What seems like forever ago now, in 2005, I went to India. I actually spent my 19th birthday in a children’s home in Delhi. It was set up with an organisation where we were going to work in exchange of accommodation. When my partner and I (we were paired by the organisation) arrived, the organisation had double booked meaning the apartment we were meant to stay in and it already had people staying there. We ended up sharing a room in the home where we were working. We had no privacy (people walked in our room constantly to use the toilet), no space to go to after we finished work (we had to be in by 9pm too as the place was locked) and we shared our room with mice, lots of them that crawled over us during the night. It was a bit of a disaster and Mel decided she wanted to go home within 4 weeks of us arriving.
Although the placement didn’t go as planned and Mel left I decided to stay for a while and travel earlier than expected. We looked at flights home for Mel and before she left we visited Corbett National Park together.
Corbett National Park is part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve in the Nainital disctrict of Uttarakhand. Arriving at the park was literally a breath of fresh air, we had left a huge polluted city full of fumes, dust and noise from people shouting and beeping to passing villages then seeing masses of fields, straw huts and flowers. It was incredible, we went on an elephant ride and jeep safari. We saw so many deer, lions and tigers. We even had deers come up to our room to help themselves to breakfast!
I went to Varanasi and went along the Ganges in a boat, it was pouring down with rain once we set off and then absolutely belted down with hailstones the size of rocks when we were too far in to return. I can’t help but laugh at the memory now but at the time I wasn’t overly impressed.
I visited Mumbai which I loved, especially Marine Drive which had a beautiful harbour lined with palm trees to walk by.
I also visited a few places in Goa including Arombol, Calangute, Baga, Colva and Palolem. Arombol was beautiful, there were beach huts by the river and the place I stayed was surrounded by palm trees and backed onto a beach. At night I sat on the beach and listened to the sea. The sky was absolutely stunning, turning blue to yellow then pink to purple. It was so serene and a place a would love to return to one day.
I’m not sure where I stayed in Calangute/Baga as I stayed on a road between them. I didn’t like here as much as it was busier and more commercialised with nightclubs.
Colva was busier than Arombol but quieter than Calangute. There was a beautiful beach and I went on a dolphin sighting trip.
I went to Ernakulam and Kollam in Kerala. I went on a trip down the backwaters. I loved Kerala and it is definitely somewhere I would like to return. The backwaters showed the locals swimming and washing, lots of jellyfish, working boats passed with fish they had just caught, there were boats carrying cars and bikes. Some of the house boats looked gorgeous. The huts and houses of the locals lined the river and children ran to wave at the tourist boats passing.
I got the train from Kerala to Jaipur, Rajasthan. I went on a city tour and to the fort area for tea. The fort area was amazing, I felt like I was in Aladdin! I visited Gadi Sagar and Pathan Ki Haveli.
I also went on a camel safari, we visited a few little villages and the people were really friendly. We stopped under a tree for dinner and slept when needed. When we were ready for sleeping at night we found some dunes and put blankets on the floor. It was incredible, we watched the moon go from one side of the sky to the other, watched the sunset and sunrise. I would absolutely love to take Lucas to do that one day. At around 5am when the moon had disappeared, the stars were immense, so clear. That trip was definitely my favourite and one I will never forget.
When I went to Jodphur it was the Holi festival which celebrates the end of winter. There were fires lit in every street to get rid of demons and everyone through coloured powder and water.
I then went to Agra and saw the Taj Mahal which as you can imagine is an incredible experience.
After that I returned to Delhi to fly home. It was an incredible time and if I could do it again I most definitely would and I would love to share all those experiences with D and Lucas x