It has been a while since we have written an update of our trip. Our last days in Kolkata were mostly consumed by rest and walking to find food. Our hotel was not central at all. The last day we went to the beautiful flower market that is apparently active 24/7. Things got pretty bad our last night in Kolkata since I (Anneli) got a fever and pretty bad food poising. The airport was not a blast and Anna was forced to fix a wheelchair for me so I could make the flight. I could not have gotten on that flight without help. But we landed safely in Varanasi an hour later and I was feeling a bit better. When we arrived in Varanasi we had to walk about 5 min through narrow alleys to get to the Suraj Guest house where we would spend the next four nights.
We were immediately welcomed by a older man and his son at our new home. They were very kind and let us rest in a room while our room was being prepared for us. This guest house was probably the best place we have stayed at so far since we felt like a part of the family towards the end. The older man (Prevhu) made us dinner even though their restaurant was not open. They also helped Anna while I was sick in bed and offered to get a doctor for me. The biggest perk with that place was the rooftop. We could never get enough. One downside were monkeys. They could get really aggressive and stole my journal one day (we got it back). The third day Suraj (the son) took us on a walking tour even though he was very ill. He showed us the crematories, mosques and temples. We ended up walking around for about 5 hours but learnt a lot about Varanasi. The river is the holiest water in India and many Indians have their bodies either shipped there to be cremated or if they cannot afford that their ashes will eventually reach the river. Suraj was very happy to be living in Varanasi because he knew he was going to be cremated and the directly reach nirvana.
Our fourth day was rainy and not as exciting. The hospital was on the agenda to figure out what was wrong with me. When you are as far away from home as we are its never bad to be over cautious. The doctor said it was a possible infection in the stomach so he prescribed me 5 different medicines... Apparently it is a thing in India to get many different medicines. The visit plus medicine was very cheap. The cost was around $25 but for the Indians it can be costly, especially if you need to frequently buy medicine and visit doctors.
Around 4 P.M we said goodbye to our new family and headed to the train station with two other backpackers. The train was delayed an hour which wasn't that bad but we ended up standing on the platform for 45 min before train actually came. When we got on the train we ended up with a really nice polish women, a family of three and a Chinese women. The train didn't leave the Varanasi station until 3 hours after its original departure time. The sleeper train was as expected but both of us were absolutely freezing all night. We chained our bags to my lower bed and then slept with our little backpacks. When we woke up one of the men told us the train had delayed another 3 hours during the night so we would arrive 6 hours later than the original arrival time. We arrived in Agra at 13.52 (18 hours later).
As we left the train station a big relief went over both of us. We were both getting very tired of the train and couldn't wait to stand up and walk. We took a tuk-tuk to the Bedweiser Hostel and left our things in the room and went up to the roof top where we met their puppy. It was the cutest thing. Around an hour later we were accompanied by a Canadian girl named Kailey. She was super friendly and asked us to join her on a day tour the next day for 200 rupees each which we joyfully accepted. The plan was to leave at 5.30 to go to the Taj Mahal. So this morning we had the alarm set for 5.10 and were out were at the Taj Mahal at around 6. Another women who we stayed with (Lucy from Taiwan) joined us. The wait was long before they opened the ticket booths but it was so worth it. We got in by 7.10 and saw the Taj Mahal at sunrise right before the thick fog rolled in. The rest of the day we just hung out with Kailey eating breakfast, having proper coffee at Costa coffee and eating lunch. Around 17.00 we said goodbye to Kailey and the rest of the cool people at the hostel (two british guys are starting the tuk-tuk run tomorrow all the way to Nepal).
The train from Agra fort left at 17.40 and was a huge step up from our last experience. The ride was only three and a half hours. We were served food and there were real toilets (the other toilets were holes in the train). Right now it is bed time for us and we are comfortably in our new home for the next 4 nights in Jaipur. Tomorrow we will be sleeping in (eating breakfast with everyone at the hostel) and washing our clothes. We will also have to plan our stay here. From now on we will update more!
Anneli & Anna
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