Thursday, August 7, 2014

Around India in 8 Days - Part 1

So, we've been traveling. Lots of traveling. Not quite "Around the World in 80 Days" traveling. But around India in 8 days is still pretty impressive. Right? So, get ready to be flooded by pictures. (But cool pictures, so it should be a good experience. I hope.)

We left Visakhapatnam (the city we live in) much to early for my liking on July 27th, and arrived in Delhi by midmorning. We headed to our hotel and then it was out to find food. I would like to add that the hotel had a closet with pug puppies. First, to find a pug in India is kind of odd. Secondly, to go sit on a couch in the lobby and hear squeaking, look over at  an open closet and see a pile of sleeping, squeaking puppies is awesome. The hotel may have been dirty and hot, but it had puppies. Not many hotels can say that. After getting a wee bit lost we found food. We had some McDonalds and then got thoroughly lost (see a theme here? We get lost a lot.), walked around for well over a few hours and then finally found the National Gandhi Museum.

The museum was amazing. I loved to see more about Gandhi's life and quotes. We were able to see one of the bullets that took his life. The whole museum was very simple and down to earth. I think Gandhi would have liked it a lot.

This puppy fell very much asleep on Stephen.

Trying to get un-lost

Building seen while being very lost

An old fort, also seen while lost. But seen from the back of a bicycle rickshaw.

Gandhi! "Whenever you are confronted with your opponent, conquer him with love."

After the Gandhi museum we went off to find the Lotus Temple. We found it quickly (yay!) and it was such a beautiful place. It was peaceful and the gardens were beautiful. The whole temple is built on lines of simplicity and is dedicated to all religions for meditation and prayer. It was peaceful inside, and we sat in there for about 20 minutes. I even snuck a picture inside!

One of my favorite people, Kendra, and myself.

Picture I snuck while inside of the ceiling. The whole temple is built like a lotus flower
about to bloom.

From here we went off to the local mall, which was gigantic, and ate some "American" fast food. (Hello McDonalds. Yet again.)

Next morning we all stopped at Starbucks and had delicious frozen drinks. Even if they did butcher our names. From there we went to Delhi Arch, where there was a ceremony going on honoring soldiers who had died in wars over the past 75-ish years. We arrived just in time for the end of the ceremony.

Stephen with the guards.
 After the ceremony, our group meandered at our own sweet will over the long grass strip between the arch and the presidential palace. We ate popsicles and did cartwheels and handstands and laid in the grass. It was so much fun to actually have GRASS (Sounds odd, I know. But really.)

That is the presidential palace Waaaaaaayyyy back there. They don't let you get close to it.
 After seeing the palace and other government buildings, we went to see the biggest mosque in India. Only problem was, they wouldn't let us American girls in. Others were going in, after they accepted this funny looking covers. But they didn't want to let us in. So we stayed out, while Stephen went in. It was a nice view though.

 Afterwards, it was time to go to the train station. So we walked. And we walked. And we got monsooned on, while we walked. And the streets were crazy, but we saw some nice things on the way. And eventually made it safe and sound, though dripping wet, to the train station.

We spent all night on the train. We were in first class, which mean A/C! (Miracle of miracles!) It wasn't so bad sleeping on the train. A little loud and jerky. You never really get into a deep sleep. The bathrooms are truly awful, and there is no hope of a shower. But it was a fun experience. And very, very early the next morning we found ourselves in Amritsar.

Amritsar is famous for one thing really, the Golden Temple. Which is a beautiful Shikh temple. Amristar borders Pakistan so it is an area of some unrest, but the temple was beautiful. And as tired as we were, we enjoyed the experience very much.

We saw this adorable little boy sleeping in line. He wasn't impressed with the Golden Temple.

After grabbing lunch we ran off to the train station for a 17 hour train ride across the Indian desert. It was as fun as it sounds.

Stay tuned for our adventures in Jaipur, Agra and Delhi (again)!