The road to Agra……was paved, part 1 and Bangkok, ready or not here we come!

That might not make sense to most of you. Of course the road was paved you must be thinking, aren’t they all? Well not quite. Not here in Bangalore anyway. There are very few well paved roads here in Bangalore that don’t contain hundreds of potholes, strewn with rocks and where drivers don’t follow any kind of traffic rules, etc. So you can imagine mine and John’s surprise that once we arrived in Delhi, we immediately noticed the difference in the roads.  They were paved and there seemed to be a little more normalcy in the road rules (just a little) than we have become accustomed to. And once we got out of Delhi and were on the road to Agra we were even more stunned to see that the highway seemed fresh and new and so beautifully paved.   A wonderfully “unbumpy” journey.  And though the ride was smoother than the daily rides we have in Bangalore, I wondered if we were missing out on the real scenic views on our way to the Taj Majal because of the new roads we were riding on.Was there an alternate route and if so how would  it differ from what we were seeing on these beautiful paved highways?

No matter.

We planned the trip to the Golden Triangle where we would get to visit  Delhi, Jaipur and Agra to coincide with the visit from John’s parents. The idea was that they would get an amazing visit to places in India that we wanted to see as well and so we took off for the Golden Triangle a day after they arrived for their visit.

It is becoming the norm for me that I am going to highlight my favorite parts of the trip and not write about the hiccups we experienced, those stories are best told in person anyway:), ok I might write “a little bit” about those hiccups…..but let’s start from the beginning.

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This is John’s Mom Marta. I ordered a bunch of things for her to bring back to us and she very kindly made it all fit in her bags and got our stash to us, ahhhhhhh Charmin toilet paper…heehe

 

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Bruce waking up very early to greet Grandma and Grandpa. He was very excited to have them here.

 

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Day1 Delhi.  First thing that hit me about Delhi was the smog. The weather was pretty nice but it remained smoggy the  whole time we were there.  At first we weren’t sure if it was cloudy and foggy or if it was indeed smog. So we asked our tour guide about it and she assured us that “Delhi is 100% pollution free”……and went on with some government line that they have abolished all forms of pollution and Delhi was completely free of smog. That the smog that we were actually seeing and feeling (wasn’t long before we were all coughing continuously) was indeed just the weather.  Okay, sure.
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you, this was how smoggy it was in Delhi. Most of my pics look like that not because I am a bad picture taker but because that is how it was there. Smoggy. But not from pollution. Hmmm. Let me say this. Delhi streets were alot cleaner and alot more modernized than Bangalore.  I was surprised to come to that conclusion because Delhi is quite bigger and I guess I expected alot more chaos with that much more population but it indeed was more impressive than I imagined.  And there was so much to see. Unfortunately for us, the majority of our sight seeing was in our car,  while our guide would point and say “and there’s the Red Fort” etc.  She did however take us to an amazing restaurant for which I cannot remember the name, but can tell you that tthe food there was fantastic.  We did get out at two places, the India Gate (google it, pretty cool) and the government Palace.  John and I hope to visit Delhi again, because via the “drive byes” we saw that there is so much more to see and discover.  Next time.  Below are some pics:)

 

I’m going to fast forward to our first evening of this trip. Blah, blah, blah, we were lost for a bit but when we finally made it to our first hotel on this journey we were indeed excited.  The hotel was called the Neemrana Fort Palace. It was amazing. It was truly like going back in time.  No great amenities or anything like that, but what the hotel lacked in luxury it made up in ambiance and wonder.  It was super cool. We got in really late at night so it wasn’t until morning that we truly saw how beautiful and interesting this hotel was.  A re-do is definitely in order.

 

We left the Neemrana Fort Palace way too early that morn, we would have loved to have spent a full day or more just exploring the hotel itself.  Next time.  Anyway our journey continues…next stop Jaipur!  I think, see, this is what happens when you wait till months later to try and tell a tale…..

I honestly cannot remember the name of the hotel, let me look it up quickly…Samode Haveli, at the risk of this sounding like a tripadvisor review.  Service at this hotel was fantastic.   Hands down.  And the hotel, lovely and large.  At this point I have to add that we arrived at our hotel late as our driver got lost again.  So ended up checking in, had a very hurried lunch then set out to see a few sights before we ran out of daylight. Our first stop was at Jantar Mantar.  It is a huge observatory that includes a 90ft high sundial,  a device that predicts eclipses and much, much more. It was pretty amazing.    Basically it had alot of cool ancient scientific instruments.  They had instruments to determine the Zodiac, instruments to forecast the upcoming year and they built a large sundial that was only about a minute off.  This was considered unsatisfactory,so they built a much larger one,perhaps 30 meters high that is extremely precise.

 

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After the observatory we excitedly headed to Dera Amur.  This was to include a sunset ride on elephants as well as dinner al fresco at the old fort. We had previously experienced an elephant tour during our first visit to Thailand a few years back.  I had vowed never to do one again. At Dera Amur, the elephant handlers did not carry those hammer looking things to steer and direct the elephants, the elephants had no marks on them at all and seemed quite playful with their handlers as well as with us.  So I changed my mind and for the second time in my life hopped on an elephant for a tour around the fort grounds.  It was a lovely afternoon and there was even a pitstop where we given our choice of beverages, we chose wine of course!

 

Upon our return from the elephant ride, we got to do some traditional painting on the elephant trunks, it was pretty dark by that time and a little chilly. So right after the painting party, we were led us to a welcoming bonfire where we relaxed with wine and appetizers until the main course was ready.

 

It was a lovely afternoon and relaxing evening.  So relaxing that I think we were all in bed about ten minutes after we arrived to the hotel.

To be continued…….

Yikes!!!! Watching the clock…..my mobile spa should be here any minute……way too much going on today and never enough time.  So letting the mobile spa, lovely ladies who come straight to the house to mani, pedi and or wax your lady parts!

John wanted to know why I needed my “lady parts” waxed when I was going out of town with a bunch of girls…..silly husband don’t you guys get that we ladies dress to impress each other?  I’m going out of town with three lovely ladies, I must try and keep up:)

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Yup, going to Bangkok with those three lovely ladies……see you in a few days and hopefully NOT on the next episode of Locked up Abroad….

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