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To Kerala, with love

Spanish travel writer Angel Martinez Bermejo, who was in the city recently, described Kerala as the most interesting place in the world...


ANGEL MARTINEZ Bermejo visits God's own country every three years. He is among the six-member team selected by the National Geographic channel for the Nicobar island expedition.

Says Bermejo: "It's culture that calls me to Kerala."

For this 43-year-old Spanish travel writer, Kerala is a treasure house of interesting, unexplored stories. Bermejo has travelled to some 90 countries across the world during his two decade old career as a travel writer. It was in 1997 that he first visited the State. And it was love at first sight.

"Kerala tops the list of the most interesting places in the world," says Bermejo.

Though Bermejo has his degree in Anthropology, he is more interested in places than in people. "I like places with historical importance," he says. Fort Kochi interests him the most as he feels that the Queen of the Arabian Sea has so much to tell the student of history.

The traditional art forms, martial arts and rituals of Kerala fascinate him. Unlike ordinary tourists, Bermejo wants to explore Kerala and tell Europe a little more than what they usually listen to. "The entire Europe sees India as a poor country, full of beggars and illiterate people. But we know that Kerala is different," he says.

Bermejo appreciates the Government's ban on smoking in public places. "I'm not interested in the financial success of people. What impresses me is that everybody on the streets here read the newspaper, which is very unusual in a developing country with very little per capita income," he says.

A well-known name in the travel industry, Bermejo has authored many travelogues and travel guides in Spanish. The Fodor has translated some of his books, including a travel guide on Cuba, to English and later to Portuguese. Kerala is so special a place for him that when El Pais, the number one newspaper in Spain, asked him to write a book on 50 interesting places in the world, he chose Kerala to top the list.

PRASHANSA ALKESH

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