I hope everyone had nice holiday season. We spent x-mas in Fort Kochi and spent New Year's in Varkala where we are now. But let's back it up...
While we were in Kochi, we took an overnight trip to the Munnar tea plantations high up in the mountains. The drive is a good four hours and on the way up we stopped at an elephant training center. I was hoping this would be some sort of an elephant sanctuary where they are lovingly cared for, but sadly this was not really the case. It seemed this was a center to train elephants for forestry work. We watched them get bathed, chained at the feet, as they absorbed much yelling.
The plantations fill the mountainside and it’s really an incredible sight. The pictures don’t do it justice. I was hoping we’d stop and get lost in the mazes of the plantations but instead we ended up at a tea museum which was lackluster and underwhelming. You receive complimentary tea which I was hoping was a tea from the area, but in fact it was a milk tea out of a cappuccino-like machine. What??? We are surrounded by tea at a tea museum and they are serving mass produced tea that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was from some mix/powder. Disappointing.
The following day we stopped by some other tourist spots (aka shop stalls ready to haggle you) and then headed back to Kochi. Overall I’d say the tour itself was a bit disappointing, but the tea plantations are quite impressive and wished the tour included a more intimate look at the plantations.