The journey went well overall and none of us were victims to any India creepiness. The next morning with us having the first stop out of the group, I quickly wrote a note on the back of my WorldTravellerz cards and gave one to the French girls and one to the Thai girls. When we arrived in Agra we took a Rickshaw straight to The Sandya Palace Hotel which sounded great in the Lonely Planet, and with views of the Taj Mahal, It sounded magical. When we checked in and got to our room I haggled the price down from 650 rupees to 400 rupees with a last minute drop of 50 rupees which was great. We got a triple room for myself, Eliza and Krista who was coming to meet us for the weekend. The room had a large double bed but It would do! Parched, I headed up to the rooftop restaurant to get some water for Eliza and me and when I reached the top of the stairs I swear I nearly cried when I saw ahead of me. Right there was The Taj Mahal standing there pristine and perfect almost like it was placed on a green screen, It didn’t seem real. I could not believe I was standing here in the jungle style rooftop restaurant looking at one of the great wonders of the world. This is what trips are made of!
I hurried down to Eliza and told her she needed to go up, so she did, and she said the same. It was incredible. We had a few hours before Krista arrived so we showered and went for a nap, just on time for her arrival. When she arrived we were so excited. We had all met on the Thorn Tree forum previous to our travels and had been chatting throughout the time she was here. Eliza and Krista had met before I arrived but this was my first time meeting her. We got along so well and went straight up to the rooftop for lunch. She had the same reaction as us when she saw the view, It was incredible. Our day was spent at The Taj Mahal which was an amazing 5 minute walk from the hotel, literally around the corner. When we got into the Taj Mahal, I can’t even put into words how surreal it felt, and the fact that I was at ‘THE TAJ MAHAL’ just didn’t seem apparent to me at that moment. It really took a while to sink in, in fact I think it is still sinking in. We took tonnes of photos at all angles of the temple. We took tonnes of action shots, poses and scenic photos and enjoyed an absolutely breathtakingly, bright orange sunset which coloured the backdrop of the Taj Mahal pink. It was such a surreal day, one I will not forget for years to come. (The ironic thing is that as I am writing this, sat on a bunk bed on a local bus with Eliza, I look out only to notice a red hot sunset , Incredible India!) It was at The Taj Mahal that we also came to notice that our new purchases from Varanasi- were ceap for a reason. Sitting cross legged looking at the Taj we noticed the crotch of our light Indian trousers was completely gone. Eliza was the first to notice, then me and then the next day the same happened with another pair. I think I will roll the waist line up from now on to save any more pairs, losing their crotches too.
When the sun had set and we had really and truly captured the experience and the pretty pictures, we came back home, to our rooftop hotel (rated one of the best views in Agra) to have dinner and some beers. We chatted for hours and enjoyed the great atmosphere of the jungle style deck lit up, groups of people mingling and of course the silhouette of the Taj Mahal as a backdrop to our evening. It was the most perfect evening ever! Later on after having a good laugh at the action shots we took, on my computer, we all went to sleep and set our alarms for the sunrise. The next morning the skies were cloudy so the girls didn’t get to see much of a sunrise, but I guess the sunset made up for that. I, on the other hand had woken up with a severe headache and stayed in bed for another two hours which worked wonders. We spent some time at the mini Taj Mahal known as ‘The Baby Taj’. It was also very beautiful in its own right and the gardens we visited which were the backdrop for the Taj Mahal itself gave great opportunity for more Taj action shots. The gardens were beautifully laid out with trees and flowers, and had many locals and a few tourist admiring the peace and serenity. We had decided to head back to the hotel for our last supper together before we had to go our separate ways, Krista back to Faridabad and us to Jaipur.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend and I feel so lucky to have shared these lifelong experiences and memories with such great likeminded people. I am sure we will all be together again before our time is up in India, but for now we are off to Rajasthan to create more memorable experiences, and hopefully Krista will meet us here soon.
From Agra with Love x