October 26th - 31st 2013, Visiting Claudia in India ...

As Claudia studies a semester in Bangalore, India, it was clear that we will visit her there. So already in May we could get two really cheap direct flights with Lufthansa to Bangalore (577 Euros each!) ... and there we went!
 

Day 1: Drive to Mysore

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We arrived Saturday morning 1AM, finally arrived at the hotel at 3AM and went to bed 4AM. Short night and we met Claudia at 10:30 to drive to Mysore with a hired car and driver ... First thing that catches you in India is the traffic ... Rule No. 1: There are no rules! ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Where there is a space, there is a car / tuk-tuk / scooter / bicycle ... scooters can carry more than two people ... Claudia saw one once with seven on them ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Or you use it for carrying goods ... lot of goods ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). This applies also for bicycles ... absolutely amazing ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Another use of a tuk-tuk ... a school-bus!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). More means of transport in India ... they are very creative there, we admire it!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Unfortunately the roads are in a terrible state ... even on overland roads you are lucky, if you can achieve an average speed of 25km/h ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here our driver and his feet ... reminded us a bit of Australian waterplane pilots ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). First stop on the way to Mysore was the Keshava Temple in Somanathapura ... and what we had to learn in India: different fees for Indians and Foreigners ... understandable though ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here Claudia and Cynthia at the temple ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and Thomas with his daughter ... glad to see her again after two months ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here's the three of us with the temple ... btw. amazing engravings inside and out ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Arriving in Mysore we went straight to the palace ... here women sweeping grass ... and the - male - supervisor in the background ... paradise for men?
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here this amazing palace ... unfortunately the light show was not on that Saturday ... anyway it was impressive ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here's us and the palace ... we also went inside with an audio guide.
Great story there: No cameras allowed, but Thomas had his big Nikon with him. Not allowed to put it in the rucksack, you had to give it away at the entrance. We didn't a) want to walk back and b) give away the expensive camera. So Claudia and Cynthia went alone inside. After five minutes, standing outside alone with the camera, a security guy waved to Thomas ... "Where are you from?" ... "Germany" ... "you can put your camera in the rucksack ... BUT don't take photos..." ... and he let Thomas in as well! How friendly is that ... that wouldn't have happened in Germany or Australia!!!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Next stop was a market in Mysore ... as colourful as everywhere ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We found a guy who had lived in Germany (pretty good German) who showed us how to make joss sticks ... we bought some off him ... so if you wonder about the smell in our house on your next visit ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here's our luxurious car ... and the obligatory cow on the streets ... just outside that market ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We had dinner in Mysore (Park Lane Hotel) ... really good Indian food there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On the way home Claudia planned in some adventure ... we had a punctured tyre ... spare tyre was also flat ... so one hour waiting in the dark in the middle of nowhere with two blond women ... here's the workshop ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... hose repaired and the tyre fit on the rim with a hammer ... ;-) ... so finally at 11PM we arrived back in Bangalore ...

Day 2: Bangalore

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Second day we drove to Claudia's campus ... here a fake BMW ... German brands are still prestigious ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here's the campus of IIMB (Int'l Institute of Mgt. Bangalore) ... more like a huge park ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and of course the cricket field, very important in India (as in Australia) ... in the background the student accomodation ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). And we could even see Claudia's room ... here she's eating the smuggled Salami stick from Germany ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). German Engineering at its best ... the bedside table à la Claudia ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We went to her favourite cafe on campus the "Au bon pain" and had a coffee there ... and we met her nice French friend Lucile ... it was really good to see where she lives ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On we went into Bangalore ... here the Mahatma Gandhi Road with the newly built MTR above ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). On we went into Bangalore ... here the Mahatma Gandhi Road with the newly built MTR above ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and funny rules ... "don't throw stones at the birds" ... ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Adjacent to the park is the High Court of Karnataka ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We continued to the shopping district ... here a family of four on their scooter, maybe on their way to Sunday lunch ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). These shopping roads with all the shops and the masses of people reminded us a bit of Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Finally we made our way to a governmental approved silk shop there (Mysore Saree Udyog) ... where Claudia and Cynthia delved into the silk scarves ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Pretty busy on Sunday ... we bought quite a bit there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We went back to the hotel then by tuk-tuk ... here the sign "follow lane discipline" ... as you can see observed by everyone ... ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). where we had some pre-dinner drinks together ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... here Thomas and Claudia together ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... at a lovely dinner there ... again really good Indian food ...

Day 3/4: Trip to Agra (Taj Mahal)

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We had to get up at 3AM Monday morning to catch our flight from Bangalore to Delhi ... then Dehli to Vanarassi ... then Vanarassi to Agra ... but we arrived safely there ...
Next morning, we got up at 5AM to meet with our guide "NC" to drive to the West Gate of Taj Mahal. We were right at the front of the queue ... here's the security check ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After the check we had the first glimpse of the Taj ... left of the second entrance gate ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). And - as one of the first tourists that day - we could take pictures like that ... it was just a bit misty that morning, just before sunrise ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). A little later - as you can see - a few more people ;-) ... although it was Cynthia's wish to go there, Thomas had to thank her for that, because ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Sun was rising and the mist started to clear ... so here the Taj in a different light ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here one (1!) piece of Indian Marble, about 2 metres wide ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... with this amazing work of embedding precious stones ... and this all over the building!
Everything you see here are single hand-shaped stones, the marble carved out by hand and then both fitted together ... stunning!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Probably the best light we had that day ... later the mist came back unfortunately ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). And here's us with our super guide "NC" ... a fountain of information ... btw. he was sitting - surprisingly - in the taxi from the Airport to the Hotel and offered his services ... we were a bit suspicious, but took the "risk" ... it was worth doing it!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After breakfast in the hotel he drove us to the Agra Fort, another amazing building in Agra ... absolutely huge!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here a photo taken with the wide-angle lens to give you some impression of the vastness of the area ... and that's just a part of it!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Again carvings everywhere ... you just stand there in awe ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). The fort is owned by 2-300 monkeys ... they're everywhere ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here's one of the inside rooms with a well in the middle ... and the same carvings with precious stones as in the Taj Mahal ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). That was quite funny at the entrance of the fort ... two scanners, one for ladies and one for gents ... but no seperation before or after that ;-)

Day 5: Back to Bangalore

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). So we flew back from Agra to Delhi and Delhi to Bangalore ... back at the hotel at midnight ...
Next morning we were picked up by Claudia to explore more of Bangalore ... here Thomas got lost while trying to cross a road ;-) ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We went to the city market, Bangalore live! Everyone busy ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... pans bigger than European hot plates ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). and flowers and flowers everywhere ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and they produce fantastic arrangements of it ... different way to present flowers than in Germany ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... and again the friendly people ... probably one of the most amazing things we experienced in India is the genuine friendliness of the people there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). A short stop at the Bangalore Fort (mainly destroyed) led us to the ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). ... Tipu Sultan Palace ... made out of teak wood ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Still old wall paintings there ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). In this view it looks like the arches are lit, but it's just reflections of the sunlight ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here you can see that every pillar is made out of one tree trunk ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Here the three of us having a rest in cafe "Matteo", one of the "trendy western" places in Bangalore ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). That night we went onto the 13th floor of a building to have some drinks at the bar "13th floor" ... here the stadium lit ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). No dancing allowed in this rooftop bar ;-)
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Mahatma Ghandi Road with the Metro station ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). And here our final dinner at the "Ebony", up there on the 13th floor ...


Unfortunately our last day we spent in bed at the hotel, five consecutive days of Indian food took its toll on our stomachs ... we luckily made it back to Germany (9 hours flight, no running ;-) ) ... and had some aftermaths there.

Despite our doubts before the trip we found it to be an amazing journey again, fantastic country, friendly people, good to see Claudia in her new environment and thanks to her for showing us around in perfectly arranged trips!