Not sure if I can keep up with the amount that I’ve managed to write in the last couple of days. Neither of us can quite believe that we’ve only been here three days. We are trying to pace ourselves, but it’s hard to get out of the holiday frame of mind where we try to fit as much into a day as possible. We have to keep going for a long while yet.
Escaping Delhi has been both of our favourite parts so far, even if it did involve a 4am wakeup to catch our train. New Delhi Station was only slightly less crazy this morning, and an old ex-pat British guy took pity on us trying to figure out the stations and pointed us in the right direction. Despite the scammers there are plenty of Indians and other foreigners who are willing to help out and not ask ’10 rupees’ in return.
It was only once we were on the train and reading our complimentary newspapers and drinking our first round of tea that we found out about the flooding in Delhi yesterday, which might account for some of the extra drama at the station on our first visit – some trains were delayed by 11+ hours. We were pretty lucky to get out only ten minutes late.
To ease us into the whole Indian railway system gently I had booked us executive seats which had masses of space for our bags and leg room, although poor Rob got stuck with a kicker behind him. The price of the tickets also included a five course breakfast! Constant streams of tea and biscuits, cereals and mysterious sausage shaped things were brought out during the four hour journey. I managed to try a little bit of everything, although Rob was not feeling great, most likely from the early hour.
The journey was relatively uneventful, although there was a sudden slamming of the brakes, at which point a load of men jumped off the train to stare at something one carriage back. No idea what happened, but we were on our way pretty quickly. Nobody seemed at all bothered so I guess that’s just a quirk of the system. We both braved the train’s toilets which were not that different from in the UK, apart from an extra (as in not part of the design) hole in the ground which you had to step over.
Our hotel in Jaipur is so much better than our last! We are staying at the Sunder Palace, and our room has two seating areas and actual sheets on the bed! The whole place is covered in intricate hand-painted designs, and the rooftop restaurant has actual views of the city! Rob is definitely happier here. It’s not that we didn’t like Delhi, but it was hard to work to like it.
We headed to Hawa Mahal, The Palace of the Winds after some lunch. It was beautiful and we had a brilliant tour guide, who was very patient with the flakiest redhead in the city. The monsoon seems to be finishing and the sun was so much stronger today, so he kept finding me little areas of shade to stand in while he explained the history of the building. It was built for a Maharaja’s 12 wives to view the activity of the city, without being seen, which was forbidden. There were hundreds of tiny windows looking out around the old city, and it had amazing views of Jantar Mantar and the City Palace where we are hoping to go tomorrow.
Unfortunately that was all the sun I could handle and we had to head back to the hotel for a break. Rob would like me to say that I fell asleep and was a little bit grumpy when woken up an hour later, but I’m sure he’s exaggerating.
Feeling a little better we headed out to the Peacock Rooftop Restaurant (LP) around the corner and had an amazing meal, surrounded by about ten other couples each clutching their Lonely Planets in various languages. A little bit surreal, but the food and views were brilliant and we both agreed that this is how we had pictured our time in India to be. Happy bunnies.
Nic & Rob x