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the deserts, fancy castles and bright colours of Rhajasthan

So after the first few days in India we slightly got used to the constant input, staring, intermediate grabbings and screaming kids and we …especially I started to like it. It has some good and some bad sites and if you try and blend out the bad or difficult habbits it becomes a cool and just so different country to every other place I have ever seen before. As much as we had been prepared for it and expected what it was going to be like as much of a shock it still was. “In your face” is probably the only way how to describe it. In Udaipur we found another nice Rhajasthani town …with obviously a huge castle that’s not to be missed and a beautiful but overpriced city palace. We came there being even more excited as one of the first James Bond flicks was filmed here on an Island hotel right in the middle of the lake. (We even had a little glance at the hotel prices as a stay there sounded like a great idea but the price put us off quickly enough...we d rather spend more money on curries than beds ;)). Still we had a good hotel with one of another 100 rooftop terraces and a chilled day. It s not much more to do around ….just the typically rhajasthani town with a fort, castle and sometimes a lake but we managed to buy some nice souvenirs and waited in excitement for our cooking class we had booked for the next day. Not too sure if it was really going to happen as the booking was a funny amount of calls and people calling other people we got eventually picked up the next evening (with the normal Indian 5 min delay…so 30 mins later). A driver brought us to a house where we met the lovely Shashi and her son. Rob had a good laugh at the little red dot on my head that was chucked on my forehead upon arrival and then it started…a thunderstorm of information in English, german and a cool Indian accent. Shashi talked us though her script which is 14 pages long and full of amazing recipes. Half an hour later we were bashed into the kitchen and the actual cooking started with Pakora (fried vegetable dumplings) and chutneys. Everything you cook you eat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So after the Pakora we were pretty much done ;) but then the real class took it s turn. All together we cooked different types of curries, vegetable rice dishes, made Indian cheese, Nan breads, Chapatis (other indian bread) different potato dishes and an indian breakfast pancake. Shashi would explain everything very detailed and tell you exactly hat to write where (“you write…..”). We had so much fun but also got so tired with so much happening in these 4 hours. When everything was cooked the “hardest” part started….the eating! We sat in front of a FULL table with all our dishes and enjoyed all the cooked food and it was just soooo amazingly good!!! The taste of every dish was great and we can t wait to try it all back home One of our favourites was defo the Chai tea making we decided!! One of the fascinating traditions here that unites the whole country...from north to south...east to west, old and young.
Being absolutely stuffed still we started our journey to Jodhpur the next morning …on probably the worst bus we ve had for ages. The seats were more like wooden panels fixed in a hight of 20 cm….maybe indian style,,but not quite fitting for two rather tall Europeans. Still we arrived and got to see the Jodhpur Fort in the afternoon. It another impressive castle that looks out over the “blue city” of jodhpur and the views are great. We only stayed for the night though as we were really looking forward to the sandcastle town Jaisalmer…one of the most western parts of Rhajasthan and just a hop close to the Pakhistani border. Arriving in Jaisalmer we could already see the castle towering over the little but busy town and after our pickup from the station wet quick and easy we soon arrived in our hostel which was located just on top of the main walls of the Fort…giving stunning views over everything. A cold beer later we had everything sorted and an overnight camel safari booked for the next morning. The town itself is a real desert town, with a shallow small lake and it appears to happen that kids don t see rain until they re a few years old. Anyway…we were “lucky” and even caught the rain…yes…in the desert!!!! We had a good start to the Camel Safari…with just some badly stretched and bruised legs …but as soon as you find out how the camel “works” its quite fun….and pretty high. Our guides Hussar, Ohmed and some more whose names I can t remember prepared some lunch and stuffed us with chapatis until we couldn t do any better than having a little nap. Unfortunately the winds and bad weather picked up this afternoon and we didn t really got to ride a lot more that day and neither the next one. It had become freezing cold and wet and at a certain point we all started to get a little tired and bored of the situation. Still it s not the companies fault having bad weather….looking back we re not sure though if we would do an overnight trip again…just cause you re caught in a place without escape. We had a quick shower before hopping on the night bus to Jaipur later that day. ..which ended in a bit if a drama as it s just not fun being to vomit on the stairs of the bus and having travellers disease starting when you really ARE travelling ( Looking back he got what he deserved for wanting a baggage charge!!!). Having survived that night we managed to get on a train straight after to get to Agra…the final destination. We can tell you…it s not a great deal travelling in unreserved class, squeezed on your bag next to the toilet…BUT it s THE REAL THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Sure that we don t want to do it again though we arrived in Agra 5 hours later….tired but so glad to have made it and not without being a little proud of ourselfes! The river view of the Taj during sunset made up for a long and hard day and we even managed an early start next morning to catch the Taj Mahal for sunrise. It sounds like a great idea…and it certainly is…IF it doesn t pour cats and dogs! The last few days we had clearly been so unlucky with the weather and it seemed like it just wouldn t stop. Luckily the Taj is one of these things that you can enjoy in any condition and it just leaves you breathless! The white marble building is surrounded by three red sandstone gates and it s 4 minarets surround it and rise highly into the sky. It s a beautiful building and after we saw it from various locations during the day we started to understand why this is probably the most well known Indian sight. Even the backside which you can observe from a garden across the river is just great! Even though being tired we managed to see the Red Fort that day before the long wait for our train at 2 am in the night to Varanasi started. Being happy that we had managed to get a Sleeping cabin at all we didn t bother…well until we got to the train station at night to be told our train was 2 hours delayed…surprise surprise…NOT. The long long loooooooong wait was just so exhausting but at least Rob was allowed to stay in the Ladies waiting room (and even use the ladies toilet!!!)…including a little bribing charge of 20 ruppees though. This included a huge smile of non existent teeth of the bribing charge room facility managerin.

Posted by PEANUTSONTHERUN 04:11 Archived in India

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