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Published: December 14th 2016
When i arrived in Jaisalmer, me and some other guests were picked up by the owner of the Surya Guest House, Padam. It was a nice and small guest house inside the Jaisalmer Fort, with only five rooms. I had booked the smallest, cheapest room for only €1,50 per night! For this I got a double bed with clean bed sheets, a shelf, a fan and a big padlock to lock the door with. The guest house also featured a really nice restaurant and a rooftop with a great view over the city at sunrise and -set. I think this is one of the best places I've ever stayed, for the most amazing price 😊
After checking in and unpacking a bit, I went for a walk around the city. The great think about Jaisalmer is that its fort, build in the 1100's, is not only great to look at and walk around in. People still live, shop and eat here everyday and outside the fort there is an even bigger maze of shops and restaurants. After walking around for quite some time, I made my way back to the fort where I ran into Lisa! She was my German roommate in the hostel in Udaipur and we decided to walk through the fort together. I bought some books and I showed her my guest house/room, which definitely made her jealous 😉 After that she had to make her way back down, and I stayed at Surya to watch the sunset on the rooftop. Jaisalmer is basically in the middle of the desert, so after the sun was gone it cooled down very quickly. I move to the restaurant where I had a great meal and talked to a couple from England/New Zealand. After dinner I took a shower and retired to my little private room 😊
The next morning I got up nice and early and walked around the city again, to find some breakfast and good chai. After my walk I went back to Surya, cause at two it was time to leave for one of the high lights of my trip: A camel safari through the desert. When I got back to the hostel I saw that two Belgian guys whom I'd met in Jodhpur had followed my lead and check in to Surya as well. When I told them about the camel safari, they joined that as well. I guess I can be pretty persuasive 😉 First we picked up some other people at another guest house and then it was time to drive into the desert with the jeep. We visited an abandoned village and an oasis before meeting our camels. Mine was named Papaya 😊 We rode the camels through the desert for about an hour and a half. In the beginning of the walk there were still quite a lot of plants and vegetation. But the further we went, the less that became until there was just sand left. Then we reached the sand dune where we would watch the sunset, which was really nice. When the sun was gone we all got a big cup of chai and some snacks. We spend some time talking and chilling while the camel college guys prepared our meals. After dinner we sat around the campfire until it was time to go to bed. We all got a mattress, pillow and two thick blankets, which had been arranged in between two sand dunes. Who needs a 5 star hotel, when you can sleep in a 500 star hotel 😉
The next morning we got up at 6 to watch the sunrise while enjoying another large cup of chai. At night the camels are free to roam the desert, so while we had breakfast the camel college boys went to look for the camels. When they were all brought back and saddled up, it was time to walk back to the village where we would be picked up again. After we got back at the guest house I walked around the city one last time. I had to go to an ATM and when I found one there was a really long line. Luckily I was standing behind a nice Aussie couple. So we had a really nice conversation to kill the time until it was our turn. When I returned to Surya, I packed, took a shower and a nap. After that I had another really nice dinner and around mid night Padam brought me back to the train station.
After a very pleasant night in the train I arrived at my second home in India: Roadhouse Jaipur. After unpacking a little I spend some time on the front porch, hanging out with Laxmi who is a volunteer at Roadhouse. That night I had dinner at the hostel with a 60 year old Polish couple, who had moved to Canada 30 years ago but still sounded very Polish :p
The next morning I got up nice and early to go sightseeing. First I visited the Jantar Mantar, which is an observatory with several huge sundials and other stone equipment from which one can tell how far the sun is from the equator and how the different star signs relate to the position of the earth. This was all build is the beginning of the 1700's and it was really impressive to see how accurate the measurements still are 300 years later. For 200 rupee (€3,-) I had bought a foreign student composite ticket with which I could visit some other major sights as well. So I decided to do to the Hawa Mahal, which translates to the Palace of Winds. This is a building that has a really high and wide wall at the front, that is basically shaped like a huge screen, with a thousand little windows. These little windows were once used by the women of the royal family to spy on the bustle on the streets below, without being seen. It was a really beautiful building with nicely ornamented doors, stained glass windows and a maze of secret hall ways.
After that I visited another maze: The bazaar and shopping streets of Jaipur. I bought some gifts and spend a good couple of hours trying to find my way around. Around 16:00 I kinda gave up and took a rickshaw back to the hostel. There were two new girls is my room from America, with whom I chatted for since time, while we were all trying to arrange our backpacks a bit better. Around 18:00 Uday arrived at the hostel with a group of people that were on a 10-day music tour through Rajasthan. We thought it might turn into a pretty big party at night, so we decided to go and grab some drinks at a shop nearby. On our way back we also got some papaya/rose pedal juices at my favorite juice place 😊
The hostel had hired a two man band to welcome the group and when we got back we heard them playing on the rooftop. So we decided to go up there as well, to find only the guys from the band and three other people there :p We thought that some people might be in the basement, so Uday and I moved there. The people from the group kinda kept to themselves and soon Uday had to go arranged some stuff for their dinner, but luckily I was joined by Jo from England who had just checked in. Me, the American girls and Jo were just having dinner in the living room, when a group of two guys and one girl walked in. They turned out to be the three Charlies, who were already quite famous in the hostel cause they were in the same dorm, were all from England and were all named Charlie :p After dinner me, Jo and the girl Charlie moved to the basement, where we were later joined by Uday and Katy (also from England). We had a really great night in the basement, chatting and drinking until about three in the morning.
The next morning we all got up at 9:30, just in time for breakfast that was being served till 10:00. During breakfast me, Jo, Katy and Charlie made a plan for the rest of the day, but it took us till about noon before we actually started moving :p We had decided to prepare for tonight properly and went out to buy some booze. We also bought some juice and a box of tiny red velvet cake and sat in the shade for a while to enjoy them. After that we went to Uday's favorite clothing store cause Jo was running out of clean shirts and Katy wanted to buy one for her brother. After that we shared a couple of dishes at a street stall and then went back to the hostel to share a couple of beers on the roof. Sharing is caring 😉
We then set out for the Nagar Har Fort, where the sunset is supposed to be amazing. Unfortunately we had slightly underestimated the time it would take to get there, so when we finally got to the top the sun was already gone. :p Luckily we still had a really nice view of the sky slowly turning dark and all the lights in the city turning on. So we shared some more beers up there and then returned to the hostel to spend the rest of our night drinking and eating on the rooftop 😊
The next morning we all took it quite slow, until it was time for Jo and Katy to catch their plane/bus. Charlie and me spend most if our day at the hostel and ordered pizza for dinner, which wasn't very good at all :p We also spend some time reading a book called "Conversational Hindi" which was equally bad, but also extremely hilarious. It had all these useful phrases in it like: "this girl is very naughty" and "this is a nice shirt-cloth"
The next morning Charlie thought she had booked a bus to Agra at noon, but it turned out to be at midnight. I had a train at 15:45 which was passing through Agra as well. So after she did some final shopping and I had finished packing we set out for the train station, to see if we could get her a ticket. The good news was that we could get her a ticket, the bad news was that the train wouldn't be leaving till 23:00... So we left the train station again, went out to grab some last juices and spend the rest of our day at the hostel. We watched the new Disney movie Moana, had dinner and a shower and then I went back to the train station.
It was really great to be back at the Roadhouse hostel in Jaipur and I'm really happy I got to see a bit more of the city this time 😊 my next stop is also my last destination on this trip: the holy city of Varanasi!
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