From the city to the country to the city

So we left Varanasi, feeling good that we could still find our way around an Indian city and have fun (and we felt that much holier), and traveled back to the countryside.

An overnight train journey took us to Gwalior where we saw a fort at hyper-speed and were back on the train for Orcha in only 4 hours – and that included lunch!  Needless to say the Gwalior fort wasn’t all that great, mostly due to the screaming hordes of school children that were on a field trip to see the fort and the tourists within.

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Orcha is a 16km tempo-ride (sort of a shared rickshaw) from the train station and we were lucky enough to share it with a fat, happy, bean eating and bean throwing Indian lady!  She made our day forcing us to eat copious amounts of peas and throw the husks at the other tempos!

Orcha was great.  After doing our laundry in the morning (a surprisingly gratifying activity) we visited the fort, went swimming in the river – skinny dipping actually – and then went to the old temple.  We are generally forted and templed out, but the ones in this town were so unpresumptious that we could help but to love them.  And the thing that really made our day was having a swimming-hole just outside of town all to ourselves, to lay in the sun and read.  No staring.  No conversations.  It was heaven!

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The next day our whirlwind schedule took us to Agra.  This trip was one of our more ‘interesting’.  First off, we happened to share a sleeper compartment with the prince of a grand old estate and as we went deeper into conversation we discovered that this French student in Delhi had his own Lamborgini, houses and cars in Australia, Mumbai, and all over the world, as well as a plethora of servants.  Needless to say we got his number in Dehli and secured (hopefully) a place to stay with a train station pickup in a Lamborgini.

This distraction from the outside world caused us to miss our stop and travel an extra 45 min and 60 km past Agra.  Oops!  Thankfully, general tickets were available to get us back, giving Claire a luggage rack seat in the crammed open seating compartment.  For those of you who don’t know what “general ticket” means in India, it gets you a ride on one of 4 cars that contain 90% of the people on any given train.  Cheep and always available, it was our only option, and we were just lucky to be able to get on (and off) at the right times.

When we got to Agra, we took a rickshaw to our hotel, only to find out that they had given our room away.  Apparently reservations are good for a 2 hour window!  Luckily we ended up at a nice place with a view of the Taj Mahal, and a room with 2 double beds and a gymnasium sized floor.  So much space is something we haven’t experienced for awhile in this highly populated country!

2 Responses to “From the city to the country to the city”

  1. Raju says:

    Hello Seth, found this page while searching for Orchha.

    And the thing that really made our day was having a swimming-hole just outside of town all to ourselves, to lay in the sun and read. No staring. No conversations. It was heaven!

    Was just wondering if you could recall which was this location? I mean which side of the river and any other locational detail. We might be going there and would love to laze out in sun and shade with occasional dip.

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