I posted previously about my excitement about our family traveling adventure to India. I am now home and wanted to share a bit about our adventure. My giddiness was about the joy of being able to share the culture, complexities, people and history of India with 2 of my children. India is a complex, diverse, beautiful and eye opening country. We journeyed from Seattle to Mumbai (with a layover in Paris) and continued on to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and finished in Bangalore. We packed in a lot of travel and sites in just 9 days – phew!
Mumbai was fascinating. We walked from our hotel, The Taj President over to the Gateway of India and stopped off in the air conditioned lobby of the famous Taj Hotel to cool down. We shopped in Fab India, headed back to our hotel for lunch (where we ate Thali’s) and then drove to Malaap slum and visited there with Swaadhaar MFI. The children in the slum were so excited and animated to see us and wanted their photos taken. We visited with a woman who is using the loan from Swaadhaar to increase her ‘chapatti’ bread making business and visited with a man who has been able to increase the supply in his street side shop. It was an honor to meet them and to be so warmly greeted by people. I am continually impressed by the kindness and hospitality of the Indian people whom I have had the pleasure to meet. We were able to visit the slum because of Dave’s work with http://www.unitusseedfund.com.
The next day found us boarding a ferry boat at the Gateway to India and traveling over to Elephanta Island. This island has caves with various statues and carvings of gods from centuries ago. It was a beautifully hot day and it was fun to ride the ferry out of the city and visit this historic site with our kids.
The next day found us on route to Delhi. We had hired a driver and tour guide and visited Qutub Minar, the Presidents Palace and India Gate. Then it was back to the hotel for a swim in the pool. Driving around in India often takes much longer than you think.
The next day we were on our way to Jaipur, by car. This supposed 4 hour drive turned into 7 hours – that was a long drive. After checking in at The Fern Hotel, the kids needed some down time, so Dave and I went with our driver and guide and visited The CIty Palace. We met a local artist there and purchased some beautiful paintings from him. Our half hour return drive to the hotel turned into a 2 hour drive as there were government protests going on – streets were closed, and our driver got lost – not so fun. Oh the ups and downs of travel.
We were up early the next morning for our drive to The Amber Fort and our elephant ride! Yes, we waited in line to ride elephants up to the fort – it was awesome. We toured the fort, drove past the King’s summer palace and ate lunch at a Rajasthani restaurant. Then began the drive to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. This turned into a 5 – 6 hour drive. We cooled off in the pool at The Trident Hotel in Agra once we got there. The next morning we were up early for our 7 am Taj Mahal visit. It was beautiful. It is an amazing site to see. It takes about 2 hours to visit, and then we had the rest of the morning to enjoy our hotel and pool. We treated ourselves to lunch at The Oberoi in Agra before beginning the 6 hour return drive to Delhi.
We slept in Delhi and were up the next morning for our flight to Bangalore. My poor sweet daughter got food poisoning – not fun to have to fly and be sick. We tucked her into bed at The Chancery Hotel in Bangalore once we arrived. We had to cancel the original plans we had to visit with friends. I hung out and watched tv with my daughter, and supplied her with bottled water while Dave and our son went and ventured about in Bangalore. That evening Dave and I walked over to a recently opened beer garden/pub and enjoyed some delicious cold beer and lamb sliders – yum. The next morning we took our son to visit a Hindu Temple – The Bull Temple, and treated him to a burger and fries at the Oberoi Hotel in Bangalore. We were able to take our daughter shopping in the afternoon and she and I got henna tattooes together – very fun. Our final India meal was at Punjabi by Nature – an Indian restaurant in Bangalore that was very tasty – although a bit spicey for me. Then it was off to the airport for our 2 am flight home. I am thankful, and grateful to have had the opportunity to introduce my children to a ‘taste of India’.