A Guide to Travelling India
Trip Roundup of our 50 Days Travelling Through India. 50 days, 8 states, 6 unesco world heritage sites, over 200 plates of rice & curry, 250 chapatis, countless lassis (banana was our fave) and NO DELHI BELLY! Result.
Best meal: Oli: Tunday Kebab in Lucknow. The ONLY good thing about Lucknow. Melt in your mouth deliciousness
Lucy: The epic veg biryani and local cheese at shiva juice centre in Pushkar. It was the biryani of my life.
Worst meal: Oli: The Dominos in Darjeeling which made me ill. A moment of weakness resulted in more moments of weakness.
Lucy: That crappy Bengali meal we had at Prince in Calcutta. Tasteless yuk.
Best place: Oli: Hampi. It's as great place to chill out, and there is so much to do.
Lucy: I'm kind of cheating as it's a whole state.... Rajasthan. In particular, Pushkar. Beautiful landscapes and architecture plus amazing food.
Worst place: Oli: Lucknow. The rickshaw drivers are a nightmare and it's not a very nice place. Apart from the kebabs.
Lucy: Lucknow. It's like Milton Keynes.
What we wished we'd known at the start: Oli: That using a squat toilet isn't as hard as it seems. I was once scared, but now I am not.
Lucy: None of the horror stories are true. Totally heed all advice given, but don't be paranoid -- India is amazing. And very safe!
Best experience: Oli: Taj Mahal (bit obvious - sorry). It's beautiful and because you know there will be lots of people, it's not too bad. Holi festival was epic as well
Lucy: Hmmm probably getting blessed (smooched) by Lakshmi in Hampi. Also, the Taj Mahal, which lived up to all my expectations.
Worst experience: Oli: Constantly being charged extra because I'm foreign. It really grates on me that the Indian government think it's appropriate or legal to charge me extra because I am not Indian. Grrrrrr
Lucy: Sharing a dirty berth with cockroaches on the train. And sometimes mice too. Rank!
Books read: Oli: Frederick Forsythy - The Cobra, and The Fourth Protocol Lee Childs - Persuader Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl Gregory David Roberts - Shantaram
Lucy: Gregory David Roberts - Shantaram Camila Lackberg - The Stranger Marian Keyes - Lucy Sullivan is getting married.
Lost along the way: Oli: About 7 kg, one watch strap and my temper with touts.
Lucy: A nice silk scarf I bought in Mysore.....that's all!
Gained along the way: Oli: A Nepal book when we thought we might go to Nepal! One pair of comfy thin trousers.
Lucy: Too many clothes, and a pairs of flip flops.
Most useless thing in my backpack: Oli: That Nepal book
Lucy: My denim shorts. Those babies are waiting for Thailand!
If you come to India you must try: Oli: To remain calm, and keep your sense of humour. If not, India will not be the most fun place to be! And Indian food. We all know it's good.
Lucy: Everything! The food is amazing.....don't be scared, try loads of street food & meat too if you're a carnivore. Mutton kebabs were dreamy. Also, this sounds cheesy but try chatting to everyone -- people are pretty much always happy to chat and share stories. The kids are also awesome.
What we actually spent: Budget was R4000 (£40) a day. We came in under budget at an average of R2750 (£27.50) a day.
In summation India was amazing. The country is vast and everything about India is mental. One minute you'll be accosted by 100 touts, and then the next second some random from your train will help you and point you in the right direction. The Indians do not do anything by halves; the poor are very, very poor, the rich are very, very rich. The streets are dirty, very, very dirty The food is delicious. We had countless meals where I said that I could eat that again for the rest of my life and be happy. Overall, we enjoyed India much more than Sri Lanka, and time has flown by. We have been saying all along that we want to come back and see different parts of India.