We had a 16 hour train journey from Varanasi to Agra. This time second class sleeper although “sleeper” train is slightly misleading as I don’t think any of us got much sleep. Still I enjoyed the journey; we sat next to a man who was a teacher in hand loom textiles and accompanying 10 students on a 20 day tour of India. We spent a couple of hours chatting to him about Indian politics, culture, the divorce rate in the UK and what we usually eat for breakfast.
I then spent an hour practising the guitar; Ali was laughing at me and said I reminded him of Phoebe from Friends! Guess I need a lot more practice but have learnt an Oasis song and going to learn Greenday Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) next Best song!!
The kids did an hour or so of school, we learnt about the life of Mahatma Gandhi and I tested them both on what they had learnt. Pleased to say they both did well in their test and I gave them a house point each. I told them they will get a reward when they get to 10 points.
We had set our alarm for 5.30 as the train attendant told us we were due at Agra at 6am, we finally pulled into Agra station at 9.30, by this time tired, hungry and all feeling generally crappy with sore throats.
I was feeling apprehensive about finding the hotel as we hadn’t reserved a room and didn’t have a pick up arranged from the station, but still after a bit of bartering with the taxi wallahs we set off in 2 rickshaws.
The hotel is absolutely lovely with a pretty courtyard, clean rooms and friendly staff. They tell us our room will be ready soon and point us in the direction of the rooftop restaurant. We climb up a small winding little staircase and out onto the roof to be met by what can only be described as the best breakfast view ever.
The Taj Mahal really is breathtakingly beautiful and all the cliches that have been said about it are true. The kids both agree it’s gorgeous and to see the white marble glistening in the sun, so close to where we are staying is really special.
We decide that we will visit The Taj tomorrow at sunrise when the visitor numbers are less and we are all a bit more with it after a good nights sleep. I spend the next few hours showering, drying and straightening my hair, plucking my eyebrows and generally trying to improve my “been traveling for ages appearance”.
After eating we spend sometime talking to a nice Canadian couple, he turns out to be a maths teacher and we take advantage of this and he helps Simon and Alister with some difficult algebra question. Of course if they had asked me I could have easily given them the answer!
Its 6pm now I’m going to check emails and then off to bed. Feeling completely knackered, this is taking ages to write and have a wonderful day ahead tomorrow. Going to see the Taj Mahal, the most visited monument in India and something I have dreamed of. So excited I just can’t wait.