We’ve made it to the Taj Mahal! Before we even thought that this trip was going to take us all around the world, in that first conversation with an original founder of Biziklautak that and the end could not come, the Taj Mahal was one of the goals. And we finally got to see it!
I’ve heard before that it’s not worth to travel to India just because of the Taj Mahal, but once in India you have to see visit it. I don’t know about that, but it has certainly made our trip around India worth.
We were getting quite tired of travelling through India. There were too many people, and we could not stop without somebody coming to see what we were doing and to ask many questions. Even when we got sick they could not let us rest in peace. But then to reconcile with this country, the Taj Mahal happened.
Javi was sick; and even though it was nothing serious he had to spend a couple nights in the hospital. But for his birthday they let him come with us, to visit the monument, even though we left the celebration for later.
This wonderful beautiful building was made as a burial monument for the second wife of King Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal. He promised to build the most beautiful building for her, and he did it! He was so proud of it that he even wanted to build a second one, for himself this time, across the river in black. But his son arrested him for it, for fear he might ruin the country, and kept him in Agra fort for the rest of his life, from where he could at least see the Taj Mahal.
Agra fort is also worth visiting once in Agra. Luckily we got to visit that too. This fort has never been conquered by force, and still nowadays most of it is used by the Indian army. It was the residential royal palace for many centuries, and you can see many beautiful rooms and amazing balconies with incredible views.
From Agra I had to run to the south of Nepal to meet my parents. The plan had been to cycle, but going to the tiger safari made it impossible, so I had to take a train. And of course it’s not as easy at in sounds. Just getting the train ticket it’s an adventure on its own.
Of course, tickets for the day I wanted where sold out. Luckily the railway system issues a few tickets last minute for the trains leaving the next day. It’s quite complicated to get them, because they get released in the whole country at the same time. So even if you are the first in line, if the train crosses many cities, it might be already full if the clerk is too slow.
To get these tickets you have to go really early in the morning and get a number, and then wait till 10 am when they issue these tickets. So if your number is low you have more chances. Even if I was there at 6 am, they didn’t give me a number, saying that foreigners don’t need it because there is a special window for us.
And there was such special window, but also Indians use it, so I had to fight with some locals that had numbers. So many of them thinking that I was just cutting in line without a number got very angry, some even aggressive. And I totally understand; it was the supervisors fault for not giving me a number! But I really needed the ticket so using my elbows and screaming louder than anybody else I managed to get it. It was a great relieve when I got the ticket on my hand!
Then getting on the train was the second adventure. My bike had to travel in the luggage compartment, and as it was an 18 hour journey with many stops, naturally I was a bit scared of losing it. Besides, my bags could not go with the rest of the bike, so I had to carry everything else with me, and I have lots of panniers!
Sorry that I don`t have pictures of these adventures, but I was very busy. To compensate here you have a picture of a goat on a motorbike eating a commercial.
The trip was quite comfy, because I paid the most expensive fare: 8 euros for a 550 km trip! And it included a bed in a wagon with AC. Of course the train was late, but luckily my bike was there, and I managed to reach the Nepali border losing only my spare tire.
And there they were, my parents and my brother, waiting for me! It was a really touching moment, even if the border control people tried to interrupt it. It had been almost a year since I had seen any of them. From there we went to Chitwan, a national park in southern Nepal, for some elephant safary!