19 October – 2 December
Places visited: Delhi, Varansi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Goa, Hampi
Most favourite place:
Charlie: I’m guessing me and Lisa are gonna go the same here, Varanasi. It was somewhere I had to see and it didn’t disappoint. The history and culture of the city is immense, all engrained into the unmapped alleyways and streets, along with the occasional ginormous cow and cheese shop! We also met a few really cool people to make it special too! Udaipur being a close joint second with Cola Beach!
Lisa: Hold the phone everyone – it finally isn’t a beach town! Varanasi is 100% my favourite place. It was completely hectic but had this charm about it. I loved our morning on the rooftop watching the sunrise and that at 5pm every day residents all over went on the rooftops to fly kites. Looking out at the Ganges to one side of us and then 5000 kites flying in the air on the other side was so special!
Least favourite place:
Charlie: This is tough because everywhere is so different and unique in its own ways, for the positive and negative. I’d say Jodhpur. The blue city isn’t as blue as they say, and aside from the Fort and a couple of walks around the city, there wasn’t much there in my interests. The Fort is amazing though! We also spent Diwali here which made a memorable evening watching the fireworks from our roof top over the Fort!
Lisa: I really didn’t think much of Agra. It’s of course worth the visit for the Taj Mahal and the Fort but we just spent our free time at our hostel otherwise cause the rest of Agra really didn’t have a lot to offer. We only spent a night there so we could do the sunrise at the Taj Mahal but I understand why some people just make it a day trip.
Most favourite dish:
Charlie: I struggled to eat curry and bread/rice every day here as it’s so rich so I mixed in some western and Asian alternatives along the way but Indian food wise, it’s the butter chicken masala with roti or parantha.
Lisa: They have indo-Chinese here and whilst I wasn’t crazy on most of it the chilli garlic potatoes are amazing! For an authentic Indian dish though I really liked the Kadai curries!
Charlie: There’s been a lot of really cool experiences along the way and it’s tough to pick one out of the bag. The River tour of the Ganges in Varanasi was great, riding our scooter to Cola beach and jumping into the cold river by the ocean was fun too. There’s so many! Taj Mahal at sunrise, Sunsets over the Ganges, Kayaking in Palolem, cycling around Hampi. One of those!
Lisa: The kite flying in Varanasi whilst sipping on chai on the rooftop (as above). Even though it happened everyday, each time it gave Charlie and I that ‘life moment’ where all the saving and planning to prepare for this trip was worth it to be in this moment!
Charlie: The airports! I hate airports anywhere globally as it is, I hate the trapped feeling and I’m impatient. India adds 18 million levels of security to contend with. Scanning the bag on entry, on check in, in security and having your ticket checked every 10 metres at random, pointless locations throughout! It was something I dreaded and something I won’t miss!
Lisa: The demonetisation! 100% was the worst experience just because it massively affected our plans and our trip but even still I’ve enjoyed every minute of it none the less (minus the hours spent at ATMs).
Something you will miss:
Charlie: Okay this is a bit strange but in northern India especially, we seemed to get a lot of attention. We’d get waved at my children constantly, having adults and even entire families coming up and asking for a photo with us made me feel famous. A real ego boost somehow! It could happen 10 times a day and still didn’t feel like an inconvenience. I’m kind of a big deal in India I guess!
Lisa: I will miss the variety of India, each place we went to was different from the other, it’s crazy how much one country can have so much contrast! Arriving at a new place really gave us a heightened level of excitement to explore each place, while it was still very much India it didn’t feel samey at all.