Cochin itself!!!  This happens to be a major city with a population of over 2 million.  It’s a financial hub with a bustling commercial port and has become one of the major tourist destinations in India.

More than 600 years ago the Cochin merchants began trading in spices with the Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabs.  They prospered.  Portugal was the first to establish a base in Cochin in the 1500s.  They were followed by the Dutch and English.  But the foundations of modern Cochin started just after the completion of the Suez Canal.  Sir Robert Bristow, a senior Navy Engineer, spear-headed the creation of the largest man-made island in the country (Willington Island where the MS Amsterdam is now docked) to house a new port.  It’s a shame, but we won’t see any of it.

 

Instead, let me tell you about our day getting to New Delhi:

1 (640x359)
We arrived in Cochin, India early Friday morning, about an hour ahead of schedule. The forecast was for 92 degrees and at 7:00 am it was already hot, humid and hazy.
2 (640x359)
We assembled for our excursion and received wrist bands that we will wear for the next three days. Those of you who have cruised with children will be reminded of: “In case of an emergency, your child will be brought to you!” Yup, same bands!!
We left the ship to process through immigration.
We left the ship to process through immigration.
4 (640x360)
After a face-to-face immigration procedure, we are released and head out to the buses for the 1 1/2 hour drive to the airport.
The city was just beginning the day as we departed the port.
The city was just beginning the day as we departed the port.
And we joined the rush hour traffic.
And we joined the rush hour traffic.
7 (640x341)
Spotted this statue in a roundabout. I don’t know if it’s Gandhi, but I hoped it was!!!
This is an office building.  What an interesting design!
This is an office building. What an interesting design!
As we approach the airport, hotels start popping up!
As we approach the airport, hotels start popping up!
We pass over the Periyar River.
We pass over the Periyar River.
11 (640x359)
And we were enchanted with the fishing nets! There are hundreds of them all along the river.
These fishing nets are an iconic symbol of Cochin.
These fishing nets are an iconic symbol of Cochin.
Finally, we arrive at the Cochin International Airport.
Finally, we arrive at the Cochin International Airport.
14 (640x343)
And we’re off to New Delhi! It’s a 4 1/2 hour flight on IndiGo Air with a stop in Hyderabad. We flew aboard an Airbus A320 and ate “cup of soup” for lunch, (really–add hot water, steep for 3 minutes on the tray table, and eat)!!!!
15 (640x360)
We arrive at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport and deplane. It’s a short bus ride to the terminal to collect our checked bags.
16 (640x447)
The adventure still awaits as we are only going to the hotel. Tomorrow, we will go to Agra and tour the Taj Mahal.
So, off we go right into the heart of rush hour traffic on a Friday evening.
So, off we go right into the heart of rush hour traffic on a Friday evening.
18 (640x360)
Our hotel is located in the diplomatic enclave. It’s an expensive neighborhood filled with embassies and the private homes of diplomat officials.
This looks like an embassy.
This looks like an embassy.
Finally, we arrive at the Taj Palace Hotel.
Finally, we arrive at the Taj Palace Hotel.
This is a lovely 5-star hotel with truly gracious service.
This is a lovely 5-star hotel with truly gracious service.
A quick stop in the cafe for a light dinner.
A quick stop in the cafe for a light dinner.
Chicken, pasta, noodles, rice, and vegies.  Very good!
Chicken, pasta, noodles, rice, and veggies. Very good!
Wine and bottled water included.
Wine and bottled water included.
And then it's time to call it a night.  Tomorrow, the adventure continues.
And then it’s time to call it a night. Tomorrow, the adventure continues.

 

Next, we travel to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s