Agra famous for...

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March 14th 2020
Published: March 14th 2020
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Our drive back to Jodhpur for our overnight train to Agra was such a contrast to the drive three days previously as it was Holi, and there were hardly any vehicles on the road... still plenty of cows and goats though. Our driver stopped at a beer shop saying that as it was Holi he should buy us a drink. He came out of the shop with a big bottle of Kingfisher beer, which is the local fizzy beer but this one was 7.5% proof and a little bottle for himself....I didn’t think we’d be drinking it during our 10 am..... Apparently the police are all on holiday so no rules apply and we had all day so didn’t have to gun it along the road.
Back in Jodhpur to while away a few hours before going to the station do we went back to the step well and watch the goings on and got covered in more colour! It was an amazing site walking through a market that a few days previously had been a hive of people and cows and now only the rubbish was left!
I can’t say I was looking forward to the train journey.....we had to sit on the platform for a while waiting for them to open the doors.....the out side of an Indian train dirty to say the least!!
We had the bottom and top bunk in 2AC tier... There was nobody the opposite eventually we hunker down until the train stopped in Jaipur around 2am. Then granny and her family arrived... Full on conversation and phone calls, Shoving and pushing cases and boxes under the bed and standing on my bed to make up the top bunk....I was awake...
Eventually everyone went to sleep....I could tell!!
When we got off at 7.30 we didn’t try to be quiet and she just farted her goodbyes!
We were met by our new driver Mr Singh. Who took us to our hotel were we were able to check in early after having some breakfast. Had a bit of a rest and then walked a shirt while to visit the Baby Taj. Which was really beautiful. Our hotel had a roof top restaurant with a view of the Taj Mahal which we could see was getting clearer as the day progressed.
This saved any discussion as to whether to get up really early to see it at sunrise..
David took the opportunity to get some shirts washed at the hotel and we had a bit of a laugh when we saw lots of washing drying out on the riverbank.. in-between the rubbish and buffalo smelt fine when it came back!
We went to Agra Fort, in the morning and had fantastic views of the Taj and could see the light improving by the hour.
The big difference we’ve noticed is that it is so green here, plenty of wheat growing, they are now harvesting mustard oil seeds and we have discovered that Agra is famous for.. potatoes!
We’ve obviously been keeping up with the news and speaking with other travellers. Who have been coming out on planes ¼ full. But apart from the odd temperature check at certain monuments the only difference is that soap is more obvious in the toilets. Obviously the numbers of tourists is down, Not good for India but great for us!

Pleased to report that the Taj lived up to all the hype and was beautiful, as was the Baby Taj Itmad ud Daula and the Red Agra Fort.
Today we went to Fatehpur Sikri a ruined mogul city outside Agra.
Another overnight train to Varanasi, the station was interesting...overrun with monkeys. We had to get a porter to help with the luggage as at least we had a better chance of getting on the right carriage.. good job too we were on the wrong end of the platform and these trains are long!
Well ... train update. Not really a lot of sleep and the train was due into Varanasi at 5.15, unusually it was early. David and I were standing by the door to get out but the train wasn’t anywhere near the platform, we thought it would move, apparently not! When we saw that people were now boarding the train we started to get worried and someone shouted that we’d have to walk down through the carriages. We knew we only had a few minutes to get off!! Then our knight in shining armour appeared, our driver with my name on a piece of paper , is this you?? Yes...Go Go!!
So we’re trying to wheel our luggage down between sleeping passengers, shoes, pillows all over the floor, then the driver opens the out side door and says that we should try getting off this way....about 8’ down....then we had to walk along the railway tracks to the platform.....
I’ve never seen Michael Portillo do that!
It doesn’t end here. It had rained heavily overnight and the road was full of BIG puddles. We were driving along and the driver had the windows open because of the condensation, the front passenger one was fully open....a car decides to under take us through a really big puddle resulting in a bough wave coming through said windows and absolutely drenching us, David more so... unfortunately!!
By now I think I’m hysterical!

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