Chapter 23 The One With Our Final Stop ; The Taj Mahal

Starting very early at 5am we began our trip to Agra and our final stop at the Taj Mahal! Our first train was super cosy and we lay on our little bunks catching up on our sleep with a decent few hours napping! We were however pretty ravenous having not eaten since our kachouri the previous afternoon and having rinsed our usual supplies of cashews, biscuits and dairy milk! So, as soon as we reached Jaipur we headed straight for a massive portion of our favourite Chloey bhature and some hot and spicy samosas for about 70p for the both of us. Super full and ready to get on to Agra we checked the departure board and as always there was a delay of an hour to our train. Slowly however as the afternoon went on we had been waiting at the station for 5 hours sat by a bin on the platform while people used the tracks as toilets and came to sit and stare at us still with no sign of our train! 
Finally as the sun set the 12404 to Agra pulled up but we had to wait for another hour for it to be cleaned – of course being India this meant swishing dirty water on the windows and flooding the carriages with toilet cleaner while we continued to wait with increasingly less patience! When we finally found our seats we used our usual stress cures – Harry Potter, Bourbons (controversially better in India), and games of if you were in M&S right now what would you buy! Hours that felt like days later we pulled in to Agra and with the usual ‘Taxi driver unsure as to where our hostel was’ scenario we made it into bed at about 3am ready for our 5am alarm… That was a STRUGGLE! Exhausted but excited we joined our queues for tickets and headed into through the huge red gated arch to the Taj Mahal. Our advice from Charlotte and Josh was to head to the let of the building for the less tourist filled photo opportunities (check out theirs on their travel instagram @thespindrifters ). Dutifully we pushed past the crowds and had our first glimpse of the magnificent building. It was much bigger than I had imagined with beautifully neat gardens and geometric pools leading up to it. Up close it wasn’t white as I had thought but covered in tiny delicate inlaid roses winding around the entire structure. We spent the morning exploring watching the sunrise above the Taj Mahal itself and taking all of the photos we could before heading back to our hostel for breakfast. Our last stop being the Taj Mahal was a pretty perfect ending we thought!
Perhaps after such a dire day of travel the day before the transport gods were looking down on us as we managed to score two bargain seats in a private taxi with an Aussie traveller to Delhi! No more trains or busses for us! Granted, The journey was 4 hours without AC but we made it to Delhi and to our final rather luxurious private room to repack before our goodbyes the following day! Following more recommendations from fellow travellers (look at the real life travellers we have become!) we took a taxi ride to Cafe Farzi in Connaught Place which was apparently the happening place to be in Delhi. We were greeted by a Heston-goes-to-India style menu and paired our Kingfisher beers with elegantly plated katchouri, soft paneer in the guise of mozzarella dippers and these yoghurt ‘shots’ nestled in a bed of dry ice! When the theatre of our meal was finally over we headed back to our cosy hotel bed. To fittingly reflect the style of my blog post titles we managed to find an episode of Friends on our tiny Indian TV and fell asleep perfectly satisfied!
Our final morning was spent nostalgically reflecting on such a perfect month and planning to reunite after Sara’s time in Sri Lanka and Australia and mine in Nepal, Japan and Korea. Not a bad life hey! It was ace to say both of us had a little cry as we waved goodbye at my gate but India it has been WONDERFUL and WEIRD to have known you. I hope we meet again soon!

A

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