Thursday, December 18, 2008

18 December - Arrived to Goa, India

We just arrived to Goa! We will celebrate Christmas here together with Ola's mother who is flying in from Sweden. We will be back with more details about what has happened over the last two weeks since we left Delhi.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 1, 2008

2 December – Towards Agra

We have updated our GoogleMap with the approximate route we have taken from Sweden to the UK. You find the map in the top right hand corner of the screen. You find the link to the map under LINKS.

26 Nov - 1 Dec – Delhi, India

We are having a fabulous time in Delhi. Our friends Melanie and Josh, who we got to know years ago in South Africa, live at the US Embassy compound and we are camping in their garden. Their children Jacob and Dora are playing so nicely with our children. We even had the privilege to be invited to the Thanksgiving dinner, and Ola got the honor of cutting the 21 pound turkey!
We are playing in the garden and going on nice excursions to the main sights of chaotic Old Delhi and organized New Delhi.
The Red Fort is a highlight, but we actually enjoyed the bicycle rickshaw ride from the fort to the spice market even more.
Shopping in the bazaar is very entertaining, but we will most of all remember seeing a beautiful elephant striding along a main avenue in New Delhi.
Seeing the huge new temple Swaminarayan Akshardham was impressive. It reminded Josh of the Lost City at Sun City in South Africa, while we came to think of Disneyland in Hong Kong.
We preferred the old time charm of Humayun’s Tomb to the sharp edges of the new temple.
Our stay in Delhi was delightful thanks to Melanie & Josh,
Jacob & Dora.
Thank you so much for your fantastic hospitality!

25 November – Chandigarh, India

We made a short stop in Chandigarh to see the Fantasy Rock Garden created over the last half century by the local artist Nek Chand. He has made thousands of sculptures from urban and industrial waste.
From Chandigarh it is about 250 km to Delhi. It took 7 hours. By the time we entered the 20 million people mega city of Delhi it was dark and the traffic was absolutely crazy. Bad timing. We had ourselves a real driving adventure for some hours when trying to locate the right address in New Delhi. Driving here feels like a video game. And we luckily arrived with all lives intact!

23-24 November – McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India

Communist China invaded Tibet in 1949 to liberate the Tibetan people of their land and their culture. In 1959, Dalai Lama and many followers walked across the Himalaya mountains to northern India to seek sanctuary. They were granted asylum and perhaps as many as a quarter million Tibetans now live in northwest India in the Dharamsala region. It is from the village McLeod Ganj outside Dharamsala that Dalai Lama and his exile government operates.
We really enjoyed the atmosphere in McLeod Ganj and the surrounding mountains. Tibetan food, music and handicraft along windling streets. Tibetan monks and nuns chatting quietly while walking to the gompa. Old Tibetan women turning the prayer wheels in the Tsuglagkhang Complex. We would love to come back and spend more time in northeastern India.

21-22 November – Amritsar, India

After spending the last three months in Muslim countries, we are now facing other religions. We had our first encounter with a Hindu temple at the Matah Temple in Amritsar. All kinds of weird figures/dolls were revered by people who were kissing the statues and sacrificing flowers and coconuts. To say the least, this is a very bizarre spectacle. We are truly ignorant so far about Hinduism, but we will for sure learn more in the coming weeks.
The following day we switched focus to the Sikh religion. Amritsar is the holy city of the Sikh’s. We visited the Golden Temple and got a lesson in what it means to be a Sikh. The books that the ten Gurus wrote many years ago play a central role in the Sikh religion. The most important books are kept in the Golden Temple.