India. The land of contrasts part II

Here we are a week into my trip to India and it’s time to start the second half of my adventure. It’s hot and humid outside, but the sun is shinning brightly and everywhere I am surrounded by tropical vegetation. I still have the memory of grey, gloomy Denmark in my head, so I am enjoying every bit of this hellish heat.

I said goodbye to our colleagues in India and head off to the airport with butterflies in my stomach to pick-up my husband and start a new two-week adventure in India. For those of you who have never travelled to India before, here are some useful tips:

  • Come with an open mind and heart; my experience prior to this trip was that everyone would recount terrible incidents they’ve had and how they were sworn off travelling there ever again. It is almost impossible to understand what this country is like as a foreigner
  • India is a cheap destination, but of course that depends also on what level you are travelling at. Everyone expects a tip and you are constantly overcharged for everything, just for being a foreigner; make sure to take that into account when planning your budget
  • There’s a 99% chance you will get sick and get some form of food poisoning. Don’t panic! Honestly it should almost be expected – you’re putting your body, your stomach through an environment it is not familiar with. I loved all of the ups and downs that came with Indian food. Everything was so incredibly flavored and different from anything I had ever tried – food in India was in itself a different kind of adventure and one I would love to have again
  • The food is really spicy! I mean cry like a little boy kind of spicy. Be warned you’ll be tasting your tears a lot
  • Be prepared for loud noises and crowds. This aspect hit me pretty hard a week into our trip – there were too many moments when I would long for silence and to be left alone, not to be constantly accosted by street vendors, beggars, taxi or rickshaw drivers or scammers on the street. It was a constant influx of people wanting something from us and it was overwhelming at times
  • Make sure to get a portable WiFi device so you always have access to internet. We used the Skyroam pocket Wifi and even though it wasn’t excellent, it got the job done; it made India more accessible and getting around much easier
  • Use Uber to get around; it’s cheap, reliable and easy to use

First city we stayed in was Delhi. I booked Hotel City Star, foolishly thinking it was a hip, trendy and affordable hotel next to Delhi’s main Bazaar, a great place to dive straight into Indian culture. The hotel was actually located in the middle of this very busy, crowded bazaar and our room had no windows and thin walls. To top it all, they had a phone on the hallway for room service ringing nonstop, all day, no rest for the wicked. It drove me insane, to the point that I sprint out of my bed one night, opened the door, yelled at the walls as loudly as I could “Can someone pick that f***ing phone up fo f**k sake I’ve f***ing had with you all!!”. I never did get a chance to write a review on their website, so I’ll use you dear reader to vent out some deeply hidden away frustrations.

On the second day we headed off to Agra, an old-fashioned city founded by Sultan Sikandar Lodi in 1504 that sits on the banks of Yamuna River. First, we visited the Agra Fort which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the outer walls are built from red sandstone, inside there are beautiful areas made of white marble. From some of the rooms along the Yamuna river, you can look out and see the nearby Taj Mahal off in the distance. It is an impressive building with room after room of beautiful and intricate architecture. As you move through the rooms, each area has its own character, design and detailing.

Here is the part where I should talk about the remaining days, but because my lazy ass waited three years to write this piece, I honestly cannot remember the details. So here’s a bunch of beautiful pictures I took on my trip and I leave you with this: India is a beautiful country, worth seeing and exploring and I promise you will not be bored for one minute.