Finally, India! Varanasi, the Holy City

Varanasi Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 15 › view all entries
Got into a cab for the airport at 6am for our 8:30am flight to Delhi, and thankfully we were able to exchange all our Nepalese cash for American dollars (they would not sell Indian rupees). Vijay said you can’t exchange Nepalese rupees outside of Nepal. I got a cappuccino (fancy coffee is everywhere) and a danish, but it seems like they serve meals on even the shortest of flights around here. We got breakfast on the hour and 40 minute flight.

In Delhi, we were a bit nervous about the visa situation...but there were no problems. We went to the lounge in the domestic terminal and there were all kinds of fabulous hot Indian dishes, including a guy making some kind of street food (according to the sign) - a crepe-like thing with a bit of an egg mixture in the middle, and a few chutneys to dip it in. There was a dessert area (I tried the vermicelli cooked in milk - like a very soft kugel), a few of the curries and rice, and a black chai from the tea/chai bar. We hung out for a few hours before our plane left.

On the hour and 20 minute flight to Varanasi we were offered lunch, but we weren’t hungry yet. We got a pre-paid taxi to Hotel Haifa by the ghats on the Ganges, which took about an hour and a half with all the traffic. The ride in was pretty overwhelming. I knew it would be, but it still takes your breath many people, so many things going on, buildings falling apart, cows wandering across the road, hundreds of motorbikes cutting in front of you, strong smell of smoke, and all the while listening to the constant beep beep of the car and motorbike horns. It’s a lot to take in.

Arriving at the hotel, the desk guy said the group had already arrived and that Vijay was coming back to get us. Turns out the whole group came back, so we all went to dinner together at a pizza joint, Vaatika (with Indian food and other things...and apple pie with ice cream) right on the Ganges, a few flights up from the ghats, with a view of the prayer ceremony that occurs every night and morning. It’s surreal. Dogs, people selling things, performances, music, signs, fire, smoke, trash, etc. Vijay said this city is the oldest living city...occupied since 6000BC. The pizza was quite good actually, and they have a slushy fresh mint lemonade that is delicious (Vijay said the ice is trustworthy at this restaurant)...and they had apple pie and ice cream for dessert. I thought it was so goofy having pizza and apple pie in such an exotic locale, but it was a hell of a view.

I just bonked my head really hard on the headboard of the bed, and then realized I must have left my travel pillow in the cab. Grrrrrr. I also left my external battery in Kathmandu, and my iPad case is falling apart. I’m not having good luck with “stuff” at the moment!

There’s no alcohol in this town...I forgot to ask Vijay why that is (maybe it’s religious significance?)...and we can’t get the TV to work, nor the Wi-Fi,’s an early night tonight! 9pm - good night!
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photo by: rotorhead85