Clueless Boy travels to India (Part 2)

This is the second part of my India Blog series. If you haven't read the first part yet, make sure to do so!

On the way to Varanasi

Varanasi is a holy city on the Ganges river in the north of India. Some say it's the Jerusalem of Hinduism. Because it's quite far from Delhi, we were planning to get there by plane. So I just calculated out when we need to wake up to get to the airport in time.

Yeah I somehow completely miscalculated that.

While I usually like to get to the airport 2 hours before departure, I somehow mixed it up and left the hotel 2 hours before departure. Well it's not so tragic, if we can get there in time, like an hour before departure. So taking a taxi should be fine, but we decided to take the metro instead. The station was not so far from the hotel ... on the map. It took us more than half an hour to get to the station. That was not even it. It took us around an hour with the metro to get to the airport.

To cut it short, we missed the flight by dumbness. Forgetting about how big Delhi actually is, naively navigating on the map and not even thinking about changing plans to take a taxi.

But the metro experience was interesting, everything was clean and modern, probably because it's newly built. I was surprised that even metro stations had security checks like in the airport with X-Ray scanning. I wonder how they can keep up the passenger flow when they have to check them each.

Since we missed the flight, we bought a new ticket for the next flight to Varanasi, which was in 6 hours. The most wasteful time I spent while traveling, but at least I had a nice Samosa for lunch.

Using every single second in Varanasi

Even though it was February, it was extremely hot compared to Delhi. And yet again, we struggled to find the hotel. The old town of Varanasi is full with tiny streets, the map we had didn't even show every path and it just felt like a maze. But eventually, we found it.

If there is one thing I remember about this hotel is that table. I found it funny how they can just make a table out of tires. The hotel also had a nice view of the city and the Ganges river.

After the sunset, we went for a late night walk in the city to use every single second of our short stay in Varanasi. We discovered an event, I assume a prayer, where people gathered together and was quite interesting to watch.

The small streets of Varanasi

Sleeping in the hotel was although terrible. There were a lot of mosquitos trying to eat me alive and couldn't really sleep because of the noise. Even though I had an anti mosquito spray, it just didn't work.

The Holy Sunrise

So I woke up at 5am with an inflated arm, it was red and double the size of my normal arm. (I took a picture but can't find it anymore :/) I was worried about diseases, but I was vaccinated against everything and it was too late anyways so all I had to do is hope. Anyways, we went outside and it was dark. The perfect timing to watch the sunrise.

In the third picture, you can see a pink painted tower in the background. Beyond that point, tourists are not allowed to take pictures. The reason is because the dead people are burned to ashes and gets thrown into the Ganges river. You can even see the smoke in the picture (sorry for bad quality). We dared to visit the cremation. Luckily, the corpses were hidden under a piece of cloth, but it really made me think about the value of life.

As already mentioned, navigating in the old town is quite a challenge in Varanasi. In the morning although, it was possible to at least know which direction you're walking, based on the direction of the shadows, since the sun is shining from the riverside.

There was a temple my father suggested to visit, but they required us to take off our shoes. It wouldn't have been a problem if there was a place to leave our shoes. They told us that there is a place to do so 500m away from the temple. We went there, but we realized that we'd have to go back to the temple with bare feet, stepping on cow feces, which... I didn't really want to do. So we gave up going to the temple, which I kind of regret to this day. Back then, I was too afraid of anything.

Instead, we went to try some Lassi, my favourite Indian drink. There was a "bar", apparently known for the best Lassi in the town and they were running the shop only by selling Lassi. We ordered 2 and we were able to watch the process of making it. He made it all from scratch, like cutting the mango, which was impressive but also took a lot of time. For the 2 Lassi, we waited 40 minutes and we were the only guests in the bar. At least the taste was really nice.

Heading back to Delhi

We had one more day to enjoy Delhi and this time, we stayed in a different hotel. I don't know why, but my father decided to book a night in a luxurious hotel in the center of Delhi. Luxurious by Indian Standards, it costed us 20€ per person per night. The hotel was super clean, the room was pretty large and they welcomed us with a drink of our choice, and I went for a fresh mango juice (At this point, I think it's clear that I love mangos right?). They even treated my inflated arm with some coconut oil. To be honest, I don't really care about the quality of the hotel, but it was a bit convenient to be able to sleep without hearing mosquitos.

For dinner, we went eating in a restaurant called Zaffran, where they claim to have won an award for the best north indian cuisine. I absolutely believe them, because the food was incredible! It may even be the best thing I've ever eaten in my whole life.

I still keep trying to remember how it tasted like, but since it's already a long time ago, my memory is overwritten many times so I can't tell if I'm idealizing or not. I fell in love with the indian cuisine, that I did a lot of research about Curry and had a phase, where I cooked Curry once every week. Even went to many different indian restaurants in my hometown, but none of them are even close to this one. My favourite curry restaurant in Vienna unfortunately changed its recipe, which was the worst disappointment I ever had this year so far.

Final Day

Before heading to the airport, we went seeing everything we missed so far in Delhi. The city has actually a lot to offer, so we didn't really explore Delhi, only saw a portion of it. One of them being a Sikh temple, a religion I didn't know about back then.

We were lucky to visit during a prayer, which I don't really remember much about. But the temple itself was clean and we had to wear a "scarf" on our head.

Our next stop might be a bit more famous, the Indian Gate. A very historical place, which I didn't know about, because I was lazy and did 0 research. Now as a grown up man, having traveled to many other places, I absolutely don't recommend not researching before traveling. Otherwise, your impression will stay at "cool, they also have an Arc de Triumphe".

We tried a Tuktuk for the first time for this short Delhi tour. Since we were careful, we always asked the price in advance, not to get scammed. But when we got there, the driver always tried to change the price and beg for it. For us, it was immoral to change it after we agreed on a price, so we didn't pay more, but thinking about it, we were negotiating about... 24 cents. In my opinion, we should have just expected the price change beforehand and be ready to pay a bit more, because in the end... it's nothing for us.

Maybe we got used to their purchase power too much?

Maybe we just didn't like the fact that we're being convinced to pay more?

Maybe I was raised to be greedy? ( I hope not :( )

We obviously didn't have that much travel experience. But I hope the next time I visit India, the experience will help me to have a better travel experience, while making the locals happy. We were just too afraid to do anything, not even buying handmade souvenirs or visiting temples etc..

We ended the trip with a slight taste of frustration, regretting the things we haven't done. But I know for sure that I'll revisit this wonderful country. Why would I do that, despite all the troubles and inconveniences I had? Because I love the people of India, their country is rich in culture, extremely diverse, has beautiful nature, and I have to mention, a fantastic cuisine. I can't really claim to have visited India, since it has so much more to offer.

View of Delhi from the plane

What about the troubles? Well... it would be boring if there weren't any. For me, traveling is about taking challenges for a high reward. Learning lessons for life and gaining wisdoms and perspectives. To write a chapter in my life and being able to tell a story, and not just listing the places I went to. And there are probably many more reasons, why I love to travel, which I didn't discover yet.

On that note, I hope you enjoyed my India Blog. Thank you for reading this far!

Level 55
Jul 4, 2022
Dude, I could never go to India, as I am allergic to mosquito bites. (Hives, etc.)
Level 62
Jul 4, 2022
That's unfortunate, but maybe there are parts without mosquitos. I didn't have the problem in Delhi at least.
Level 65
Jul 4, 2022
I got badly bitten by mosquitoes in one of the hotels I stayed too and I ended up changing my hotel. And talking about lassi, I had one of the worst food poisoning experience ever, and I had to skip Jaipur because of that. Having said that, India was still one of my most memorable travel experiences in my life.
Level 62
Jul 4, 2022
A food poisoning definitely ruins the fun. :/
Level 38
Jul 4, 2022
I wonder how mosquitoes are a problem in India. In Brazil there are quite a lot as well, but probably not as much as in India.
Level 62
Jul 4, 2022
It was probably because I was on the Ganges river.
Level 64
Jul 4, 2022
When I go to tropical countries, I don't normally find mosquitos to be that much of a problem, but it sounds like they were very annoying to you. Apart from that, the rest of your travels in India seem great :)
Level 62
Jul 4, 2022
It was probably just the fact, that I was close to the Ganges river and our hotel room didn't have a mosquito net on the window