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December 8th 2019
Published: December 12th 2019
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So, I think it was in May, we were talking with our niece Kelli, from Boston, when she told us she had been invited to a friend's wedding in India. I piped up with "I would love to go to a wedding in India..." and that is how we ended up returning to India!!



So, after celebrating our 2nd early Thanksgiving, this time in Boston, we left on Nov 25th flying to one of our favorite cities, Istanbul, for a one night stopover. I do love just wandering the streets of Sultanahmet, enjoying a delicious gyro at our favorite gyro stand, that always has a long line to it. Toured the Cisterns and then into the Hagia Sophia. Such a beautiful interior, but wondering if it will ever be scaffold free!



Arriving in Delhi, early morning of the 28th, to a rain storm, which helped improve the air quality. We settled into Maiden Hotel, the 1903 Heritage Hotel, beautifully restored with the most wonderful staff. The next day, after a somewhat restful sleep, we take an afternoon walking tour of Old Delhi with Raj. He had grown up in the area and seemed to know everyone. The streets of Old Delhi are a maze of small shops along even smaller alleys with rickshaws, hand pulled carts and sellers lining the streets. We were told no maintenance or renovation is done on so many of the deteriorating buildings is due to disputed ownership. So many of the buildings did seem to be collapsing around us. We sampled some of the food, spoke with various merchants, bought some spices and finished with a delicious dinner at a beautifully restored Haveli.



The next morning we meet Bora, who would be our wonderful driver, tour guide, and friend for the next 8 days. It is a long 7 hour drive north to Mussoorie, considered one of the more beautiful hill stations in Uttarakhand, the state in India. The traffic is an amazing chaotic blend of overloaded trucks, speeding, honking cars, motor rickshaws, wooden carts pulled by horses and buffalos, bicycles and motorcycles. With lots of horn blowing, everyone appears to get where they need to go, with out incident.



We are incredibly lucky with the weather, and have a clear view of the Himalayas both days. Bora takes us to Happy Valley, a small area outside Mussoorie, where the Dalai Lama lived for a year in 1959 after fleeing Tibet. A beautiful temple with an amazing number of multi colored prayer flags blowing with the wind, and a clear view of some of the Himalayas. It is a very peaceful place.



After 2 days in Mussoorie, we drive to Rishikesh, known for the beautiful turquoise Ganges River flowing thru it, and as a yoga/meditation center. It is also where the Beatles stayed in 1968, in an ashram nearby. We enjoy the beautiful day, having lunch, at an upstairs cafe, watching the Ganges river flow by. Then it is on to Haridwar and the beautiful Aarti Ganga ceremony. Seeing the bamboo leaves, with offerings and incense lit bundles float down the river was magical. Sitting on the steps of the river and listening to the music and singing was a precious travel memory! The Ganga river here is so clean! The next day we wander and enjoy all the Ganga activities, including much bathing. I have



ok, we are now in the midst of the 2 day wedding ceremony which has been amazing!! It has included gorgeous henna painting, 4 Indian outfits that we bought at the market with the wonderful help of Kelli and Nick and their friends Dipti and Nick. I have posted a few pics on facebook.



So, I am going to post this blog as is.


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13th December 2019

India on the fly
Hi Ed and Michelle: Maybe you should work for Rick Steves since you are on the road so much. Have you ever called into his show which I enjoyed listening to him and his son is also a guide book writer. I sound redundant but you pulled it off again. I could never possibly keep up. I am waiting the final allocated amounts for part of my pension. I can hold off on social security so will for a bit as have the money to do that. I can't say I am enjoying Illinois that much but glad I can help my dad out and enjoy his company when he is not grouchy. The guy is tougher then nails with all his health woes and keeps on going like a Timex watch. Highlights for me are the birding here and when the weather is good I ride my bike. We haven't had enough snow yet and I did shovel for one business for free coffee and one business owes me a lunch. I am going to Louisville to see my friends in late December and a concert and have a concert in line in January in Dubuque. I have a tiny apartment that works well despite the neglect on the owners part. As always nice photos and interesting commentary on your part. Happy travels and say hi to your sister and Doug who I remember from AZ. Grant

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