The Ultimate Monument to Love - and the Taj Mahal

Trip Start May 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 03, 2012

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The night train

Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Monday, May 21, 2012

(S) Today is the day! Up at 4:30 in the morning and our hotel arranges for our tickets and a quick golf cart ride to the gate. Our hotel is literally that close – all it takes is a golf cart ride. We stand in the security line, women in one, men in the other. I am the first female in line. We get in and there she is, the Taj Mahal in the early morning light. The sun is not visible yet, but the light is perfect. That early, we had so many parts of it completely to ourselves. She brings gasps and takes your breath away with each new vantage point as the sun rises.

Every photo I have seen of this beautiful monument to love is beautiful. But like nowhere I have ever been before, the photos do not compare in the slightest to seeing it in person. That said, I hope you enjoy the photos, because my feeble words do even less for this place than the photos.

We journeyed back to our hotel around 8 in the morning and had breakfast, then retreated to our room and our balcony. We also spent some quality time at the pool, but since it was 115 degrees in Agra (yes, you read that correctly: 115) today, we didn't do much.

Our night train was to leave at 5:45 and we got a ride from the hotel. Our driver didn’t even want to drop us off – he was too concerned that we were getting there 40 minutes before our train was to leave. It appears no one who stays at the Oberoi also takes the train. Well, except for us. He finally did let us out of the car, but only after he went in and found out our train was delayed 20 minutes. Oh good – that adds up to an hour from now. And it’s 115 degrees. We had nowhere else to go, since it’s 25 minutes to the hotel, so we went inside, and sat on our bags on the platform with everyone else. Our train turned out to not just be 20 minutes late. By the end it was over an hour late, which means we sat on the platform for nearly 2 hours, watching the monkeys climb all over the place. But, we made lots of friends, mostly curious and adorable little girls who like to talk to us. Thank goodness for them, too. At the last minute, our train ended up being at a different platform and since we couldn’t understand the announcements over the loud speaker, the little girls alerted me to it. And we made it on the night train to Udaipur.

Our hotel had kindly packed us a lunch, so we ate ham sandwiches with the crusts cut off (!) and potato chips. What strange train food in India, but we were glad to have it.

We shared a 4 berth car with two Indian women, who played cards and talked loudly late into the night. It turned out they were getting off at midnight so wanted to stay awake. The rocking of the train put me right to sleep anyway and I slept pretty soundly on my top bunk all the way to Udaipur, barely noticing when a nice couple got on when the two women got off.

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threadbaresoul on

115 HUMID degrees...
Bless your hearts.
The women playing cards...that's the irritating thing to you but the the interesting thing to me!

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