Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, March 22, 2007

I made my way to Rishikesh via local bus from Haridwar this morning - guess I'd had enough of candles and prayers along the river for now. It's a beautiful thing really, watching people in prayer. Feeling the faith of others all around you as they put their faith in the healing powers of the river. It's such a beautiful thing that I couldn't afford to get tired of it, to begin to take it for granted, and so it was time to move on. I told Nico this - that I planned to move on to Rishikesh, and he asked if he could join me. He's been a good travel companion so far, so why not? I thought... We met with bags packed and made our way to the bus station where we boarded a stereotypical Indian bus - crammed with people, packages and poultry - and jostled our way toward Rishikesh. the bus ride was not altogether too uncomfortable - I've come to expect hot, cramped and smelly from Indian bus trips, but there are also the views - all kinds of small towns, people and places that you would miss if you took a plane or the train. It's slowly but surely becoming my dream to do India again by motorbike. I can picture the heat being pushed away by the wind blowing through my hair and the scenery flashing past in 20 minute long intervals (because for some reason, I've got it into my head that I'd feel the urge to stop every 20 or so minutes in order to take pictures or to at least stare in awe at my surroundings). I also imagine just how much ground I could cover by motorbike versus plane, train and bus. But anyway, I digress...

We arrived at the local bus station in Rishikesh only to spark a brawl between two tuk-tuk drivers--they literally came to blows over who had the right to drive us up to High Bank... The fight was broken up by another man just as Nico and I were walking out of the bus station in the direction of the main road, hoping to solicit a more peaceful, less public spectacle ride. Within minutes, our bags were on board and we were bumping our way along dusty roads to High Bank - the area that, just as its name suggests, sits looking toward the river banks far below.

When we arrived at High Bank, we began inquiring into guest houses. After some fairly extensive wandering, we came upon Bhandari Swiss Guesthouse--a fabulous little place tucked high up on a hill above High Bank. Very simple rooms, but more than adequate, definitely affordable and comfortable with a common balcony that faces the river valley. Two chairs right outside our room made it the perfect spot to chill out for a day or two, drink a lot of chai, and get some reading, writing and drawing done...
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