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To Varanasi

India, Day 19 – Lucknow, Varanasi

Well, that really wasn’t too bad. I turned up at Lucknow Junction, a short walk from my hotel (staying there was a mistake – both the hotel itself and the neighbourhood were incredibly noisy – staff talking in the corridor outside my room, clattering pots and pans, traffic pretty much 24 hours a day, ten minutes of bell-ringing at five in the morning), at 6:10 am expecting to get an unreserved ticket as I’d done from Tundla. I ended up with an AC Chair class ticket (there are eight classes on Indian trains).

The carriage was clean relative to the unreserved carriage I’d been in before, but still pretty grimy by western standards. The blue, faux-leather padded seats were arranged in rows of three on one side of the aisle and two on the other (illustrating the size difference between Indian and British trains). They were numbered in a kind of sinuous fashion, which I found slightly interesting:

. 1 . 2 . 3 . . . 4 . 5
10 . 9 . 8 . . . 7 . 6
11.12.13. . .14.15
20.19.18. . .17.16 etc

The train left just after seven and I slept for the first half of the journey, then read, then tried to doze a bit more. Close to Varanasi Junction the train was held up for half an hour or so before coming into the platform at ten past two. I was beginning to feel headachey by this time as I’d drunk maybe half litre of water on the trip (and hadn’t used the toilet at all).

Once out of the station I got a prepaid (ie, you pay an official before your journey) autorickshaw (these ones are white and black, in contrast to the yellow and green ones I’ve seen in other places) and headed to my new hotel. The rickshaw left the main streets after a while and headed down some narrow paved alleys. Then we had to proceed on foot as the alleys got narrower.

The hotel, Ganga Fuji Home, is quite pleasant. It’s location in the maze of constricted passages means there’s little traffic noise. The staff are friendlier than those I’ve met at other hotels. It’s also quite close to the Ganges, which I haven’t yet seen. The TV doesn’t appear to have Animal Planet, which I’m a little disappointed about, but I’m sure I’ll survive. There’s also a balcony (all of about two feet wide), although there’s not much of a view: a tree, a bit of temple, but mainly buildings. Right at this minute there are two kids on a roof terrace directly opposite my window and about a foot from my balcony.

We’ll see what wonders Varanasi hold for me in the next few days. Incidentally, this is where I’ll be on New Year’s Eve – I wonder if there’s anything going on then.

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Categories: Travel
  1. savasana
    29 December 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Imagine how much more fun the train ride would have been if you were knitting lol!!! 😀

  2. 30 December 2007 at 9:46 am

    Lol.

    Well, what can I possibly say to that?

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