Wonder of the World - Taj Mahal

Sunday, October 25, 2015
Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
The overnight train to Agra was sadly a pretty bad experience. We were pretty tired from our day and went to sleep not too long after the train left the station - which was around 6pm. First there was a tiny roach in my bunk (ew) and that freaked me out. I am so thankful for Jaime for many reasons, but especially that he was brave enough to switch me bunks so I didn't have to sleep with Roachy. (Yes, we named him) Our area of the train was right by the door to the restrooms and the exit, so people were making noise all night. We hardly got any sleep, and the bunks are not exactly what you would call comfortable. It finally was morning, and we woke up excited to finally be in Agra, but our train was actually running an hour behind. I also found out that a bug was feasting on me all night because I have several HUGE bites on my arm. So that was our train experience. I hope I do not sound like I am complaining, an experience like that is to be expected on a 12 hour overnight train ride in India. And overall, we got where we needed to be safely, and that is all that matters. We got to our hotel, but our rooms weren't going to be ready for another 4 hours or so, so we had to kill some time. The whole tour group went to a great buffet breakfast, then a tour of the Agra Fort. I included some photos of our tour here, and I wish I could give you more details about what this place was about. We had an amazing guide who gave us a ton of information, but to be honest, I was drifiting in and out of sleep even while standing, and it was taking every ounce of energy I had to just not fall over and sleep on the ground right in the fort. Not getting any sleep on the train had was really catching up to me. To top that off, by the time we were done with this tour, our rooms were still not ready, so Kuldeep took us to a carpet weaving place so we could learn the art of hand crafted rugs from India. On any other day I welcome tours of local vendors for anything, but I just wanted to lay down and sleep! But we went through the tour and got to see some workers hard at work on the carpets, and we also got to witness every tedious step that goes into completing a hand-made carpet with no machinery whatsoever. We were so impressed that we bought a very small rug. Great souvenir from this country. We finally were able to come back to the hotel, and we had about 2 hours to freshen up and nap before heading out the see the Taj Mahal. We did just that. I left a bit early because the ladies had the option of getting dressed up in Sarees. I joined in on that, then we met the group back at the hotel and left for the Taj. Jaime and I were beyond excited for this. And let me tell you, seeing this amazing Wonder of the World was not a let down whatsoever. We learned a lot of history (I was actually paying attention to this one!) and had lots of photo ops. I only included my favorite ones, otherwise I would be uploading like 100 photos. We had plenty of time to walk around the compound, and yes, even go inside. There were so many people!! And quite a few asked to take photos with me again. I think I will miss this celebrity treatment when I get home. ;) To end the evening Jaime and I found an empty bench, and just sat and stared at the Taj Mahal until it was time to leave. We were just in awe that the two of us were in India together seeing one of the Wonders of the World. This was such an amazing experience, and I am so glad Jaime gave me this trip instead of an engagement ring. Best decision ever. Now we are back in the hotel room. Our day starts at 6am tomorrow, and we have a very long drive (9 hours) to the village we are staying at tomorrow. (My birthday!!) According to Kuldeep, there will be no ATMs and no internet access. We will be completely cut off. I am excited to experience this place as reviews of this tour online said it was by far the highlight of the whole trip! That is all for now! Hope you are enjoying our stories and pictures! Our trip is already over half way done! I can't believe it!
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