We can confirm that luxury actually means Luxury when applied to buses in India; we were supplied with a bottle of water, a blanket (as it was air conditioned) and a showing of the loudest and most confusing Bollywood film of all time. This made it quite difficult to sleep, but who needs to sleep on an 11 hour, sleeper coach anyway?
So, we made it to Delhi in one piece, and in style. Before going we had heard a lot of negative things from other travellers regarding getting scammed. With that in mind we only stayed one night, here are some of our Delhi highlights;
We didn’t get scammed! Unless you count an extortionately expensive meal, with sneaky hidden taxes. It actually only amounted to about £7.60 for the two of us, but compared to our usual £2.50 evening meal we were outraged! So outraged, that Jamie left a cutting review on Tripadvisor about the ordeal. (If you’re particularly keen on seeing how upset he was, you can find the review here; http://tinyurl.com/jpl77ee Vent, angry Englishman, vent). But never mind, a bar of chocolate for both of us and everything was once again right with the world.
We travelled round Delhi using the Metro, which is essentially an upgrade of the London underground, coming with air-conditioning and special women only zones. Security is strict going into each of the stations, with a quick pat down and not even a cheeky wink to go with it!
When looking for things to do and see in Delhi, we bypassed some of the major attractions in favour of more out the way options. One of these was the Lotus Temple, which unsurprisingly is a temple in the shape of a giant lotus flower. However our number one pick if going to Delhi has to be Lodhi Gardens. Interspersed amongst the well-tended plant life were some amazing tombs from the Mughal dynasty (think Persians sneaking over to India), a great place to take a stroll once the afternoon heat had dissipated a bit.
From Delhi we then moved on to Agra, taking our first train since arriving in India.
Being in Agra, our primary port of call was the Taj Mahal. We woke up at 5 in the morning for a stroll through some of the creepier streets leading towards the Taj, all in the hopes of catching the sunrise from inside the complex. Whilst tickets were only about £12 each, compared to the bargain price of 75p for Indian national the cost was extreme, but all worth it for a view of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. All around the complex there are little chipmunks scurrying up and down the trees, after a limited amount of thought we have renamed them ‘Humbug Squirrels’ (Pronounce Hum-Bug Sq-w-i-elle, where the W is a rolled R; Bloody Welsh!). We are confident this will catch on quickly…
After the Taj we were baked, so we took another stroll back through the same streets, which had miraculously transformed themselves in to some really quant backstreets, complete with pigs, cows and packs of roaming dogs. Whilst trying to convince us to get a lift, a local Tuk Tuk driver (one of many), commented that ‘Walking is bad for you’. He said it in complete earnest, and considering the sweltering temperatures he almost had us convinced.
Nap time, Take 20.
Dehydrated and sleepy we opted for a Tuk Tuk ride to Agra Fort. Half way through the journey we had a major blowout. This resulted in a quick kick of the tyre by the driver, before being transferred to another Tuk Tuk that was going past, and we were able to complete our journey with only a minute’s delay.
Agra fort was hugely impressive, due in no small part (pun definitely intended) to its gigantic scale. We were only able to view about half of the fort due to the other sections being utilised by the Indian army, and even that took some doing in the afternoon heat. The entire compound is built out of red sandstone, with some newer sections (still over 400 years old) featuring white marble, showing similarities between the Taj and Fort.
After a few days in Agra, we are now off to Jaipur, The Pink City. Whilst we are excited about our new destination, neither of us are that keen about the 5am train journey. Having said that, seen as we discovered a lizard in our bedroom recently, Jade can no longer be persuaded to stay for another night, I wonder why?
Once in Jaipur we plan to stay for a 3-4 days, to both relax and catch up on washing.
Until next time,
Jade & Jamie
P.S this is once again about a day late, due this time to laziness rather than internet issues.