Ok I'll start off with a slight caveat - I'm not including my time doing safari in the jungle at Kanha here, but I was with friends then so let's just say Alleppey beach has been my favourite place in India so far while travelling solo.
If you've been following my journey so far, either here on my blog or over on my YouTube channel, you'll know that large parts of my time have been quite difficult, or at least not gone quite how I had imagined. I arrived in Kochi thinking there would be plenty in the City to do, but then realised there wasn't. (Although I did enjoy photographing the Chinese fishing nets).
I then travelled to Munnar, a town in the hills surrounded by tea plantations, lush greenery and waterfalls. After the noise and chaos of Kochi I was looking forward to getting back to nature, getting some peace and quite and doing some landscape photography. Instead I discovered that the hills were somehow strangely noisy and I missed out on most of the sights I wanted to see as the Tuk Tuk driver I had hired to take me to all the sights and viewpoints drove past most things, instead choosing to take me along to a random wedding that was taking place so that the bride and groom could have their photo taken with me.
I was hugely relived then when I arrived at my next stop in Kerala, Alleppey and found somewhere quiet, relaxing, full of good vibes and basically just full of friends and family having fun and enjoying themselves on the beach, chasing waves.
Everyone on the beach was so happy and in such a good mood, people were saying hello, it really was a good atmosphere and just watching people have so much fun with their friends and family and just playing and having fun, it was hard not to like the place.
This guy in particular kept me very entertained and gave me a right good laugh. He spent so long just sitting in the water, sometimes quite deep and just allowed himself to get battered by the waves. He really was just loving life and proving that you're never too old just to act like a kid sometimes and enjoy yourself without any care in the world. I was in hysterics watching him and he also gave me the opportunity to take some great photos.
I took a break from the beach and walked to the nearby lighthouse, it was extremely busy and although the views from the top were nice, I spent more time waiting to get up and back down again then I did actually admiring the view at the top.
You can see just how busy the lighthouse was and how difficult it was to get up and back down again, tighly squeezing past people trying to get the other direction, in my video from Alleppey at the top of this page.
I returned to the beach after finally getting down the lighthouse, just in time for sunset. By now the crowds had really gathered on the beach, everyone wanting to view the sun set over the horizon.
Earlier on in the day I had found the remains of an old pier which I had hoped to photograph during sunset. My plan was to put my camera on my tripod and use an ND filter to smooth out the water and any clouds that might be in the sky and take quite a minimalistic photo of the remains. When I returned to the beach however and saw the crowds that had getherd, particularly around the pier remains, I knew that simply wouldn't be possible. So instead I had to improvise and just do the best I could with the people in my frame too.
After things not going quite the way I had wanted so far in Kerala, this day was exactly what I needed. I had a great time watching people enjoy themselves on the beach and photographing that. I'd finally found somewhere chilled and relaxing and next up I would be taking a boat ride along Kerala's famous and beautiful backwaters.
I was now feeling much more optimistic about my remaining time in Kerala...
That optimism and excitement was about to be cut short however....