30 travel bloggers from 21 countries on an enchanting journey across Kerala!” The bus that would help us explore one of the most exotic areas of India had this phrase written all over it. Yes, that’s right; we had a bus exclusively for our transportation, a bus that was meant to become our “home” for the next 2 weeks.

A pleasant surprise awaited us on our 1st day, as we began this journey with the Minister of Health of India welcoming us at Mascot Hotel and quite a few journalists taking brief interviews from all the bloggers, plus asking us to present our blogs. Until next morning we were on every newspaper and news website around the country! Wohoo!

We then had lunch at the hotel and prepared to hit the road to explore the city of Trivandrum for the very first time! (On food now; that’s a whole different and really, really “spicy” chapter – A separate post about it is on its way!)

So, Trivandrum was the first city I fully came in touch with in India. Some of its features?

  • Incredible heat
  • Dirty streets
  • Continuous loud sound of horn
  • Tuk-tuks (3-wheeled taxis) running around like crazy
  • Dresses full of colors
  • Shop signs -necessarily with the word “spices” on them
  • Intense smell of curry and cardamom
  • Cows and goats running loose in the middle of the street
  • Unbelievably soulful looks

I’ll stick to the last one as it was what draw my attention the most. Huge eyes, intense looks and shy smiles. People in India are pretty shy, low-key, willing to offer their help even when communication stands between them and a tourist/foreigner. They love vivid colors, drink a lot of tea, have at least 7 different types of bread (pie), love their families and are devoutly religious.

Having mentioned religion let me talk to you about the  Padmanabhaswamy Temple – the wealthiest temple of the world. It was one of the highlights of our tour and as our guide mentioned, the locals only understood its worth a few years ago – they prohibited entrance to anyone of other religion since then.

Several hours of heat and exhaustion later, my reward was the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen in years, as seen from the garden of the Uday Suites hotel at Kovalam Beach. I shouldn’t waste one more word on it; just look at the pictures! P.S. My 1st day at Kerala could sum up in one word; Pure happiness!