02.03.2015 - 03.03.2015
It helped that we had a free day the next day - we could all have a bit of a lie in! We were due to leave the hotel at 7pm to catch the overnight train, so after checking out at 12.00, those that wanted to could go and explore the city a little more. We decided to go to the Red Fort, which was very similar to the Amber Fort in Jaipur. It was a stunning red brick compound, with a centre of marble. My only regret of the trip is that we didn't get a guide to show us around. It was still amazing to look at, but having someone to tell you the stories and the history of what we were looking at would have been much better. I did, however, get to feed a chipmunk whilst we were there!!! They are just so cute and tiny! A man poured some biscuit crumbs in my hand, and up hopped the teeny little thing and nommed away! I wanted to steal him! Ha!
It was then time to get back to the hotel to pick up some snacks for the train ride. An experience we were all both excited and terrified by! We arrived at the station, which was huge, only to discover that our train was delayed by 45 minutes. So we had lots of sitting around, in non-air conditioned heat. Our train eventually arrived, and we all piled on to find all kinds of people, families and bags in our assigned seats/beds. Luckily Bikash was on hand to explain that those were our seats, and as soon as they'd all finished eating their delicious looking table picnics, they moved off to find somewhere else. The sleeper train didn't have compartments, as such, just areas with 8 beds. 2 along one side of the train and 6 running perpendicular to the other side, 3 on each side. The middle bed was flat against the back wall, to allow people to sit on the bottom bed like a usual bench seat, which then swung up, and attached to chains from the ceiling, to make a middle bunk. The main walkway through the train was down the middle. No doors, no curtains, just beds and people! It was cozy to say the least. I was up on the top bunk, with another girl from the group opposite me. She looked very unimpressed with the whole situation! Actually it was rather fun - once we'd got our heads around it all! People came and went throughout the night, not that I noticed too much - as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was asleep! The night soon went, and we were up and ready to leave. The train had been much slower than expected, so our 12 hour journey turned into a 17 hour one! By the time we arrived at our next hotel in Varansi at about midday, we were shattered.