On August 4th 2015, we left the comforts of Chiang Mai to do a 10 week backpacking trip around India. Travelling in India was always on our agenda and having booked the flight from Bangkok to Mumbai last year when we were in Ecuador, there was no turning back.
Given the fact that our travelling agenda for the 10 weeks was pretty full on coupled with the fact that maintaining the business was our top priority, we kind of knew that the blog would be somewhat neglected for them few weeks.
We were totally okay with this as we also wanted to enjoy our time in India and take it all in as much as we possibly could and stressing over having to write blog posts would have definitely got in the way of that.
So, instead of putting pressure on ourselves to continue our weekly posting schedule, we figured that we’d post a photo a day on our Facebook page to keep everyone informed of what was going on.
Every photo that we posted on Facebook is listed in this photo series in chronological order below along with a snippet of info/our thoughts that accompanied the photo when we posted it.
In order to keep the file size of this post down, all the photos have been reduced in quality.
Here’s how it played out!
Day #1: A near miss…
It’s day number 1 in India and things are already hectic! To make a long story short, we arrived at the airport in Mumbai in plenty of time for our next flight to Goa only to realise (a mere 30 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave) that we were in the wrong airport.
Luckily, the 2 airports were only 10kms apart and we made the flight with just minutes to spare. You’d think with all this travelling, we wouldn’t make rookie mistakes like this!
How and ever, we’re here. We’ve just had our first meal in India and we’re looking forward to getting some shut eye tonight in prep for the adventure that lies ahead.
P.S. This pic was taken before we realised we were in the wrong airport (hence the smiley head on Carlo!)
Day #2: Blue skies and first impressions…
Yeah – blue skies! It’s monsoon season in Goa at the minute but, despite this, between all of the rain showers this morning, we enjoyed a 2-3 hour window of blue skies and a warm breeze. We hit the almost-deserted beach that’s adjoined to our hotel and walked the length of the shore.
Southern Goa is really beautiful so far and although it’s extremely quiet, I can see how this area would be an amazing place to relax and unwind when the monsoon finishes.
Day #3: Crazzzzy tuk-tuks…
Having had a few near misses in the back of tuk-tuks in Thailand and having heard about the craziness of drivers in India, we had anticipated that getting around would be less than comfortable.
Well, 3 days in and we were right! We’ve already had a few too-close-for-comfort interactions with other tuk-tuks on the road. The drivers are generally oblivious to having passengers in the back and literally drive like they’re in some sort of ‘who-can-be-the-craziest-driver’ competition.
On the down side, an accident is highly likely but on the plus side, it’s good footage for the go-pro!!
Day #4: Chillin’ out…
Today we came across these 3 men who were chillin’ out while having tea and smoking cigarettes together on the side of the road. They told us that they meet here every morning at the same time to discuss what’s going on in the neighbourhood and the country. They were really friendly and asked us to join in on their conversation and have a cup of chai with them.
Unfortunately, we had another bus to catch and had to soldier on to the bus stop. Next time gents – next time!
Day #5: Hot and sticky…
Because of the fact that we don’t like to plan things too far in advance coupled with the fact that the trains are booked out weeks in advance in much of the country, our plan is to travel mostly by bus and plane (when it’s cheap enough).
Today, we took our first 7hr journey on a bus that advertised that it had air-con but then the driver told us that “it broke – it broke – just sit” so it wasn’t long until things got hot and sticky. Extremely hot and sticky. But that didn’t stop me – (much to Carlo’s annoyance) I still managed to squeeze in around 5 hours sleep on a very bumpy road with lots of honking traffic!! #feelingrefreshed
Day #6: Meet Cheetah…
Cheetah was our driver for today. He has been driving his tuk-tuk for more than 12 years now and says that the money he makes just about supports himself, his wife and his two children. Cheetah’s real name isn’t really ‘Cheetah’ of course and he said that he goes by this nick-name so that tourists can pronounce his name easily. Nice touch!
We’re realising that a tour guide isn’t always necessary in India as many of the tuk-tuk drivers are extremely knowledge about their local area and are more than happy to share this info with tourists at a much cheaper cost than what a tour company can do it for.
Day #7: Switching off…
We left the laptops at home today and wandered around some ancient ruins with just the camera and the GoPro for company. As much as we don’t mind working on the laptops and as much as we like to be connected to the internet all of the time (Carlo especially!), it’s nice to just switch off sometimes and not be connected or contactable.
I have to say that it was nice to enjoy our surroundings of the ancient ruins near Hampi and take it all in with zero distractions. The humidity was intense today which caused me to slack behind Carlo (a lot!), which was a good thing or else I wouldn’t have snapped this pic! I’m thinking we should leave the phones at home more often 🙂
Day #8: Deep in thought…
We came across this young guy today who seemed to be very deep in thought to the point that he almost looked sad. After taking the pic, he called us over as he wanted to see how he looked on camera. His little smile was the seal of approval that we needed and he gave us the thumbs up and returned to his space beside the doorway.
I’m starting to think that we should travel with a polaroid camera as I’d just love to have given him his own copy of the picture in the hope that he’d have that same smile every time he looks at it.
Day #9: Feeling overwhelmed…
We’re 9 days in now and I can already tell that India is going to leave a lasting impression on me. I’m just not sure if it’s going to be a good one or a bad one yet!!
I’m feeling a little overwhelmed today. I’m missing our apartment in Chiang Mai, I’m missing good food and I’m missing routine. India is like no where that we’ve ever been before and the busyness and level of noise has me worn out. Literally.
So today we stayed in our not so luxurious room and binged on Netflix and out-of-date chocolate bars. Tomorrow, we will brave the stares and the craziness with a fresh outlook. Let’s just hope the out-of-date chocolate bars don’t do any damage!!
Day #10: Our favourite place to visit…
If you haven’t noticed already, local markets are our favourite place to visit when we arrive into a new place. It’s where locals go about their day-to-day business and a morning people-watching at a market can teach you so much about local culture. The excellent photo opportunities and the availability of fresh fruit and veg are added bonuses of course!
Day #11: Prying eyes…
We could feel some prying eyes on us today while catching up with some work in a cafe and I looked up to see this!! There’s no such thing as taking a ‘sneak peak’ here in India. If people want to know what you’re doing, they’ll generally just stand and stare – just like these 2 guys did for almost an hour today!!
Day #12: Steering clear…
It’s been almost 2 weeks since we touched down in Mumbai and we have yet to taste the street food. We’ve read mixed reports about eating it and with some people saying, “you MUST try it” to others who say “steer clear” of it, we are feeling a little apprehensive about getting stuck in.
Although it smells good and chances are that it would taste good too, we’re going to give it a miss for now anyway as we just don’t want to chance getting food poisoning or any other nasty side effect that it might cause. We’ve managed to avoid having an upset stomach until now so we’re not willing to jeopardise that!
Day: #13 Can I have a picture?
Being a foreigner in India gives us a small taste of what being a celebrity must feel like. Whether we’re at the supermarket, walking down the road or visiting a temple (like we did today,) locals want to have their photos taken with us.
It’s mostly families that ask and at first it felt a little awkward, but now it feels totally normal to stand in a group family photo with people that we’ve never met before!
Day: #14 Catching up with work
Today was a full day of catching up with work in Mysore. Having heard nightmare stories about the Internet connection in India, we were worried about managing the work side of things. And while there have been a few outbreaks of #wifirage over the past 2 weeks, it’s really not as bad as we anticipated it to be.
After spending most of the day today in Cafe Coffee Day, we’re free to explore Mysore Palace and the other highlights of the city tomorrow.
Day #15 Holy COW!
We’ve seen them sitting at roundabouts, perched outside tea houses and even waiting in line at local food stands. While having lunch with a local lady today, we couldn’t resist and asked her the burning question of “Who owns the cows?!”
She told us that the majority of the cows leave their owners in the morning and wander the streets for the day and then, when they’ve got their business done around town, they casually return home (by themselves) in the evening time. The longer I watch these animals, the more streetwise I realise they are – this guy casually strolled by us today to get to the park where he stood under the trees until the rain eased off. #asyoudo
Day #16: The Garlic Lady
Visiting the local markets is one thing that we love to do as they’re always a good indication of how daily life operates. Today we befriended this old woman who was hand shifting garlic in the food market in Mysore. #incredibleIndia
Day #17 Warm Hospitalities
It’s days like these that make us smile the most. Tonight we had the pleasure of going for dinner with our friend Trupti at her parents house here in Mysore. We thoroughly enjoyed the food, the conversation, the genuine hospitality and we loved getting to know some funny things about Indian culture that we weren’t aware of. #peopleareamazing #alwayslearning #travelisgoodforthesoul #happyfriday
Day #18 – Bamboo Ladders
Who says a big warehouse or shop is needed to run a business? This man sat quietly on the side of a busy road today making some very strong, but delicate looking bamboo ladders. He smiled at us and then tried to sell us one. Unfortunately, he was left disappointed as a ladder just isn’t something that we need when backpacking #nicetrythough
Day #19: Constant Battle
We definitely spend a lot more time than we want to negotiating over the price of rickshaws and buses these days. And while some people might say “just pay the extra-it’s not a lot of money”, we hate being charged 2/3/4 times the correct fare. Carlo has become quite the haggler since arriving in India and managed to get this guy down to the correct bus fare today after he was initially trying to charge us 200 Rupees extra.
Day #20 Light-bulb Moment
After seeing this sign in #Kochi today, we finally realised why we like cafes and cake so much – It’s because we don’t want to get kidnapped! #SoundsReasonable #StaySafeAndEatCake
Day #21: Hard at work
All throughout India you’ll see women out working long hours in fields all day every day…regardless of the weather conditions we were told!
Day #22: Behind the Scenes
Today was one of our best days in #India so far. The guys from goMowgli took us on a behind the scenes tour of Fort Kochi where we got to watch the local fishermen bring in their catch of the day – much to the delight of the awaiting crowds who couldn’t wait to get the obligatory bartering underway. Other highlights included a trip to a local village, the spice markets and a visit to the local traditional pharmacist (more on that later).
Getting a behind the scenes look at a town/city is something we always try to do so big thanks to Karan and the guys for making it so easy (and enjoyable) for us in Fort Kochi. #PicsToFollow #backpackIndia #nextstopwhoknows
Day #23 The Waiting Game
We sat and watched this guy for well over 40 minutes. It was early morning and he sat patiently looking out over the fishermans pier. Like a lot of other people on shore, this man was waiting for the fishermen to return from sea with their catch for the day. We were told by a local that he regularly buys loads of small fish at the auction and then sells them on.
As we watched more and more fishing boats return home EMPTY to the harbour, the look of disappoitnment on the mans face became more obvious.
Opressing my feelings of sympathy for him, I thought to myself, why doesn’t he stop playing the ‘waiting game’ and take control of the situation?
You see, all this time spent waiting and depending on the fishermen to bring in the catch could be spent in a more productive way. He could get his own nets, build his own boat (even just a small one) or gather the money with some of his friends to rent one of the many boats in the harbour – this way he could go fishing himself and not be totally reliant on the other fishermen for his little business.
Yes, there might be days where he would come home from sea empty handed too (just like the fishermen had done on this morning), but the difference is that he’d be the one that’s in control of his own destiny.
Then it got me thinking – we were just like this man in a way. Before leaving home 2 years ago, we too were waiting for someone to come along and tell us how to set up an online business to sustain a travel lifestyle. But that someone never came along and we grew tired of waiting so we took control and made it happen.
We are all guilty of playing the waiting game – waiting for our luck to change….waiting for the start of next month to start a new diet….waiting for another year to quit that horrible job….waiting for a best friend to call/text first as you were the one that text them last – it’s nothing but wasted time! Time is the most valuable commodity that we’ve got so we shouldn’t spend it waiting for things to happen and fall into place.
Day #24: Old friends, First meeting
Back when we started our online business in late 2012, this guy here played an integral role in helping us get things moving in the direction we wanted to go. As we were totally new to the whole freelancing/outsourcing game, we knew from working with Naveen that if we could find a solid team that we could trust as much as we could trust him, then we’d have a real shot at making our online business idea work.
He’s since moved on and now has his own digital marketing agency here in Kerala.
Today, nearly 3 years down the road we finally got to meet up with him!
Naveen and his mother invited us to their house for dinner to celebrate Onam – which is a Hindu festival celebrated in Kerala. We got to sample a delicious Indian meal and hear some stories about the origins of the Onam festival.
It’s moments like these that we love experiencing on our travels. Being able to learn about different cultures and traditions along the way is one of the main reasons we love travelling so much.
Thanks very much Naveen for everything you’ve done for us.
Day #25: Feelings of Sadness
While yesterday marked the main day of the much-anticipated Hindu Onam Festival here in #Kerela, the small community of Fort Kochi is steeped in sorrow and have postponed the celebrations until next week.
On Wednesday, a passenger boat collided with a fishing boat – a collision which caused the passenger boat to sink with more than 40 people on board. Unfortunately, 4 women, 2 men and 2 kids lost their lives in the incident.
The local lady that we stayed with in Fort Kochi told us that all of the victims were from the same area and we really felt her deep sadness as she explained that nothing like this has ever happened before in the history of the small community.
Day #26: Small Gatherings
We arrived to our homestay today in Allappey and our host, Joseph, told us to go down to the beach that there would be a ‘small’ gathering there for the local music festival. So, off we went only to find close to 1 million (ok, that’s a slight exaggeration) people on the beach! Even so, we enjoyed the evenings entertainment and I’m sure our snapchat followers will agree that the sunset at the beach was quite beautiful.
If you want to join us over on Snapchat you can find us at ‘nxtstopwhoknows’
Day #27: Double celebrations
Today, August 31st, is a very special day for us both. We’re celebrating 10 years of going out and having spent as much time together as we have over the last 10 years, it is definitely worthy of celebration! We’ve also cracked our first 5 figure month with our online business which is a huge milestone for us. For the day that’s in it, we’ve rented a houseboat and will be sailing the backwaters of Kerala for the next 24 hours. #nextstopwhoknows
Day #28: We’ve been uber-ised!
Perhaps we’re a little slow to catch on to this craze but we’re just starting to regularly use the taxi app “uber” and we love it! If you plan on travelling in India and want to avoid the haggling and overcharging that getting a rickshaw usually involves , why not give uber a go? While it’s only available in the big cities for now, it has all still saved us a fair penny and a lot of time since we started using it. Other bonuses include an air con vehicle, a real ETA on the journey, a set price and a driver who actually knows where they’re going (well mostly!) And while you might think that it’s a lot more expensive to get around with uber, the prices are so much cheaper than what you’d pay in a metered rickshaw #nobrainer
Have you guys ever used uber? Or any other similar taxi app?
Day #29: Following suit…
So, there was a nationwide strike in India today which caused everywhere to shut up shop for the day. So, we did what we thought was best…we followed suit by holding our own strike from the laptops and we relaxed on these deck chairs for most of the day! BTW, this little gem of a spot costs just €20 a night including breakfast (for 2) and all rooms come with a jacuzzi bath. I’m not joking. #NowThatsWhatICallValueForMoney #hotellife #photooftheday
Day #30: A man of many badges!
Sooooo… this guy just walked into the departure lounge in the airport and we figured that, given his 1,000 badges, he was obviously here to fly planes. Instead he just sat down and turns out he is just another regular (but very important looking) passenger. Now to stare a little harder to find out what all these badges are about! P.S. Check out those fancy airport armchairs! #photooftheday
Day #31: Onam celebrations
While we were in Kerala last week during the Onam festival we had the pleasure of being invited to a mates home for a traditional dinner.
Afterwards, their neighbours saw us and invited us into their home to see them dance and enjoy the day that was in it. We love experiencing these small yet memorable occasions on our travels as it gives us a small glimpse into other cultures from a different angle. #onam #nextstopwhoknows #incredibleindia
Day #32: I never knew…
While touring Fort Kochi with goMowgli, we had the pleasure of meeting this guy – the local ‘pharmacist.’ A very proud and quiet man, he has been healing and treating the locals of the community for decades with age-old lotions and potions that are made using spices and herbs including turmeric, cinnamon, coriander and ginger. I was kind of hoping that one of us would suddenly feel nauseous so that we could test one of the potions but judging by the respect the locals give this man and his ancient family recipes, he has got to be doing something right!
I never knew that rubbing the cut root of a ginger plant on the scalp can prevent hair loss and that cinnamon sticks can be used to treat nausea and diarrhoea. Were you aware that Indian spices had such strong medicinal properties?
Day #33: Just in time…
While visiting the ancient ruins of #hampi a few weeks ago, we were sitting in the back of a rickshaw and being thrown around like a pair of runners in a washing machine when we saw this lady. Resting against a tree while sewing with the ancient ruins as her backdrop, it made for the most perfect setting for a pic opportunity.
We stopped for a few seconds in traffic which gave Carlo just enough time to take the snap. It wasn’t until we put it on the laptop until we noticed the true beauty of the photo – The backdrop… The sky… Them colours…
Thankfully the image came out pretty sharp considering we were being thrown around in the back of the rickshaw and this photo is our favourite of our Indian adventure so far. Maybe a Taj Mahal sunrise pic will top it? #letswaitandsee
Day #34: Little luxuries…
For us one of the little luxuries we enjoy while travelling is going to the cinema and, regardless of what country we’re in, we always try to squeeze in a movie or 15 where possible! Today, whilst waiting for our laundry, we decided to go to the mall in #Chennai and watch No Escape with Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan.
This movie was filmed in Chiang Mai when we were there 2 years ago and it covers the story of a military coup which sees the locals hunting down foreigners and executing them. Apart from the frightening storyline, it was cool to see the moat and the Chiang Mai skyline on the big screen and if you put aside the monotone of Owen Wilsons voice, it’s a really tense movie and is definitely worth a watch.
On another note, the cinema ticket cost less than €2 each and the comfy and AC’d movie theatre was a welcome from the 30 degrees of the midday sun. #photooftheday #nextstopwhoknows
Day #35: Cafe hustling..
Trying to combine work and travel isn’t as easy as you may think. Due to the nature of our online business, we need regular access to an Internet connection and coffee!
This is where cafes come to our rescue!
So far in India we’ve been super productive with work while also managing to jump around from place to place every few days.
We constantly try and balance work vs play as best we can but some days, a big dose of cafe hustling is needed! #cafehustling #nextstopwhoknows #backpackindia
Day #36: Thinking outside the box…
Today was another work day in #pondacherry and as we do, we scouted out one of the recommended coffee shops in the area – Cafe Ole. Upon entering, we noticed the sign which you see in this photo and thought why would they advertise that someone else is serving better coffee than them? I couldn’t resist asking this question to the owner who politely replied “every other coffee shop in the area claims to have the best coffee, so while no one can actually claim to really hold that title, we can say that we definitely have the second best coffee in Pondacherry.”
Now that’s thinking outside the box! And as you can see from the pic, he’s very proud to offer his customers the second best coffee in the area. After a few long laptop days, we’re finally going to get out and do some exploring here tomorrow and as this city was used for some scenes in the filming of ‘The Life Of Pi’… I cannot wait for it. #photooftheday
Day #37: Gimme some…
So, we told you guys the story of the cow before and how they like to spend their days. Well, whilst out exploring #Pondacherry today, we came across this guy. He casually crossed the road without checking for oncoming traffic and rocked up to this fruit and flower stand.
He stood… He waited… Nothing happened. So then, he lifted his head and kind of grunted as if to say “hurry up already… I know you’ve got something for me now gimme some!”
The lady smiled, washed her hands and fed the cow a big bunch of bananas. I kind of felt that this is quite a regular occurrence and today wasn’t the first day that this guy payed a visit to this particular stand. We actually caught this on video – find us on snapchat at ‘nxtstopwhoknows’ to check it out. #photooftheday
Day #38: The local butcher shop
This is your typical scene at some of the local butcher shops around #India. Not all butchers are like this in India, but here down in the south of the country they are pretty common.
You’ll normally hear a few haggling words taking place between the customer and the owner, with a sprinkling of head bobbles thrown in for good measure.
When we were in Kenya a few years ago, I tried pork from one of these local butchers, and let’s just say it took me a full two days of toilet time before I recovered. I’ve since been a little cautious to try meat from somewhere like here and even if I did think about eating it, Flor would certainly remind me of that fatal 48 hours back in Kenya. #nextstopwhoknows #backpackingIndia
Day #39: We have a winner…
We know the unofficial ‘rules’ of FB state that posting pics of food is not allowed, but we’re going to break those rules and (much to the annoyance of non-foodies) we’re going to talk about our favourite dish in today’s #photooftheday.
Following on from yesterdays pic, we haven’t eaten much meat since arriving in India as we’ve found a chicken substitute that tastes so damn good that we don’t even miss chicken when this is on the menu. The winner when it comes to our favourite food in India is…(drumroll)…Paneer!
For those of you that don’t know, paneer is a type of cottage cheese and it’s found in almost every local restaurant. It can be cooked with or without gravy and with a variety of different spices. On the plate below is chilli paneer (our favourite paneer dish), veg fried rice and some obligatory garlic naan – all of which cost around €4.
Day #40: Not for me…
Pulled rickshaws are an extremely traditional and still very popular form of transportation here in #kolkata.
Walking around today and seeing old men as old as 70 carry two people around with practically their bear hands makes me extremely sad. I think about their health and wellbeing. We were bombarded by offers from pulled rickshaw ‘drivers’ today and while we did see other tourists happily being pulled around, it’s not for me. Having someone more than double my age having to transport a healthy me from ‘a’ to ‘b’ like this is not something that I feel is right.
As with a lot of things here, it’s a 2-sided coin as although we’d like to support them by giving them our business, we don’t want to engage in something that feels so wrong.
Having seen so many rickshaw pullers today, it prompted me to find out more. Here is some of what I found out:
On a good day, a rickshaw-puller earns between Rs 100 and Rs 120 (around €2), nearly half of which goes to the rickshaw owner.
Almost 90% of rickshaw-pullers are homeless, with an overwhelming majority of 54% living in deras (garages or places where they park their carts). Another 39% live on the pavements; the rest live in their own or rented houses.
60% of rickshaw-pullers suffer from tuberculosis and other lung diseases. Their lifestyle makes them prone to respiratory diseases and heart ailments. Read more here: http://infochangeindia.org/livelihoods/news/ban-on-hand-pulled-rickshaws-will-affect-thousands-of-poor-in-kolkata.html
Day #41: Street barbers
These craftsmen are everywhere and you won’t go too far down a street without seeing a mobile barbershop like this one set up for business.
While I don’t fancy going under the knife for a trim while in #India, I do plan on getting one of the face and head massages as they look like a fun experience! I don’t think Florence will be joining me for that however! #Kolkata
Day #42: Apples and oranges…
Yes, the #photooftheday today is literally of apples, oranges and some other fruits but it’s the colours that make me like this pic.
Got this snap while out gallivanting in the local markets with the guys from goMowgli while in Fort Kochi. Markets still remain to be one of our favourite places to visit when we travel. For us, they give a true insight into the ongoings of daily life and make for excellent photo opportunities. We’ve got a photo tour to the spice market here in Kolkata planned for Saturday so stay tuned to see what we capture smile emoticon
Day #43: A gentle reminder…
Tonight we had the pleasure of meeting Ankita. She’s from Kolkata, follows our blog and she too has a passion for traveling.
Listening to her talking about how difficult it is for Indian nationals to obtain visas for a lot of countries (and how this will massively restrict her travels) was a gentle reminder to us just how lucky we are to hold such a strong passport that gives us the freedom that it does. To hear her views on growing up in India and what it’s like to be a 21 year old in Kolkata with a stong desire to see the world was interesting and opened our eyes in many ways.
Good luck to you Ankita and thanks for a lovely evening smile emoticon #photooftheday
Day #44: Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a name that we were very familiar with growing up and I remember hearing stories from my dad of her selfless missions. To me, Calcutta always seemed like such a far away place and somewhere that I’d probably never get to visit.
As we’re in Kolkata – in the city that always seemed so far away – we got to go to The Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity and visit Mother Teresa’s tomb. Her tomb has become a place of pilgrimage and quiet meditation, and despite its location in the middle of a hectic city, it did have a very peaceful and calming atmosphere. #photooftheday
Day #45: Country #40 is not to be….
So we’d plans to travel in #Nepal for two weeks during this trip to #India, but due to our visa allowing us a single entry only, we unfortunately can’t leave and re-enter the country frown emoticon
We thought we’d get to see the great himalaya mountain range from inside Nepal and also hit our 40th country….. but it’s not to be!
Day #46: Indian head massage
Today I got a long awaited head massage here in #Kolkata and absolutely loved it! Way more relaxing than what it looked like and what I was expecting. There was a combo of head slaps, neck slaps, ear pokes, cheek jabs, ear caressing and ice treatments all fused together over a 40 minute period. All that beating cost was €6, which we told afterwards was wayyyyyy too expensive!
Day #47: Little beauties…
We’re very careful when it comes to taking pictures of the locals when we travel. As tourists, it’s not acceptable to think that we have the right to photograph who we want just because it makes for a good photo opportunity. After all, most of us wouldn’t like people sticking big SLRs into our faces when we’re going about our daily business. Those same principles apply when travelling in India, Thailand and everywhere else for that matter.
I feel that asking first is the best thing – this way the person actually has a chance to decide. On that note, we found these two little beauties while out exploring in Kolkata yesterday. They are sisters and as you can see, (with the approval of their mum) they were more than willing to smile for the camera and loved getting to șee their faces on the screen afterwards. #photooftheday
Day #48: The burning bodies in Varanasi..
We’re currently in northern India – in a city called #Varanasi which is the holiest place for Hindi practising Indians…i.e – most of the country.
Here’s a quick few bits of info we learned today from the locals…
Every day about 250+ bodies are burned to release them to the gods. Only men from the family can attend and no tears are shed. The fires are stoked with timber and burn for 3 hours per body.
Each fire on the ghat is a different ceremony. Children under the age of 10 are considered too pure to burn, so they are weighed down with a heavy rock and submerged into the river.
This ceremony has been going on for 4500 years, hence the reason why Varanasi is believed to be the oldest city in the world. It certainly looks that way that’s for sure.
Seeing these “outdoor crematoriums” ranks along with the Chinese Vegetarian Festival as two of the most bizarre things we’ve seen on our travels.
We’ve not been blogging about India yet as we’ve wanted to soak up everything, but we’ve tons of stories to publish on #NextStopWhoKnows in the next few weeks. #India #crazysights
Day #49: Picturesque Backwaters
Today’s #photooftheday is a snap that I took on my phone while out on a housboat in the picturesque backwaters of Kerela in South India. The landscape was so so beautiful #nofilterneeded
Day #50: Father & Daughter
India provides photo opportunities everywhere you turn. The combination of vibrant colours and amazing cultural diversity surrounds us every day.
Today, while out exploring the hecticness that #Varanasi presents, we were asked to take this photo for a proud father and his little daughter. He didn’t have to tell her to smile because once she saw the camera point in her direction her face lit up.
We’re going to print off this photo and go back tomorrow to hopefully find them so that we can give it to them.
Day #51: Sweet and creamy…
India is the second largest producer of tea in the world. It’s part of the culture here. The most popular method of brewing tea in #India is boiling tea leaves with (a lot) of sugar and milk to create a (very) sweet, creamy tea beverage known as masala chai.
Masala chai is served in roadside stalls all across the country and is mostly served in little clay pots like this one. I swear this little pot had the equivalent of 8 spoons of sugar! #nokidding #photooftheday #nextstopwhoknows
Day #52: A proud proprietor….
While we were out walking around #Varanasi a few days back we got talking to Anand, who owns a little souvenir shop beside a temple. He was telling us about his business and how much he enjoys what he does.
After a few minutes of chit chat he asked us would we like to take a photo of him, which we gladly accepted. We returned the following day with a print of the photo for him but it was his day off so we left it with his neighbour.
Hopefully this proud proprietor likes his photo…if he gets it smile emoticon #nextstopwhoknows #India #photooftheday
Day #53: Eye on the prize….
Waiting patiently for an opportunity to pounce was this little cat at a market in #Kolkata. Even when there was no one around, the cat waited and did not move a muscle.
Day #54: His face says it all…
On day #50 we posted a pic of a proud father with his little daughter. After seeing how beautiful the pic came out, and the proud look on the fathers face, we knew that we had to print it and give it to them.
We printed the pic and returned to the shop where we had met them the previous day with high hopes of seeing the man or at least someone who knows him. We got lucky. The father and his little daughter were in the exact same spot where we had taken the picture that previous day.
His eyes lit up as he proudly showed everyone around him his new possession. The more we travel the more we realise it’s the little things in life that count the most and what some would regard as just another photo, we have a feeling that this man will look fondly on his picture for a long time to come. I think the look on his face says it all. #photooftheday
Day #55: Taj Mahal
We got up at 4am this morning, but didn’t get to see the blood moon. We wanted to beat the insane queues at the gates for the Taj Mahal.
This was one of the places we’ve wanted to visit for a long time, and thankfully we got that opportunity today.
Definitely worth the early start as an hour later and the crowds would have been much worse than they were. More pics coming tomorrow. #TajMahal #Nextstopwhoknows
Day #56: Joking around…
We came across this happy bunch of kids while they were out walking their goats in #Varanasi (yes, I did just say walking their goats!). They were joking around and were only too delighted to pose for pics – well, that was until the brown goat got fed up and ran off down the street on them. Needless to say the boys followed in hot pursuit and that was the end of the pics!! P.S. The goat didn’t get too far smile emoticon #photooftheday
Day #57: Morning prayer….
Every morning locals in #Varanasi flock to the Ganges river in order to pray as the sun rises. This is part of their daily life and we were told that their day wouldn’t feel complete if they didn’t get down to the river bank at some point. #Nextstopwhoknows #India
Day #58: Down by the river…
This is a typical scene that you’ll see along rivers in #India. Both men and women go there to do their washing and have a little friendly natter with their neighbours at the same time.
The mixture of wonderful colours instantly catches your eye in these situations. #IncredibleIndia #Hampi
Day #59: Memorable moments…
Whilst in Mysore, we had the pleasure of meeting Trupti who invited us to her home for dinner with her parents and their neighbours. I love this pic because I think it perfectly encapsulates how welcoming everyone was to us. Not only were we treated to some delicious dinner and friendly banter, but they made us feel like long-lost family members whom they hadn’t seen in many years.
We’ll remember our meeting with Trupti and her family for this reason and one other. What will go down as one of our funniest moments in India, Trupti gifted us with some local sweets when she first met us for coffee – one of which was a coconut flavoured chapati. When giving it to us, she told us to eat it quickly because it will turn sour.
While catching up on Netflix later in the night, I caught Carlo eagerly stuffing the chapati into his mouth one after another. “Eh, you’re hungry” I commented to which he replied “She told us to eat it quick Flor and that’s what I’m doing.” I almost fell off the bed. “She meant eat it quick – as in – don’t leave it 4-5 days before tucking into it!!!!”
Day #60: We’re going to love it…
Today’s #photooftheday is a snap that I took on snapchat while out at the local market in Jodhpur this evening. Even though the quality of this filterless pic isn’t the best, I think it’s worth sharing with you guys for the light and the silhouette of the bull (șee him?). smile emoticon
Today is our first day in the region of Rajasthan and judging by what we saw over the last few hours, we’re going to love this part of the country. The weather is perfect (all 38degrees of it!), the scenery is stunning, the people are super friendly and the itinerary for the next few weeks is looking pretty exciting. #IncredibleIndia
Day #61: The Blue City….
We’ve spent the past two days in #Jodhpur, which is known as the “blue city”. It’s the second biggest city in the state of Rajasthan. We learned of its nickname before we arrived, so we were curious as to where the name originated from.
The old part of the city is a where these vivid blue colours spring to life and provide a photogenic backdrop to the bustling city life.
The city is famously associated with just one colour, but when you’re here you’ll see every colour from eye catching bright orange, to fluorescent yellows worn by the Rajasthani women.
The men also wear huge colourful turbans which draws your eye just as much as the women’s clothes.
In order to understand why the city gets its nickname, you should take a walk into the old town which is located under the shadow of the Mehrangarh fort. Many of the houses there are painted in blue.
The reason for painting the houses blue back in the olden days is still unknown – even though local tour guides have their own theories.
One such theory is that the houses belonged to the Brahmins, who were India’s priestly caste and this colour was associated with that family.
Regardless of the reason, the colours provide an amazing photographic opportunity if you get to a good viewpoint, which we did for this photo. #IncredibleIndia #NextStopWhoKnows
Day #62: The lonesome guard…
While exploring the beautiful Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur yesterday, I took this photo with my phone while Carlo was busy snapping the other end of the courtyard.
I like this shot as it’s one of the very few photos that we’ve taken in India that actually looks quiet and peaceful. 50 school girls burst through the doors just after I took the pic so I’m glad to have captured the moment. #photooftheday
Day #63: Lady at the fort
While visiting the Mehrangarh Fort in #Jodhpur the other day we stumbled upon this lady outside the entrance. She had a stall full of colourful wood carvings and was in the process of adding more to her collection.
The trees overhead provided some shelter from the piercing 40 degree heat, so we sat around for a few minutes watching her at work. #India #NextStopWhoKnows
Day #64: The milky way
While we were sleeping in the desert during our camel safari the other night with Mystic Camel Safari Tours, we were completley mesmerised by the sky after the sun set. We’d a 360 degree view of nothing but stars which made for an unbelievable experience.
The milky way sliced through the sky and luckily we brought the SRL camera, so we spent a good hour trying to capture a decent shot.
This was the best we could do without a tripod smile emoticon
Day #65: Family Affair…
A local family taking shade under a tree from the 34 degree midday sun in Jodhpur. They are regulars to the area and play music for the hoards of tourists that flock to see the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort. The music was traditional Rajasthani and was really lovely to listen to considering the setting overlooking the blue city was so perfect.
Day #66: The resident worshipper
Another photo from our visit to #Hampi a few months ago (definitely visit here if you’re in India).
We came across a small temple in the old city where we saw this old man praying and bathing in the water-pool inside. He seemed oblivious to his surroundings and we were told that every day he comes here to worship and bathe for hours on end. #India #NextStopWhoKnows
Day #67: Fuelling up…
Today we spotted this big guy fuelling up at the petrol station and had to take a pic. After all, it’s not every day you șee a camel parked up at the petrol pumps looking like he owns the place. India never fails to surprise us! #photooftheday
Day #68: The Taj silhouette…..
One of the striking aspects of the Taj Mahal is its symmetry. We got there early to witness the sun rising which provided the perfect opportunity for a silhouette shot before the sun got too high. #India #TajMahal
Day #69: The Spice Market…
Spice markets in India are works of art and getting to visit at least one is a must-do when in the country. It’s the ultimate sensory experience for those with a nose for spices and even for those who don’t. This pic was taken in Pushkar Market yesterday where there were big bags, boxes and open displays of multiple spices for view, taste and purchase. #Pushkar #IncredibleIndia
Day #70: A cheesy grin…
We’ve seen cows in the most random places everyday so far in #India. This fella was standing beside this sign outside a mens clothes shop in #Jaisalmer for ages. He wouldn’t move an inch for the ten minutes we were sitting down having a coffee.
By the look on his face he seemed to agree with the signpost!
Day #71: The Shepherd…
While we were in #Pushkar during the week we wandered out into the surrounding villages during the sunset hours. Outside one of the many natural villages we saw this man walking towards us with his flock of sheep. I quickly got myself set up in sniper position so that I’d have the sun working in my favour to take a few shots.
The region of #Rajasthan has been absolutely amazing to travel around over the past two weeks. It’s definitely our favourite part of India!
Day #72: A simultaneous reaction…
It’s no secret that everyone stares in India…well most people do from our experience here. Sometimes it’s out of rudeness, sometimes it’s out of habit, while other times it’s out of curiosity.
These guys were riding along in front of us on a desert road in Rajasthan and definitely had the look of curiosity when they spotted us.
A simple wave from us broke their look of curiosity and caused this simultaneous reaction of friendly smiles and waves. What a happy bunch! #India #NextStopWhoKnows
Day #73: Face behind the Saree…
This one needed some photoshop surgery in order to replace the original sky, as it was completely washed out. So a quick swap with another sunset pic from the same day brought back some much needed colour for the sky.
The photo was taken during our camel safari in the Thar desert in #Rajasthan. On first glances we presumed it was a female going about her daily business, but after taking a closer look, we’re not so sure if it is a female! What do you think?
Day #74: Corn on the cob time..
These hungry bunch of kids all rushed up to this guy selling corn on the cob the other day outside their school. About 10 minutes before they arrived, there was a queue of people waiting to be served their helping of corn – which obviously meant that it had to be pretty tasty! We love corn on or off the cob, so of course we had to sample it!
Day #75: A work in progress…
Say hi to Vijah. We met this guy in Bikaner and he told us that his beard that you see isn’t just any old beard. It has been a work in progress for him and he has been growing it for the last 10 years.
He now claims to have the longest beard in India and was only too proud to take us inside his home and show us some photos of events that he has appeared at. His beard has become somewhat of an attraction in the local area. I’m attaching two pics today instead of one as I want you to see the length of his beard and I just love the b&w version with the colourful turban.
Day #76: Chillin’
Here’s Carlo and the boys chillin’ in Jodhpur. I never thought that I’d like taking pictures of old men and women but I love the older generation in India and how photogenic they are. Does the fact that I like taking pics of old men and women sound creepy?! These guys were delighted to pose for pics and had a good giggle when Carlo sat in the middle of them. #kidsatheart #photooftheday
Day #77: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
When we arrived in #Mumbai a few days ago we were mistakenly calling this magnificent building a church on Snapchat. But we were quickly informed that this high Gothic Victorian landmark is the centrepiece of the city’s suburban train network.
It’s a monster of a building and is more impressive at night time when they turn on the lights!
Day #78: Mumbai Taxi Drivers…..
When it comes to traffic chaos, Mumbai is the craziest place we’ve ever been. It took us 2 hours to travel a distance of 30kms the other day and it’s difficult to put into words the sheer amount of cars on the road – all of which beep in unison of course!
Traffic lights are…well…non-existent for the most part and this taxi driver told us that the only reason he’d stop at traffic lights is if a police officer jumped out in front of him. Crazy? I think so! #NextStopWhoKnows
#79: That’s a wrap…
Our time in India has come to an end. We were so happy to wake up this morning in a familiar but very cold and windy Ireland! Our flights home were booked for over a year but it was hush hush as our families weren’t expecting us for another month as we wanted to surprise them (love surprises!).
To say the last 10 weeks was the adventure of a lifetime is an understatement. India… You’ve challenged us, you’ve entertained us, you’ve kept us on your toes and you’ve amazed us in more ways than we ever expected .
Now it’s time to catch up with family and friends, relax, eat some familiar food (lots of it!), and actually blog about our trip – we’ve been pretty slack the past few weeks as our priority was to make the most out of our experience while maintaining the biz, which we managed to do well I think. So plenty of blogs on the way!
Thanks to all of you for following our adventure over the past few weeks – it’s been a wild ride and we were glad to have you guys to share our pics and adventure with over the past few weeks #IncredibleIndia #whatanadventure
Now that we’re home from India and are well rested after what was an experience of a lifetime (in lots of different ways), we have plans to actually blog about our trip to give you guys a more in-depth look at what travelling and maintaining an online business in India is like.
We’ve got lots to lot so watch this space.
If you liked this post, you’ll most likely be interested in our new project. We’ve teamed up with expert writer and travel guru, Eric Bradley, to produce a beautiful photobook of our 10-week journey through India.
The book, when it’s ready, will feature over 200 full colour photos that we judged were the “best of the best” of our trip, plus it will feature all our thoughts and feelings connected with them. It’s also going to be chock-full of interesting information and anecdotes, so it’s basically a really practical guide to understanding India on a human level, and a fantastic space-filler for any lonely coffee table.
Check out the campaign page over here: A Picture of India