|I set off on a tour of India and Nepal with the Adventure Company.
Flying from Manchester, I stop of in Doha, before continuing to Delhi, to begin the tour.
|As I arrive in Doha, I notice a girl in front of me, has a document holder, with the logo of the Adventure Company on it, and I discover that she is on the same trip as me, with her friend Paul.
We all go for coffee, and get to know each other.
In reality, I forget to take a picture of us having coffee at the time, the reason that we all have suntans in this picture, is because it was actually taken on the way home, and in that way, is a fake.
|The debate of independent versus organized travelling has ranged for years and will continue to do so.
One positive thing about organized tours, is that when your plane lands, somebody, is actually waiting for you to arrive, and will start making phone calls if you don’t.
Our bags are carefully loaded onto an air conditioned vehicle, and we are driven to our hotel.
|The first thing that surprised, was how cows were tethered and grazing in the middle of the road.
In fairness, I didn’t find the road system to be any worse than some of the more “exciting” cities I have visited in Europe.
|After we arrive at our hotel, we have a wonder around the hotel vicinity, during the early evening.
Here a scene of people relaxing on the street and chatting, street vendors serving snacks, and bicycles being repaired.
|Because we had arrived late for the Delhi tour, my friend Kevin let me use one of his pictures.
|Next door to the hotel, I loved the honesty of this no parking sign.
I certainly didn’t see anyone park there, at anytime while I was staying.
|Early in the morning (very early in my case, as the hotel receptionist, woke me at 3am, rather than 4am, but never mind) we head for the railway station, to catch a train for Agra.
Here an enormous line of Tuck Tucks, rise early for the morning business.
|The train platform was crowded and busy, but a lot more organized than I had led to believe for a developing country.
Overall, was no different from catching a train on match day in the UK.
|The trip brief, said that travelling on a train in India would be a very unusual experience.
It certainly was for me, having come from one of the worlds most developed nations, I was completely unprepared for a spotlessly clean train, that left on time 🙂
|The train travelled through some amazing countryside.
A few years earlier, they had to stop running the train, as “bandits” dropped onto the roof, and took over the train.
Thankfully, nothing like this happened to us.
|Being unprepared as I was, 2 young people came over and seemed to want to sell me something. I shoo’d them away.
For not the first time while ravelling, I had made an arse of myself.
My friend Angela pointed out, that the journey comes with a complimentary breakfast, which they were trying to serve.
I apologized to them, and tucked into my breakfast.
As always, in a moving vehicle when you are tired, its easy to drop off. I had about 2 hours sleep, the journey was very comfortable.
I don’t know who runs the trains in India, but Richard Branson could do worse than hire them.
|We arrive at the busy station in Agra.
Considering, I had prepared myself mentally for an ordeal, the train journey, was actually one of the highlights of my trip, and I felt a bit silly.