KOCHI:For Manuel Sonnen and his partner Luisa Kuan, the few hours they spent in Kochi on Sunday were not enough to fully explore the city.
“Same was the situation when we visited Goa and Mumbai, where we got only one day each for sightseeing. In Kochi, we got only half a day. In India, we see people and cultural diversity everywhere, something that cannot be explored during short visits,” said Manuel.
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The twenty-something youth is a civil engineer hailing from South West Germany, where Luisa is a student. The duo was part of the group of tourists who arrived in the city on Sunday by cruise ship AIDAbella - the largest inbound tourist group visiting the State this year.
It was the maiden voyage of the German cruise liner, carrying more than 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members. The visitors toured various places in and around Kochi in different groups, including Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Bolgatty Palace, Jew Town, Kumbalangi, Vaikom and Alappuzha. Manuel and Luisa were part of the group that visited Fort Kochi and Mattancherry.
Apart from the 34 groups that visited Kochi, two other groups joined with AIDAbella here in the evening, after visiting Delhi and Agra.
Among the passengers of the ship, 1,274 tourists embarked on sightseeing tours on Sunday morning and returned to the ship by noon. “As many as 1,370 of the passengers will return to their home countries from Kochi, while the remaining passengers will continue sailing to Colombo, the next destination.
In addition, 1,000 other passengers who have arrived in Kochi in three charted flights will also join the cruise,” said Renjith B, operations manager at Lotus DMC, the tour agent for AIDAbella in India and Sri Lanka.