Hellloooo from Palolem Beach, Goa, India. Today we celebrate our 4 month anniversary of travelling so here's a re-cap of weeks 13 - 16.
Delhi, Agra, Bharatpur
Kerala - Kochi (Cochin), Alleppey, Munnar & Varkala
Goa - Palolem
First place this month goes to Munnar. This was an unexpected gem of a town in the mountains surrounded by tea plantations and waterfalls. The tea was delicious, the food exquisite and our homestay had home made wine. Say no more.
Second place and the biggest surprise to me - Agra. I was ready to hate Agra, obviously I knew I'd love the Taj Mahal but over the years I had read that Agra was a proper hole but we were really happy there, but is that because we hardly saw any of it? Possibly. We had a decent hotel with a rooftop bar with the best view, they let us drink beer from the shop down the road on the rooftop bar & we found an excellent restaurant that we had loads of fun in & the food was ace.
Third place is right where we are now - Palolem in Goa. It took us a while to decide between here & Varkala in Kerala. Both are incredibly beautiful with wonderful sunsets and views but Palolem has more beer including whole bottles of whiskey for £1.75 and a better beach. Not to mention our last hotel that had a pool, AC & a fridge!!
The Taj Mahal - I'm sure this is no surprise and I'm not going to gush about it again but it was sooooo good & everyone should visit at least once.
The 20 hour train journey. What a fun 20 hours and a great experience.
Beaches - Ahhhh the beach. Despite me hating sand we have been waiting for a decent beach since we were last on a beach in July 2012! Well here in India we have found them and we are definitely appreciating them.
Money - a great thing about India is how cheap it is. It is unbelievable. One day in Varkala we spent in a whole day £8 between us and that was including our room and an ace meal of curry, rice & naan bread. Even on our tight budget we are proper rich here, it's a great feeling especially after Europe where they were charging us £2.80 for a small bottle of water.
Trying to book trains in India is incredibly frustrating. We had to change all our plans as we weren't willing to pre-book a 2-3 week itinerary as that would stop us being independent and spontaneous. In the north they told us it is easy to get trains in the South. It is easier but definitely not easy. What makes it worse is that in India you always feel like people are trying to rip you off so when they tell you you have to book a 3 week itinerary for £300 each you don't know whether to believe them.
The journey from Bharatpur back to Delhi was horrendous, from the train being late so we were standing in the middle of the station being stared at for an hour & half to not being able to find our hotel for an hour in the Delhi heat. When that guy turned up on this motorbike I was literally seconds away from crying. The nearest I had come to breaking down, not bad - it took 3 months and I didn't actually break down.
It looks like this month there are more good bits and the bad times are a bit more moany - that is India in a nutshell. I can't explain it but one minute you hate it, the next minute it's the best place you've ever been. That's why they call it Incredible India.
Best thing we ate
Pretty much all we have eaten for a month now is Indian food & I have been veggie for a whole month! It's really hard to choose a favourite curry as they are all really good but the food in the hotel in Palolem made our choice easier. Mine was probably the most greasy fattening curry available - paneer butter massala, to make it worse I kept indulging my guilty pleasure of ordering chips & dipping them in. I hate paneer at home but it's much nicer here.
Russell's favourite was the cashew nut curry. He is a nut nut so fell in love with this.
Coming up in month 5 - we will be finishing our India adventure exploring more Goa beaches before flying to Thailand where Russell plans to spend his 30th (yes 30th!) birthday in Bangkok