After two cold but awesome weeks in Rajasthan we had landed in paradise – Agonda beach, Goa! Look no further!
I did a lot of research on Goa before our trip since I had understood that each beach has its own ambiance. The ambiance we were looking for was a quiet, beautiful and clean beach, inviting for long peaceful beach walks, great dining by the beach at night and a relaxing atmosphere. We found all we searched for in Agonda.
We spoke to a guy that had been to almost every single beach in Goa who said this was the best! Before the popular beach Palolem, close by, used to be like this to. But that had changed. I wonder how long Agonda will stay as it is. It is true gem.
Louise & me had four beautiful days here, before we moved on to North Goa. One afternoon and night we went to Palolem for some action. (I will blog about that separate ) However, most of our time was spent simply like this….
And another day with same rythm….I want to go back!
Appendix Thank´s Louise for not giving up on getting that perfect “jump” shot.
The wonderful two weeks Rajasthan adventure had almost come to an end. Now it was just one stop left before heading back to New Delhi from where we would catch a flight down to Goa for 1 1/2 weeks well deserved warmth and relaxation.
After a rushed ride from Jaipur we finally reached Taj Mahal not too long before closing time. Even though I personally don´t have Taj Mahal as my highlight memory from those two weeks, it is a truly magic moment when you catch the first glimps of this mausoleum that took 16 years to build (ready 1648) and that frankly has no other purpose that being the grave of an old emperor and his wife.
My fingers almost froze as I tried to get a few good shots of the Taj in haze and surrounded by herds of tourist. As we circled the buried couple inside the Taj the guards shouted “move on, move on fast”. I felt like we were a crowd of livestock. But I have been there and yes, it is a beautiful sight!
Before heading back to New Delhi we stopped by a silk shop for some final shawls shopping and Sari trial time. We also stopped by yet another nice park with great architecture. Agra is supposed to have so much more to offer than Taj Mahal. But the truth is, we had seen so much and at this stage we only had one thing in our minds – the next destination – Goa, sun, sea and warmth!!! Once again thanks to Diana Tours and Travel for a very personalized and memorable tour through Rajasthan. Read more about Diana Tours and Travel in my Rajasthan summary post.
On above and below picture you see the Nahargarh fort – one of the many star attractions in the “pink city” Jaipur. We arrived here in the afternoon and only stayed one night so we had to rush through this magnificent fort, then quickly have time to take picture of some other attraction before the sun was about to set. The Nahargarh fort was one of the most interesting forts on our trip with lots of secret passages and interesting alleys.
After the quick but nice visit to the fort we stopped by the lake Sagar to get a glimpse of the Jal Mahal water palace.
No visit to Jaipur is complete without seeing the Hawa Mahal whose name means “Palace of Winds”. Here the woman of the palace harem could look out at the action on the street through the almost 100 small windows, without being seen.
After this the sun started to descend but before it got complete dark we had time for a short stroll along the Jaipur streets, watching people and monkeys and trying to avoid getting hit by vehicles of all kinds.
The next morning it was time to leave Rajasthan and head to Agra in Uttar Pradesh for a day. This is where you find the famous Taj Mahal.
We had decided to see the Taj Mahal the same day but as allways the ride was longer and more time consuming than planned. Therefore we where not happy at all when we had to visit yet another palace along the way to Agra. Below pictures are taken in this place which I don´t even remember the name of since I was just able to think about whether we where going to reach Taj Mahal before sun set or not. Looking at the pictures I actually find them quite interetsting now afterwards. It was a more pink place than Jaipur. And there where lots of the cute little squirrels all over. Animals allways cheers me up
The next stop after wonderful Udaipur was the small holy town Pushkar. Pushkar has a tiny lake in the middle of the town where so called bathing ghats leads in to the water. Locals are not very happy about tourists on the ghats and their hostile approach made us decide to stay away. I have been to Varanasi a few years ago which was a wonderful and very welcoming experience so I could live without seeing the cleaning rituals close up this time. What Pushkar is most famous for though is actually the annual Pushkar camel fair that is visited by thousands of humans and camels every year.
Pushkar to me was sandy, cold and full of con artists. Still it was something about this place that made me like it on the second day. Maybe the fact that there was nothing special to see more than cute pigs, more monkeys, camels and dogs. And lots of touristic shopping which can be nice sometimes. I never understood what this town had about pizzas. But it was famous for tasty wood fire pizzas. The days were pretty warm but the nights were freezing and after two ice cold nights a caught a terrible cold that lasted for the rest of my holiday
New Years Eve 2012 was celebrated in a alcohol free restaurant (common in holy Indian cities). Lots of men where going wild to Bollywood disco as some more where watching the “wild once” throwing of their shirts and entertaining the rest. A few confused tourists, including us, were wondering if we had ended up in a male gay disco since no women where to be seen. But physical affection between male friends in India is common.
When me and Louise started dancing we too were drawn in to this chaotic experince. It was a peculiar night, yet fun. But we were very happy when our sweet guide picked us up shortly after midnight since there was something creepy about the small Pushkar streets at night.
This weekend I went to Stockholm where an old friend of mine is living since many years. Another friend travelled up from Kalmar, our common birth town.
It was a short but very nice weekend. Most of the time were spent eating and talking old memories, but we also had time to pay a visit to the wonderful museum “Fotografiska” which is a photography museum. At the moment there was an exhibit from a photographer named Ruud van Empel, among others. I was absolutely delighted by his work.
After looking around we sat down in the cafe of the museum which had amazing views over an area called “Djurgården” and the amusement park “Gröna lund”. Full of new energy we then walked all the way back to my friends nice apartment in Vasastaden, passing through the Old Town and some nice streets on the way.
Just wanted to share a few images from this little get together
Udaipur is many´s favourite spot in Rajasthan. It is known as the romantic white lake city. We spent three nights there just relaxing. The weather was great as allways and we spent the days just walking around. We watched the main attractions, the beautiful hotel Lake Palace situated in the middle of one of the lakes and the huge palace situated opposite on the mainland. We also had time to get lost in small alleys, taking the rope way to a look out point (the long queue made us miss the sunset but it was nice anyhow…) We ate well, slept well and just enjoyed not being in the car for a change. One day we went to a great arts & craft festival held yearly, called Shilpgram. More about that below.
The James Bond movie Octopussy was shot in Udaipur, something which was notable here and there. Another thing that was very present, especially in Udaipur, was the restaurants attempts to let customers know that their food was hygienic And they also had “snakes” on the menu. But maybe not snakes as we know them…
Shilpgram is a festival organized by the government once a year where local vendors from the western part of India are gathering for more than a week to educate about their lifestyle and sell their handicraft. The area is huge and after around 2-3 hours we had not even seen half of it. While me and Louise enjoyed ourself (mainly by buying scarfs for normal Indian prices and still regretting we didn´t by even more…), so did our guide and driver. They decided to try an attraction which looked very outdated. As they where seated to enjoy the ride a technical problem was discovered and two boys started to climb the carousel to fix. This however didn´t seem to bother our dear Indian friends.
Since Shilpgram is a very local event not that many foreigners find their way there. So naturally me and Louise also became an attraction. We were approached many times to have our photos taken or to chat, evidence below. A lovely day which ended with a yet another lovely lake view, sunset over lake Pichola.
And then the road trip continued with great curries along the road sides for about 2 USD a meal. Next stop the little holy town Pushkar…
The reason for cutting one day from Jodhpur was to let us experience mountainous and green Ranakpur, famous for some incredible Jain temples. The Langur monkeys with their long long tails are seen all over Rajasthan but never as many as in Ranakpur. I just loved them! But they are a bit aggressive and best viewed from inside the car with windows up.
Most hotels we stayed in during our Rajasthan adventure were very nice. Especially the outside usually looked kind of royal. The one in Ranakpur however stood out. It had a pool and lovely green sourroundings and the sheets were clean and blankets warm. Yes, Rajasthan nights are really cold. A few times I even had to wear hat and hand gloves in bed. Fleece jumper was standard. And no matter how nice the hotels were, the sheets were often broken and full of stains (even though relatively clean). But in Ranakpur Hill Resort everything was great
The main attraction in Ranakpur is some marvelous marble Jaintemples. The details on those temples are amazing. Not seldom you can spot Kama Sutra, Indian love art, on them.
The Langur monkey is a beautiful, rather grumpy, monkey with an enormous tail. They are often spotted along the roads in some parts of Rajastan. For professional National Geographic pictures check out this page.
Ranakpur is situated in the Aravali hills. On our second day, before setting of to our next destination, we took a walk around the area. We looked at picturesque lakes, strolled through simple farm villages and spotted hords of goats. It was a great walk.
I had noticed that many poor kids asked for “cream & cookies” instead of money. I soon understood that “cream” meant schampoo. Since schampoo in the cities are sold in small “one portion” packages I had brought along some on this walk along with some cookies. The villages kids were unbelivable happy for those gifts. It is amazing how small things for me can mean so much to others. After this I allways carried along cookies and schampoo for moments like this. Below an older girl is distributing my gifts to the younger kids.
The whole drive from Ranakpur to Udaipur was very beautiful. On the way we stopped by another fantastic site, the fort Kumbalgarh, wherefrom the views over deserted landscape were breathtaking.
Despite having less than 24 hours in the blue city Jodhpur, I managed to take more interesting pictures of Indian street life than in any other place we visited. Louise and I managed to persuade our guide that we should leave later for our next destination since we wanted to take a morning walk. He agreed and after a quick breakfast me and Louise headed out on the streets to watch the beginning of a new day in Jodhpur. I feel love when I watch those pictures, they are true India for me. In the 1 1/2 hour that we walked around in the morning I had eyes big as saucers as I tried to take in all the beauty. I hope you will enjoy this Jodhpur morning walk through my eyes
Since I started blogging I have received 4 awards from other bloggers. In this blog I want to thank Snigdha, Patrick and Marco for recognizing my blog. And now it is time to give something back, including some personal facts about me
I recently received the “Blog of the Year 2012″ from Snigdha from Bangalore, India. Snigdha is a passionate traveler that just like me seem to constant be dreaming of new trips and that, also like me, finds the planning of a new trip half the pleasure. In her blog “Getsetandgo” Snigdha gives detailed insights to various destinations. Glad I found you Snigdha. Thank you for your nomination and happy travelling 2013, looking forward to read more of you
The rules for Blog of the Year 2012 Award are:
1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ award
My nominations for this award are below six blogs, in no particular order, that are all bringing me lots of pleasure in different ways:
World Music – the music journey – this is a music blog with lots of followers. And no wonder. The young German man behind this blog constantly feeds this blog with new exiting music from around the world. Through this blog I have discovered exiting music from especially Africa, that I would never have found on my own. I recently made a tab in my blog called “Music” where I am linking to World Music. To share with others but also to keep track of my favourites.
Japan in 365 days – because the man behind this photo blog takes amazing pictures of one of my absolutel favourite destinations!
Traveleum – very recently discovered this travel blog and don´t know much about the man behind it. But the photos are stunning and right now he seems to be focusing on Iran with pictures that makes you want to travel there straight away!
Red Pants And a Mustache - this Canadian expat living in Stockholm is doing a fantastic job documenting all cafeés in Stockholm in word an picture. Besides this he has a great humour. Just check this post out, one of my absolute favouites where the search engine statisctics is being analyzed When Patrick came to Göteborg for a visit I had the pleasure to meet him IRL too. Great person, great blog. Although he has been a bit absent lately. Maybe he just need a bit more traffic to get going again.
The World According to Mitzie Mee - this girl “liked” my blog just a few weeks ago and I am very thankful for that. She has developed a lifestyle blog full of joy. I get energy by looking at all colourful food pictures and random interesting discoveries. The girl behind this blog seem to have Scandinavian roots (Danish or Swedish, not sure) but is right now living in Dubai.
Retireediary – Beautiful travel pictures and text from a retired Hong Kong citizen. This blog, and especially this post, is so inspiring to any travel addict. Keep on enjoying and exploring! And my greetings and deepest respect to your 80 + father in law.
2. Write a blog post and tell nominate blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
3. Please include a link back to this page ’Blog of the Year 2012 Award’ **-– http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
Some months ago the man behing the “Red Pants And a Mustache” blog, presented me with the “Versatile blogger warad”. I am sorry Patric for taking such time to return the recognition to you. I enjoy your café blog a lot. It is a very unique idea and I am looking forward to read more from you soon Thank you for following my adventures!
About the Versatile Blogger’s Award:
The Versatile Blogger’s Award is a way for bloggers to support each other and recognize interesting and inspiring blogs. There rules to accept this award are:
- Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging
- Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award
- Share 7 random facts about yourself
- Thank the blogger who has nominated you
- Add the Versatile Award picture to your post
Those are 15 bloggers that all deserves a recognition for their nice blogs, in no particular order:
- No Excess Baggage - dedicated Philippino guy sharing travel stories
- Dave´s Photo Musings - beautiful archive of pictures, especially enjoy the wildlife photos from Africa
- Our Wanderings - two american friends discovering Europe
- Getsetandgo - well written travel blog by a passionate Indian woman
- Jacek Proniewicz travel blog - beautiful travel blog by a Polish guy
- The Reflective Indian - seems to be a great blog for some real insights about various Indian places/topics
- 23 and Unfunny - sweet travel blog by a young american girl
- Murray Foote - lovely photo/travel blog
- A lifetime´s exploration - yet another nice travel blog
- Sylphar´s gallery - rather new blog with amazing pictures
- Walking Through Wonderland - nice text and pictures from a fantastic country
- Too Mutch For Words - recently discovered travel blog that looks very interesting
- Our Adventure in Croatia - a blog filled with passion for amazing Croatia
- @1girl50states - a girl is about to travel around USA, this is where she will blog about her adventures
- on the road with Animalcouriers - such a sweet idea for a blog, lots of “feel good” for animal lovers
7 random fact about me:
1. I am the only child, no brothers or sisters
2. I like animals more than kids
3. I don´t have a pet but I love dogs and most animals, apart from mosquitos and other stinging insects
4. 17 different kinds of frogs are for display in my apartment
5. I lost 6 kilos recently by eating only fat & protein (the LCHF diet).
6. Almost the only litterature I am reading is travel related, and sometimes a self biography
7. I have been told I can move my body like a Latina, that is a compliment that made me truly proud
There seems to be different kinds of Liebster Blog awards circulating. I have received two different once, one from the kind man mentioned above that presented me the Versatile blogger Award. Thank you again Patric, alias “Red Pants And a Mustache”. I also received a Liebster Blog Award from a blogger I just discovered and that I am so exited to have found. It is an Italian man called Marco who seem to have given up a safe enviroment in Italy for a completely new challenge. He quit his job and moved to Beijing to learn Chinese. Wow! Thanks Marco! Don´t miss his “Oriental Journey”.
The rules for the two are pretty similar so I have decided to combine them. The logo number two below, that came with the nomination from Marco, has a few more steps and since I like challenges I stick to those rules.
The award is given to a blog with less than 200 followers that deserves a little more recognition:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
3. Copy & Paste the award to your blog .
4. List 11 Random Facts about yourself. => OK, here we go again:
- I am currently learning Brazilian Portuguese
- I have a dream to once be able to live a few years in Brazil
- I love house music, I used to club a lot when I was younger, not as much anymore
- If I could have any job, I would like to be a travel reporter
- I am learning Bachata, this couple dancing “Bachatango” (different style) are enchanting me
- I love chilli, sometimes I long for the burning feeling in my mouth
- I love to take really hot baths, like in Japan
- I am very social but also need a big portion of alone time
- I have claustrophobia and fear to be “trapped”
- I like to sing and would join a choir if I had time
- When I cannot sleep I use my pillow with tags on, so called “nail pillow” which relaxes body& mind
5. Answer the questions asked by the blogger who nominated you. => OK Marco, here are my answers to you:
- How old are you? Still 36 for another few month
- What makes you nostalgic? Looking in old school photo directories together with my long time childhood friend, remembering the teenage times…
- Who made the last incoming call on your phone? My “samba friend” Hilary
- Are you in love? Most of the time
- Do you like to travel? Travel is my biggest passion in life
- Have you ever been in Italy? if yes where? Yes, to Sicily and Rimini, I would love to discover more
- Whats your lucky number? Don´t have one
- Do you like pizza? Yes, Sweden is famous for their terrific pizzas, I like them more than Italian
- Do you remember your dreams? Lately yes, I am a great performer of Bachata in my dreams
- What historical period would you like to live in if you could go back in time? Oh, going back in time does not appeal at all to me. But going into the future would be exiting
- What did you do for your last birthday? For the first time in a few years time I did not have a party. I took it easy and in fact, had a wonderful pizza with a friend and a nice beachwalk in the fresh air
6. Nominate 5 blogs that you enjoy to receive the award and who have less than 200 followers => well since I have been nominated twice I like to nominate 10 amazing “less than 200 followers” blogs that all deserve recognition, in no particular order:
- Two Flightless Birds – discovered this blog just last week, sure it´s gonna get many followers very soon because the concept is so exiting!
- It´s all Michael Palin´s fault - great travel blog which seems to be a bit on hold but as soon as it gets more active again I don´t want to miss out.
- The Paolo Project - very nice and well written travel blog by a young philippine guy.
- 4 feet 2 mouths - amazing pictures, great writing, just a travel blog to love!!!
- Oriental journey - an Italian that left his old life in Italy behind to start a new in Beijing, can only be interesting reading! Yes Marco, now you get the Liebster award back but since I was nominated twice I thought why not
- In and Out of Weeks - recently started to follow, seems to be a very beautiful travel blog, amazing portraits from Africa.
- Finding Fukuoka - came across this blog before my last Japan trip when searching for Fukuoka info. Great blog!
- Girl in Provence – nice photo blog from France, written by a California girl.
- Hinds Feet on High Places – a very new blog that I am looking forward to see more of. Starting with Tokyo was at least very good to catch my attention
- About Addis Ababa – found this blog today and I already love it! Unique insight to a country I want to learn more about!
7. List 11 questions for your nominees.
- What would be your dream profession if you could choose any?
- What kind of music do you listen to?
- Do you like dancing? If yes, what?
- Do you go to bed early or late?
- What is the household task that you dislike the most?
- How many hours do you spend on wordpress.com each week?
- How do you prefer to spend your Friday evening?
- Which languages do you speak?
- What are your three favourite places on earth?
- What is your favourite restaurant where you live?
- How are you feeling right now, at this very moment?
8. Inform them of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog.
With this a big thank you to my followers for enjoying my travel journey and a congratulation too all of you mentioned in this blog I am very glad to have discovered each and one of you! With this I give you a self portrait from Kurokawa onsen town in Japan, last fall. This is me feeling absolutely thankful to life and all the beauty just waiting to be discovered.
In most places me and Louise visited in Rajasthan we had to take care from people wanting something from us. After all, Rajasthan is one of the most touristic areas in India, and some locals take advantage of naive tourists to their benefit. Once we drove in to the center of Jodhpur what stroke me was the chaos. Jodhpur is a rather big city, and there are cars, people, rickshaws and cows everywhere. Not to forget all the beeping motorbikes, and even a camel here and there. Luckily our hotel was tucked away on a quiet oneway road.
We decided to take an easy evening walk on the mainstreet close to the hotel while there was still some light. To see some streetlife and locate ourself. Both me and Louise prepared ourself mentaly, grabbed our cameras and started to walk. First focus was avoiding getting hit by vehicles or walking in cowshit. But even though chaotic we soon discovered a very genuin feeling. We saw no tourists at all and the regular Jodhpur life was ongoing in each corner. Along both sides of the street, vendors of all kinds held various businesses. Since the spaces they are occupying are so small, the most common way is a store where you simply sit down on a matress or similar. We where amazed. It was chaotic and noisy and still so charmig and beautiful. As we we saw the boys on the picture above I said to Louise ” I really want to take a picture of them. I will offer them some money afterwards” . I went up to them and with a smile they allowed me to take their picture. When I handed over some Rupies they refused and instead held up their cellphones and said they wanted a picture of us in retun. We where speechless. After this we decided to simply ask people to take their picture without offering money. But just a smile. And it worked! And it worked everywhere in Jodhpur. Not a single time people tried to ask us for something in return. So this small evening walk turned out to be one of my highlights in Rajasthan. Explaining this to our guide was very difficult. I guess Indian people themself cannot believe how simple street life can be more interesting than a temple sometimes
Also next post will be dedicated to Jodhpur streetlife. Jodhpur morning walk