Kerala is described in our guidebook book as “India showing its gentle and relaxed side”and when we woke up this morning to the sound of exotic birds we agreed that sleeping under a mosquito net feels both romantic and adventurous and Kerala is everything we had hoped for.

Alleppey is the main hub for getting a houseboat and Simon decides to go out fairly early and try and book something. The boats all return to Alleppey around 10.30 and I’m pleased when he comes back at 11.30 having booked us a boat for 110000 rupees (120 pounds). This is for 24 hours and the prices have risen considerably since the last Lonely Planet edition. The fella tells Simon that there is a huge demand for boats and although there are over 400 in this area we had no option but to pay up in order to get a decent boat.

We spend the day quietly at Cherukara Nest; the kids do an hour or so of literacy and write a comparison of Indian and English culture concentrating on food and the landscape. I am reading a novel by John Grisham and am pleased to spend the afternoon sat on the veranda. It’s very indulgent to do nothing for such long periods and far more relaxing than a holiday where we are usually busy trying to have a great time. I always try my best to get a sexy tan when we are away but as we still have 5 months of hot places to go I have found I’m not so bothered!

We sit and have a beer with an Australian called Liz who tells us some interesting travel stories about her previous trips around South East Asia and decide to try and get an earlier dinner. We put our faith in an auto rickshaw driver by asking him to take us to a restaurant and as usual this turns out to be a mistake as he takes us to the most expensive place in town. We have a quick look at the menu but as it is a set curry meal and costs 660 rupees each we ask him to take us somewhere cheaper. We end up at The Indian Coffee House which is in a good location on the beachfront and our total bill comes to 208. Much better value!

Back at the Cherukara Nest we head for an early night. The houseboat is booked for 11.30 in the morning and we want to be up bright and breezy in order to have a great day.

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