Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wandering around Jew Town in Cochin.

There are many wonderful shops put there specially to tempt ME!

They are filled with beautiful things just waiting to be snapped up. Clothes, quilts, carpets .....just lovely, lovely stuff.
More silk!

Charming salesman wearing tea cosy!

Stunning silk!
A divine little  jewelled carpet.

Enough to drive my husband crazy!
Tree of life design.

I Just LOVE this piece.
Fun things to buy for gifts.

There is no doubt that Cochin is the perfect place to do some serious shopping or just to feast your eyes!!

Jew Town.

A visit to Jew Town in Cochin is an absolute must. To get there we take a tuk tuk and enjoy winding down the narrow streets dodging the big trucks unloading or loading  of goods. This is where the real business takes place. Cochin was the centre of the Spice trade for India and is still very busy!

The Paradesi (meaning foreigners)Synagogue was built in 1568 to serve the needs of the early traders who settled in this area. Most of the Jewish settlers have moved on or converted but there are reputed to be three Jews living in the area. I have tried to get into the Synagogue three times without any success however it is reputed to be lovely inside with a floor created from Chinese tiles.
The area is filled with wonderful antique shops where one is welcome to spend time browsing. One of the"best buys" for us were door knobs which we installed on our Toti flat. A lovely reminder of a lovely place!

Jew Town

and the old and not so colourful.

The narrow winding roads are lined with buildings which have bright, colourful doors and windows to add to the charm of the area.

Closet Drinkers.

It is no secret that come time for the sun to go down, Warren and I enjoy a little something to celebrate our good day. We had run out of our normal tipple. The next best thing to drink is beer and even that is not so easy to purchase. When asked, the fellow working at the Homestay told us where to purchase some supplies, however as the hotel does not have a liquor license it is illegal to have any on the premises. As for keeping it cold in the fridge .....well you can imagine.
 So off Warren goes off and gets supplies and then has to wrap it up and disguise it,  sneak it into the communal fridge so we can have some lovely cold beer later on.
When ready we pack a bottle into our kit bag and find a quiet spot and pour the beer into our yellow plastic glasses and then hide all evidence.

 The first night we took our drinks down to the beach and got a bit nervous when anyone got too close. Sitting on the promenade is the only place you can find a lovely gentle breeze and we need it after a HOT day of exploring.

 One evening we got a bit braver and took chairs outside so we could watch the boys at play. When chatting to a bunch of boys Warren was told that one of the fellows plays hockey for Kerala, so Coach spent a bit of time sharing a few handy tips.

Other folk just chill wherever they find a comfortable spot!
I think I need to write to the Lord mayor of Cochin and tell him that his city is in danger of losing its reputation for being the cleanest city in

If you happen to get there during tea time there may not be any place to sit and watch the ancient fishing nets.

 Our Homestay is very close to  the famous St Francis Church. The church was originally erected by the Portuguese in 1510, was built of wood and dedicated to St Antonio the patron saint of Portugal. The present brick structure was built in 1546.  Vasco da Gama was buried  in the cemetry here. Fourteen years later his body was taken to Portugal for reburial.

The beautiful floor of the church.
St Francis Church
Many tourists come by every day however the exterior of the church is in desperate need of a facelift.

 I was lucky to attend a service there on Good Friday. The singing was beautiful although I did not understand much as the service was conducted in Malayolam. There are services in English if you time it right. Kerala and more especially Cochin is a religiously active place and there is tremendous co operation between the different groups. our hotelier also went to church despite being a Hindu as he went to a Catholic school and just likes to participate in the religious ceremonies. There were many ceremonies and parades in the streets during Holy week.It was a good time to be in Cochin.

Another fascinating tourist sight are the Chinese cantilever  fishing nets.

They were originally built between 1350 and 1450. They set up along the beach near the harbour and now they are used to keep tourists happy and to make money!