Barry and Lou Signing Off... For Now!!!!
Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
57Trip End Jun 12, 2012
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Where I stayed
But even with all the delays we arrived in Delhi sharp at 8am, and were thrilled to be able to check straight into our lovely room at the Cottage Crown Plaza in the bustling backpacker area of Paharganj, which was a steal at only 950R including hot water and air-con. We only had 2 days to fit everything we wanted to do in, which basically included trying to get round some of the main sights, sample some of the fantastic restaurants and shop till we dropped! In some ways we wished we'd had longer, but we wouldn’t have taken a minute off the time we spent relaxing in the Parvati Valley before heading down. Some people really can’t stand the madness of Delhi, but it really is such an electrifying place - there’s an energy and rhythm to the chaos that’s so appealing, and there’s so much on offer to see and do.
As we hadn’t wanted to be lugging extra stuff around with us while we were backpacking about (and also because of the terrible selection everywhere else!), we’d left it until Delhi to pick up all our gifts for home - which meant we needed to have a bit of a shopping frenzy! It was quite exhilarating to be loading up our bags with all sorts of fantastic goodies to take home, and because we were buying so much we got some really good deals on our purchases - after the obligatory maddening bargaining! We got to the point where we were all shopped out, so took a break from the Bazaars to visit Gandhi’s memorial sight (set in a beautiful, peaceful park) and the fantastic Gandhi Museum (free), which just brought home what an amazing, inspiring man he was and what a difference he’s made to millions of people.
Delhi’s Red Fort (250R) is apparently a must-see, so we headed there next, but for us it really didn’t compare to the fort at Agra, and the crowds there were particularly infuriating - more that the usual amount of vacant staring and horrendous filthy comments. I’d really had enough of it all and something inside me just snapped when we walked past a group of 6 guys all standing taking pictures of us - I just walked right up to the nearest one, grabbed his camera-phone out of his hand, deleted the photos, told him how rude he was and handed it back to him - poor Barry was just standing there gob smacked! But I really don’t think it’s right to make visitors to a country feel so uncomfortable and intimated all day, every day - someone’s got to take a stand!
After that, we treated ourselves to a couple of (much needed!) beers at MyBar, which was right next door to our hotel and had a great traveller/local mix and sold a big ice-cold beer for 80R - perfect! We ate at the Vegetarian hole-in-the wall restaurant just across the road that night, and were astounded by the quality and quantity of our 60R thalis - that’s one thing we’ll really miss back home!
The next day was our last of the trip, so we treated ourselves to a breakfast at Sam’s rooftop bar after spending hours trying to find working internet (surprising difficult in a city like Delhi) and a working ATM (we must have walked the length of Paharganj half a dozen times
Luckily, that was soon forgotten about as we got back and got ourselves ready for our final treat - a meal at the swanky Parikrama revolving restaurant. We felt a bit apprehensive about spending so much money on a meal when the street food you can get for pennies was so wonderful, but the experience of sitting watching dusk fall over the sprawling metropolis while being waited on hand and foot was well worth it - and the food more than lived up to expectations - real gourmet cuisine
We ended up back at MyBar, and got chatting to a fantastic Dutch guy called Sjuart who shared our table while the boys watched the footie. We’d kinda planned to have a relatively quiet night as we were up at 5am for our flight home, but one thing led to another and we ended up sitting on the street finishing our last bottle of Old Monk until about 3am - which was actually the perfect way to end the trip!
When we dragged ourselves out of bed a couple of hours later, we were both feeling great - we’d really couldn’t have asked for a better year, and were totally buzzing about getting back home to see all our wonderful friends and family! We thought we’d be a bit upset at the thought of it all being over, but I think the fact we were so content with all we’d seen and done that all we felt was happiness - and excitement over what the future held!