Anjengo/Anchuthengu and Varkala beach
or how even a poorly planned outing can turn out all right in the end!!
In a rare weekend that DH got off work, we set off shortly after sunrise for a coastal drive to a historic fort and to have some fun on the beach. As usual, I was the navigator and set the course for Anchuthengu fort - better known to us as the site of the first native resistance against the British in Kerala. I took the help of my Google Maps app to make a beeline to the sea coast from our place and then to proceed north along the coast. Accordingly, we reached the road and "coasted" at a leisurely pace, breathing in the sea air, glancing almost into the fresh fish baskets and enjoying it all when all of a sudden, we came to this:
Yeppppp, Google Maps omitted to tell me that a bridge is still undergoing construction. I got out of the car and headed towards the sand bank to see if there was another way to get across and discovered that we could - IF our car could transform into a hydroplane, that is. So I enjoyed the sea breeze for a little while more - while DH did a little fuming and venting in the car - and got back to my fallible Google Maps app again to find the shortest route to our destination. Thankfully, this time the app held up a good route without taking us all the way back to the NH by which way we should have gone at first. The roads were mostly narrow and charmingly rural with a couple of railway crossings thrown in, but it took us to Chirayinkeezhu and then on to Anchuthengu all right.
Once we got to the fort, we got to know that like all government-run tourist places, the fort too would open only at 10. Ahh, more time on the beach for us, went the kids. So we parked the car in front of a picturesque church and went to the golden sanded beach - only to be told by a bunch of kids who were playing there that no one bathed there because it was very deep at the spot and the waves were pretty savage!!! Our kids were devastated and DH and I were discussing alternatives when I started noticing the helpful kids. They were thrusting their hands into holes in the sand and were coming up with the likes of these:
DH asked how much they got for such huge crabs. "Oh no, we sell only the crabs that are caught from the sea, these are for playing with" came the charming reply. Ok, I guess that even kids who don't have umpteen toys manage to find playthings of their own. I couldn't resist snapping a few pics and the boys were more than willing to pose. Our kids were curious to see what pictures I was taking, so they came up. One look at the crabs and our elder son quietly moved away a few paces as befitted a brave 7-year-old. Our younger one had no such qualms and ran away screaming lustily in a high-pitched voice. (I won't say "like a girl" because THIS girl did not flinch when the kids with the crabs came behind me to see their pictures on our camera and the huge pincers waved menacingly a couple of inches away from my neck!!!) We watched eagerly as they peeked into holes and put their hands in to catch big crabs. We certainly declined their polite invitations to try our hand at catching the crabs!
The kids were very friendly and invited us to come over at Christmas and New Year when "lots of people gather on the shore and have fun."
When the kids left, we decided to go an additional 13 kms to the beach at Varkala. This time we hugged the coast again and had a marvelous coastal drive that opened up lovely views everywhere and finally the boys had their much awaited dip.
What amazed me is the intrepidity our younger one showed in lying like that for the waves to lap him up. At 6 months of age, he used to cry just watching the waves roll over the beach. Even last October, during our visit to Kanyakumari, he came away soon after just tasting the salt water on two occasions. This was certainly a first. After an hour and a half of playing in the waves, he came away all scratched and bleeding, but still not having had enough!
We took the same scenic route back to Anchuthengu and at last got inside the fort - not much to see except a square of beautiful landscape
We would have liked to catch the view from the top of the lighthouse right next to the fort...
But that is open to visitors only after 3 pm. But anyway, we had had a lovely time at the beach AND visited a place of historical significance and were content. This time, we went back home the CORRECT way!
Wanted to leave you with this picture that I took on Varkala beach. I had fun chasing a few crabs. This one is actually very tiny, only about 3 inches or so across and obviously thought that it blended in well with its background (which it actually did). I have cropped the picture so that you can view the details.
Do get past the creepy, red-pupil eyes (Crabs can look backwards too!?!?!)! Is it just me or can you too see a fantastic face on the shell???