Our train arrived on time, with Bill and I sharing cabin "B" with another married couple. The other married couple had cabin "A" shared with a rather noisy Indian couple. The ticket purchasing method for train seats is crazy. It was fully booked three months in advance, especially to the Holy City of Varanasi. G-adventures had make the booking, just like everyone else, hoping for cancellations. Of course, there were few and four of our group plus CEO Parry did not have a bunk/cabin. This wasn’t so bad for the guys but the young girl was having a hard time, being kind isolated with a family of eight staring at her the whole time. Parry came back and asked the couple in the cabin "A" if they would consider sharing a bunk (large single) but they refused.
We offered to double up and made room for more in our cabin. As Parry was still without a bed, he ended up “stealing three thick blankets and pillows” and spent the night in a fitful sleep on our floor. Our trip had turned into a croweded slumber party and we laughed so hard that tears were running down our faces. Sleeping side by side on a narrow cot is NOT easy on a rock'n'rolling train! Finally, we tried a cramped head-to-toe layout, without pillows, and that worked better.
Parry was up most of the night dealing with the ticket supervisor who kept pounding on our locked door. He wanted those without tickets for actual beds to pay the first class fee. There was a lot of ongoing Indian chatter, but Parry seemed to be pretty much in control of the situation. He assured us that "All good."
Getting to and using the toilets was a bit of an adventure. We always carry antibacterial wipes which made the visits a bit more tolerable. Our cabin mate woke Parry up looking for her shoes and ended up wearing her husband's (a +6’ tall former police officer). Quite hilarious but not so the toilets.
We got into Varanasi at noon and were met by our bus.
The Holy City is definitely ALIVE - meaning loud and crowded! Our room
was at the Holy City Hotel - nice rooms that over-looked a dirty crowded
alley. It's like this everywhere ... splendor in the garbage. We had to
pay for WiFi but it was really needed since we'd been offline for a few
It is considered the Mecca for Hindus. The hotel is called Holy City, in the centre of many attractions. We will arrive around 11 am, check into the hotel, then proceed with whatever activities. In the evening, we will board a large row boat to sail on the Ganges, to watch various ceremonies which have been performed exactly the same way for thousands of years, and to watch the sunset. Next morning, we will again board the same row boat to catch the sunrise.
Bill and "Ghandi"
waiting outside one of the station's AC rest rooms
Sue-On boarding the overnight "sleeper" train
Cabin B Slumber Party
Passing views at daybreak
Deboarding at Varanasi Station
Streets of Varanasi on the way to hotel
Arrival at Holy City Hotel
Alley view from hotel room window
Hotel Dining Room ~ First meal of the day
NIGHT TRAIN | HOLY CITY HOTEL | STREETS
Photos 1 | Photos 2 | Outtakes
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