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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


India : We are hooked !

After only 10 days in India, we felt like we had been for ages in the country. We actually had some hard time understanding the people who chooses to travel around it for months or even years. But as the weeks went by, we have become to enjoy this complex country more and more and, now that the time to leave it has come, we have to admit that we'd have loved our stay to be longer than 43 days.

From Amritsar, we headed for Rajasthan, a State that stretches across an arid land and is scattered with impressive fortified palaces. The forts were built to resist all kind of hurdles by lineages of Maharajas that, as any feudal lord worth its name, spent their time fighting and planning marriages among them and with the Mughals. When the English took over the declining Mughol empire, they still managed to kept their luxurious way of life well into the 20th century, which I guess is why the palaces are rather well preserved.

Seen from outside, the forts look sober and massive. But once inside the city walls you find yourself wandering around intricate streets, small squares and palaces filled with courtyards, corridors, blind windows from where women could see without being seen, Turkish baths and richly carved walls that conjure up images from the Book of One Thousand and One Nights.

The towns that surround the palaces have each a predominant colour that confers it a certain harmony : pink in Jaipur, blue in Jodhpur or white in Udaipur. But the one I liked the most was Jaisalmer, where the stone facades are so finely carved that they look like wood, and the yellowish sandstone buildings blurs into the surrounding desert.

While touring the area, we visited a few 19th century Havelis (traditional mansions) where the period furniture and interior decoration shows the penchant for psychedelic ornamentation of their wealthy owners, we loafed around bazaars and went to a couple traditional puppet and dance shows. We discovered also the importance that turbans and distinguished-looking mustaches had in the region : the color, length and the way the former is knotted, as well the shape of the latter, indicate the social status, the occupation and even the religion of the bearer. In the same way, the colors of the sari a woman wears will depend on the season and her civil status.

Before going back to Mumbai, and with the thermometer rising over the 40° mark(although it is not until may-june that the temperatures go completely loony), we did a last stop in the capital of Gujarat State, Ahmedabad. Even if it is mainly an industrial city, it has got an amazing collection of old Indian textiles worth the visit, an interesting guided tour of the historical center and the Ashram (retreat) that was Gandhi's headquarters for a period of his life.

But the highlight of our visit to this town laid in the lovely family that hosted us via couchsurfing. Staying with Rushir gave us the chance to share a few days with a typical Indian family, in which wedded couples settle with the husband's parents. All of them went out of their way to make our visit enjoyable, to the point of taking us along to an wedding dressed with clothes they lent us. We even got a ride in a sidecar, driven skillfully by the senior lady of the house. A true immersion in the great Indian hospitality.

A couple of additional days visiting Mumbai and staying wagain at Louella's and we have to say goodbye to this country. We hope to comeback sometime in future because we have left so much unvisited. And this time, we will come with empty suitcases so I can strip bare bazaars at ease. For now, we continue our route, heading back to Southeast Asia, and more in particular, for Thailand.