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.