From Alleppey we took an auto-rickshaw four hours south to Varkala. We emerged from the vehicle feeling cramped and shook to pieces. We calculated the journey to take two hours but I forgot that the rickshaws have a top speed of 40km/h, effectively doubling our journey time; a mistake I have vowed not to make again! Still the journey only cost us £16, and in a financial sense we emerged victorious, considering that the local taxis had been trying to charge us £30 for the same trip.

Varkala was a shift back to a beach town. Steep hills led from the cliff-side which was covered in a mass of busy restaurants and charming houses and huts, down to the beach which was clean and well enjoyed by both international and domestic tourists. We had been warned off going in the water by a few people, as apparently the sea can be quite treacherous to the uninitiated, with strong currents and rip tides causing many an unwary swimmer to come a cropper.

This village seemed well prepared for tourism and we enjoyed the cliff-side walks, stopping to look in the many jewellery and instrument shops where the locals showed off their assorted silver bands embedded with semi-precious stones and then their sitars and drums that they constructed right there on the floor of the shop.

We only had two days here as we had pre-booked a batch of onward journeys on the train, so whilst we move on today we have added Varkala to our list of potential Christmas candidates.