Kochi is a strange and beautiful city. The bustling seaside port has survived Portuguese, Dutch and British civilization, all of which left lasting impressions. Portuguese architecture survives throughout the city, while Holland left its mark on the spice trade: Kochi's wealthiest period was due to the cardamom, pepper, spices and drugs sold by the Dutch.
I spent a few days wandering through the old canals and spice markets, which offer bins of cardamom, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and honey. The churches and graveyards are lovely, and I was able to visit the old Dutch cemetery, which is usually off-limits to tourists. The secret? You have to visit St. Francis's church (a few blocks from the cemetery) and ask for the key from one of the priests. You might have to talk them into it, but it's worth the effort: at almost 300 years old, the Dutch cemetery is the oldest European graveyard in India.