Thursday 25.01.2018: Flight FAO-LIS-DXB-AMD - Ahmedabad
Flight 1908 FAO-LIS 11:15-12:00, then EK 192 LIS-DXB (Dubai) 13:35-01:15 (+1), flight EK540 4:00-8:05 arrival in Ahmedabad. Lounge in Faro with Alice. Alice and Julia had some difficulties getting their boarding passes for the flights from Lisbon to Dubai and Ahmedabad. Julia went alone to the lounge Marhaba in Dubai (lots of good food!). We got our luggage pretty fast, but then it took some time with the immigration. They took the finger imprints of some of our group, pictures ware taken from all and a stamp was put into our passports. Bahnu and assistants were waiting for us, with 3 cars we all drove to the Hotel Ramada (Opp. Prahladnagar Garden/S.G. Highway, www.ramadaahmedabad.com). The check-in procedure took a long time. Reception is compelled to make copies from our passport, take pictures of each of us, and have contact data filled in. So we actually were able to go to our room at 11:30. Room is nice, we are all on the 7th floor. We all went to our room, some got instantly to sleep, others opened their suitcases and try to get the room clear. At 14:30 Julia called Alice -who was profoundly sleepting- and encouraged her to come and walk around the area of our hotel. Walking some streets, which have lots of nice trees, we could see the
Friday 26.01.2018: Ahmedabad: cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon
Arrival in Ahmedabad. Alice and Julia went for a walking tour with window shopping and passing along street sellers, and all the people were very kindly with us. Restaurant 1944 and and an ice cream to celebrate Divya's and Bhanu's 14th anniversary. After that we went to the Law Garden market. Back home at midnight.
Saturday 27.01.2018: Ahmedabad: warm 26
Heritage walk through Ahmedabad from temple to mosque, Gandhi Ashram, lunch at Gordhan Thal, a Gujarat Rodizio restaurant, back home and then visit of Adalaj step well, Akshardham Temple with a water-laser-fire show. We also had a fast food at this temple. A full day.
The next 3 days we spent driving to Bhuj, Tent City and bak
Wednesday 31.01.2018: Bhuj to Ahmedabad:
We left Bhuj at 9am. A very important military person was visiting the restaurant in our hotel and was guarded by a few soldiers ready to shoot. We stopped for tea/coffee and restrooms after a ride of 2h50. Lunch with the youth group at the palace §. Visit and shopping at the Traditional Textiles Society of Gujarat. Drive to Hotel Ramada Ahmedabad. After a short refreshing break we gathered on the nice terrace on the 11th floor for mojitos and snacks. Mojito background story: we made a bet with Fernanda/António while in the bus, to guess at what time we would arrive at our hotel. Julia won and Alice bought us all delicious mojitos. And we were happy to be able to eat "normal" food, i.e. not spicy. We had bruschetta, pizza, toasts with noodles (yes!) and others.
Thursday 01.02.2018: Ahmedabad
What a pleasure to be able to sleep longer. At 10:30 we left for the Marriott Hotel for our cooking class with Chef Azuruddha Liwaye -great! He showed us how to cook Dal Tadka, Kadai Paneer, Shaki Tudka and Chapati. Lunch at the restaurant on a superb buffett with lots of delicious Indian and international food. Directly afterwards we drove to the Rotary Club of Kankaria in Ahmedabad to see their Vedic Apparel Training Center. About 20 women learn how to sow with sewing machines, very impressive. They also have a programme to do Yog(a) classes. After presenting all their projects, we all got a rose and ice-cream. Drive to the Rotary Physiotherapy Center. Back home most of us went to the dinner with DG, PDG at ethnic restaurant Rajwadu. Françoise, Gil and Julia stayed at the hotel. Françoise and Julia had a snack at the lovely terrace of the Sphere Lounge on the 11th floor.
Friday 02.02.2018: Ahmedabad to Udaipur
Early breakfast at 6:30, drive 6 hours to Udaipur by a more comfortable Volvo-Bus. Hotel Park Exotica Club - Spa - Resort. with very nice grounds. Alice was ill and stayed in her C2 room. Lunch, Rotary flag youth exchange and in the evening Bagore ki Haveli for show Dharohar.
Saturday 03.02.2018: Udaipur - Jaipur
Drive to Lake Pichola where some people did their first camel ride at Fadeh Sgar. Others chose to ride a horse, but this was more like sitting on a horse for 5 minutes. It actually made me think about these pony rides children do. Lunch at Pizza Hut in the Lake City mall. Drive to the City Palace Udaipur where we had a guided visit for about 1 hour (up and down many steps). Boat trip on Lake Pichola - really worthwhile because you get the complete picture. The ladies were begging for shopping. Alice and Julia bought a whole regiment of bananas and almost had them all ate by a huge 50 years old smart elephant who was smelling all the bananas. We gave 3 bananas but he wanted the whole thing. Funny is that the elephant recognizes if what he is getting is food or a currency bill! Dinner at Sikh restaurant (the owner had a turban and was pretty well fed - we were told that Sikh men are not allowed to cut their hair. Julia ill. Walk to the railway station and took our seat/beds C2 at 1045 pm. It was a good confusion, because we switched places; the beds were reserved but we were not together. Finally at 1am we were settled.
Sunday 04.02.2018: Jaipur
Arrival in Jaipur at 7:15 am, then to the hotel Central Royal Orchid. Due to our very early arrival we had to wait for our rooms until 10:30 am to be ready. In the meantime we had breakfast. Julia decided to rest a day and the others left at 11am to visit the Astronomical Observatory of Jaipur and the the Royal Jaipur Mahraja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust. Lunch at a touristy place (good food for us, with a cup of wine). Some women went for shopping at a street market and they came with an auto-rickshaw, which did a big detour in the city, supposedly not knowing where our hotel was. We all prepared for the wedding that was scheduled for tonight, but our presence was cancelled. At 7:30 pm dinner at "Spice House" (classified as the best restaurant in Jaipur for hygiene and cleaniless).
Monday 05.02.2018: Jaipur - Haridwar
Departure at 8:30am. Stop in front of the Wind Palace where we enjoyed the performance of a snake charmer. Next was our elephant ride up to the "Amber Fort" (tip Rs 50 pax). On our way up to get to the actually platform for "boarding" the elephants, there were many street vendors harassing us all. There was an elephant caravan taking all people up to the fort. Visit of the fort with a guide who also showed the famous (Belgian) mirror palace. Jeeps took us down to the parking place. The photographers were extremely aggressive with their trying to sell us pictures they had taken while we were riding the elephants. Back to our bus, we made a stop to view the Water Palace. On the way to our restaurant for lunch we got stuck for almost one hour in a traffic jam because of some Muslim celebration, loads of people blocked the road. Lunch at the Green Pigeon (ok food). Then we had to go to the Arts & Crafts Cooperative where Françoise and Raymond found a beautiful blue carpet. Drive to old city center where we visited a well-known seller for spice and pickles. Coffee (virgin classic Mojito for Alice) at a nice tea-room. We also did boutique shopping without buying anything. Very busy downtown. Back at the hotel we changed clothes and went to the dinner of the past governor of Pink City Jaipur University Rotary Club. Drive to Jaipur railway station where we to carry our luggage up and down stairs. At 11:10 pm our train took off towards our next destination Haridwar.
Tuesday 06.02.2018: Haridwar to Rishikesh and Campsite Red Chili adventures
We arrived at 11:55 am in Haridwar. From there we had to drive 50 km to our campsite. Longer stop in Rishikesh at a nice Yogi/organic food place where some of us had a good muesli, salad, bruschetta etc. Fantastic views to the first mountains of the Himalayan range. Steep gorges, river Ganges, crazy drive on the NH-58 to our Campsite with very simple tents. It was a crazy drive with heavy traffic on the mountain road. We had a nice lunch upon arrival with the monkeys trying to steel our food. Pie Chen and the tenants of the place didn't like to see them nearby, but Julia found it funny! Pie Chen told that the one kind we saw here was aggressive and had bitten her daughter. At 4:30 pm we walked down to the Ganges, Antonio got rid of his sins bathing completely in the sacred river (temperature was about 18-19°C he told us). Ines, Pie-Chen, our sweet Taiwanese lady, Enjoy and some others went for a short kayak experience while Fernanda was drawing and Julia shooting pictures. The way down was pretty hard because of the steepness of the stony path. Going up was much easier! After a shower we gathered for tea and coffee, then beer and wine around a nice camp fire.
Wednesday 31.01.2018: Red Chili camp site to Rishikesh and Haridwar (Uttaradkhand State)
Rafting 26 km on the Ganges River to Rishikesh - great time! Lunchbox (Indian Bento-Box), then walk from upper town down to the River Ganges with many shops along the way down. At 5 pm we joined a big crowd at Har-ki-Pairi Ghat, which every evening gather for the ganga aarti (river worship ceremony). Dinner in a restaurant in Haridwar, then waited for our train until 10:50 pm. Some people of our group got an upgrade to 1st class whereas the others experienced sometimes bugs in their berths. Julia didn't sleep at all.
Thursday 07.02.2018: Haridwar - Delhi
Arrival in Old Delhi at 8:10 and were driven to the Hotel Regent Intercontinental. Somehow something didn't match, we were left for half an hour in the bus. There are like 3 hotels on this block with the same name! When we finally found our hotel and settled in our rooms, it was almost 11:00am. We then drove to a Starbucks at Connaught Place in Sant Nagar -finally good coffee! Back at the hotel we did a sightseeing tour of New Delhi. In the evening we went to the restaurant Barbecue Nation -very nice! Back at the hotel at 10 pm, also because Fernanda, Alice and Julia did some shopping on Janpath Road.
Friday 08.02.2018: Delhi
Sightseeing New Delhi: Jama Masjid Maulana Sayeed Ahmed Mosque, Red Fort, Lunch at "Hotel Saravana Bhavan" South Indian High Quality Vegetarian Restaurant -very good, all dishes different but prepared with rice; there were pancakes, noodle- and pizza-like dishes, everything good. There is an international franchisee in Frankfurt, Germany at the main railway station, 6 alone in London and 11 in USA. Julia went back to the hotel while the rest of the group continued the sightseeing.
Saturday 09.02.2018: Delhi - Agra
Wake up at 5:30am, left hotel at 7am for train to Agra not like planned with the 8:10-currently the fastest train in India "Gatiman Express"-
The 6 hour drive was done with the bus... The landscape between Delhi and Agra is mostly fields with plantation and some space for children to play rugby. Our stay is at Man Singh Palace where the Rotary Conference is held: Anad Utsav: 1st Rotary Conference of District 3054. Lunch outside in the garden, very nice. Fernanda, Ines, Julia, Sanskriti and Atal took a OLA (similar to Uber, but you pay cash) went to local stores, then to the Mehtab Bagh park, one of the best places from which you can view the Taj Mahal from a quiet place across the river. In the evening dinner outside with a show with Indian singers, dances at which Dyvia took part and a presentation of Bhanu and his wife like on a catwalk. Ines & Gil, Melanie & Mike and Julia had a drink at the Bar of the hotel before going to bed.
Sunday 10.02.2018: Agra - Delhi
Visit of Taj Mahal and Red Fort. Pizza lunch at Pizza Hut. Drive to Delhi (4,5 hours with a wash room stop at a weird place). Back to another Regent Grand, which honestly was a little bit better. Most of the party except Julia had a drink at the restaurant. But there was no mojito. We prepared our luggage so to be able to just take a hand luggage to Dubai.
Monday 10.02.2018: Delhi - Dubai
At 7:30 we took off in various OLA cars (400 rupees). It took us 3/4 hour to reach the airport. Flight from Delhi to Dubai. Our superb hotel back to civilisation "Dubai International Terminal Hotel near gate B22" with a massage chair, fantastic! Julia couldn't get Alice off this device, she was in trance! At 3:30 pm we did a sightseeing tour with Emirates Adventure (406 US$, i.e. 52 Euros each). We had a very nice driver/guide who took us all 7 in a comfortable van to the most important sites in New Dubai: what a density of high rises with the most majestic architecture. Especially the Burj Khalifa, the highest high rise of the world with its 828 m height was awesome, in the evening at 7pm with a majestic color show. We also saw the Dubai frame, an artificial island Palm Jumeirah with its nice hotels and houses with their own jetty, then the Marina Jumeirah, the Dubai Fountain at night. Back at the hotel through imigration and security, dinner at the snack buffet of our hotel with lovely mojitos.
Tuesday 11.02.2018: Dubai - Lisbon - Faro
Wake up at 5:00 am for breakfast at 5:30am and be at gate at 6:40 am. Flight at 7:35 EK191 from Dubai to Lisbon and 3:45 pm TP1909 to Faro. Very pleasant flight with Emirates.