Lumbini to the Nepalese Border

Our spa day!

Our spa day!

IMG_1934

Before we head to the Nepalese border we decide to have an afternoon of leisure for some TLC. We head to one of the nicer resorts where we can swim in the pool, have a massage, pedicure or as most of us ladies chose to do, put on some henna! It was great fun. The girl was a beautiful artist and it was a first for most of us. After we gathered in the bar for some food and drinks. The youngsters lean heavy on the drinks and around 11 p.m., with my husband in tow, they all go to the local McDonalds for some late-night snacks of burgers! I am snug in bed.

I must say something about transportation in India. As you can see from the picture above they like to use their horns in India. Not just a ‘beep beep’ but a full on BLAST on the horn to warn of passing, demonstrate frustration at slow drivers, caution pedestrians, or just on a whim. Therefore the honking NEVER stops in the city. Also, every square foot of the roads in the city are occupied with either a vechicle, animal or person. Tuk-tuks are in abundance and a risky way to get around. Be warned you take your life in your hands on these motorized rickshaws, especially at night!

As we journey on to the border of Nepal the scenery is beautiful, with less traffic, wide open spaces and from village to village we see a different landscape. Here are some of my favorites:

IMG_1939

Family on a motorbike

Family on a motorbike

IMG_1941

Standard mode of travel in villages by young and old

Standard mode of travel in villages by young and old

Along they way we are stranded for a couple of hours but not to worry help was on the way thanks to Anand!

Broken fan belt!

Broken fan belt!

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

A Word About Intrepid Travelers

It’s time I introduced our fellow Intrepid travelers to you. They were not only intrepid in name but, in fact, in spirit!

Visiting Nehru's House in Allahabad

Visiting Nehru’s House in Allahabad

From left to right: Carolin from Chile, Amanda from Australia, Fran from Australia, Marilyn from Australia, Gianni from Italy, Maria from Colombia, Sofia from Mexico, next was our driver not our guide (do not have his name), my husband Mike, Victoria from Australia, Myself, Emma from England and finally Connor from New Zealand.

One of the reasons we enjoy Intrepid Travel so much is that they book a wide range of ages on each trip. Our ages ranged from 21 to 65 years, which made for a very great balance of youthful enthusiasm and moderate reserve. Actually, not true, as no one was reserved on this trip! What we find is that we prefer the adventure aspect of these tours very much.

The company keeps the number of the group to around a dozen people. They book three levels of accommodations from basic to comfort and use all modes of transportation. They rate their trips according to activity levels as well. And best of all they use local guides and give back to the communities they serve. All in all, it is a very flexible attitude towards travel and one Mike and I highly recommend! We cannot say enough good things about them and their associates. It’s not just a vacation, it’s an adventure!! To see their website click here.

We also cannot say enough about this wonderful group of people pictured here. We had three Latinas, forever chatting in Spanish. Four Aussie’s from different parts of their county. Only two males along with Mike on this trip. We laughed, we cried, we shared our hearts, and we were fearless together!!  And thanks to God, survivors!

(I have already mention the phenomenal job our guide did so be sure to scroll back and see him and more pictures of the trip)

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

Reunion!

Wanted to share my homecoming with my dear Sedona sisters. We call ourselves the Wolfpack. Our sister Marylee, now living in Oregon is missing from the picture but she joined us by Skype. If you haven’t yet, come see  the blog archives for April, as I am posting  updated pictures of our trip.

Dear Sisters,

THANK YOU! Mike and I felt your profound love yesterday and it has set us on the road to healing the memories of this past week’s experience. THANK YOU! For the laughter that I longed to hear with you once more. THANK YOU! For the food that was so delicious and physically nourishing but made oh so much better by our sharing of it. THANK YOU! For your words of wisdom and consoling gestures they traveled deeply to my soul. THANK YOU! For all that you add to my wellbeing and spirit, you ARE the best friends in the world!!!
Lastly I look at the picture of Nate with the quilt and reread what Ed wrote and again marvel at the love we all share! It brings tears to my eyes…
(I am having it framed this week and putting it in my sewing room!)

With a grateful heart that is overflowing,
Nilda11188257_10153359145009363_4732604052242068620_n

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

India and Nepal Update…

I am more than happy to say Mike and I, and our fellow travelers have survived the ordeal of the earthquake in Nepal!

After what for us was 2 days of negotiating the airport chaos in Nepal and then 2 days of flights, we returned to the USA safe and sound! I have not heard back from all our friends but we are praying they are all safe at home now. I will be posting the full trip to the blog as soon as I can in the upcoming week.

The events of our final day did not diminish the time we had, nor the friendships we formed, and I can unequivocally said it was the most unforgettable trip of our lives.

Thanks to many, many people that made our safe departure possible. Especially to our Intrepid guide and all-round phenomenal person Anand Kapil who went above and beyond the call of duty. We will forever hold him in great esteem! 64202_10151731736133577_50316912_n

More coming soon…

Posted in Home | 3 Comments

Last Days in Orchha

More of my favorite pictures from the Orchha Palace:
IMG_1954 IMG_0097 IMG_1952

On our last day in Orchha we visit a local school in one of the primitive villages there. The children showed off their talents singing, and reciting poems.

IMG_1846

10 year old with angelic singing voice sang for us.

10 year old with angelic singing voice sang for us.

One of the men demonstrated how they make pottery and we had an opportunity to try it ourselves.

IMG_1824

Joyous Maria!

Joyous Maria!

Shopping was one of the activities the girls in the group really enjoyed. We make quick friends with the local vendors!
IMG_1847 IMG_1955
In keeping with days full of activities we also go to a local home for a cooking class for dinner. One of the qualities I most admire of the Indian culture is their hospitality. We were made to feel very welcomed and had a lovely time.
( Given the challenging nature of this trip I apologize now for the disjointed postings. As I blog post-trip it has been harder to keep track of events. Also, I will introduce you to my wonderful Intrepid traveling companions very soon.)
Posted in Home | 6 Comments

Approaching Varanasi

A really special evening together before departing Orchha!

A really special evening together before departing Orchha!

Now on our 6th. day we take a sail boat down the Ganges River. It is a relaxing time as we follow the river currents. Our guides work hard moving us up the river and prepare a lovely dinner on the boat for us.

IMG_0102

The plan was to camp out over night but the weather takes a turn for the worse, rain and lightning cause a change of plans. Anand makes the difficult decision of leaving early for Varanasi. Still it does not prevent the girls from having fun! Anand teaches everyone to play a game of tag, I forget the name, similar to “Red Rover” in America.IMG_0797

Another four of us have fallen ill with intestinal issues, I am one of them. Our first day here provides for a walking tour of the Old City. I skip it and spend the morning in bed. Mike surprises me with the purchase of two beautiful blankets from a visit to a local shop.IMG_0815 IMG_0825 IMG_0842 IMG_0846IMG_0813IMG_0804

I knew India as a country of great poverty and struggles but nothing had prepared me for the astonishing magnitude of it. Whether from village to village,or larger city life, the poverty, filth and disadvantaged are a constant. I am reminded to be grateful for the life I have. What also astonishes is the hope, perseverance and kindness of the Indian people.

Victoria in contemplation.

Victoria in contemplation.

 IMG_1902
In the evening we set off for a candle light flower ceremony on the Ganges. It is very beautiful and a special moment for us all.IMG_1879IMG_1903
Also we witness a ceremony which is hundreds of years old along the banks of the river. As always words cannot describe it, it must be experienced!  IMG_1962
IMG_0862
Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Orchha

Today we are in the countryside in the town of Orchha staying at Betwan Cottages for two nights. This will give us a chance to relax and take some free time to see the village at our own pace. IMG_1784

We have attended a puja ceremony at the local temple. The experience was ‘other worldly’ with hundreds of Hindu people attending.IMG_0093
This morning we took in the views from the Orchha Temple a very imposing and centuries old site near the  Betwa River. IMG_1950
We also visited the Orchha Palace which was gifted to a Mughal ruler. Our guide tells us the man never lived there but one night and then abandoned it.IMG_0095
IMG_0100
Tomorrow we see a cooking demonstration in a local home and also visit a local farm.
You may not hear from me for a few days as we have a couple of adventures ahead. First an overnight train trip and then a sailing trip on the Ganges River!
So far, only two of our twelve travelers have become sick, one of them being Mike. He took all the recommended precautions but the “Delhi Belly” still got him. I have my fingers crossed!!
Posted in Home | 5 Comments

Agra and the Taj Mahal


Gladly leaving the the chaos of Delhi behind us, nonetheless I think it was the perfect place to begin this journey! As now, no matter where we travel it seems tame in comparison. It certainly did expose us to a flood of humanity beyond anything we could have imaged and on so many levels. Not even on our trip to China did we experience the sights and smells so profoundly. 


Now on to Agra and the Taj Mahal! So far the weather has been mild enough to allow us to enjoy our walking but we cover so much ground, my feet are still angry with me. We boarded a train this morning that was a nice reprieve. It was air conditioned and we had tea and breakfast served to us. Many locals, but no chaos except upon boarding. 
  

Three hours later us arrive in Agra. First we visit a palace built by Emperor Shah Jahan which the architect of the Taj Mahal also styled. IMG_1777

Next we got to the Agra Fort on the banks of Yamuna River. our guide was so informative it was just as amazing to hear the story behind the family saga!IMG_1778

IMG_1742 IMG_1763 IMG_1752

We proceed later in the day to the Taj Mahal and stay till sunset. His wife, Mumtaz, was one lucky woman even though she did die giving birth to their 13th. child! Phenomenal, brilliant, and moving monument to love.

IMG_1948IMG_0688IMG_0679

I could not resist this capturing this India family enjoying the moment!

I could not resist this capturing this India family enjoying the moment!

Another highlight was meeting  beautiful little Aarushi on the train to Orchha. We became friends and as she spoke some English I taught her to play a hand-clapping game of “My boyfriend’s name is Tony…” She loved it! IMG_1773 (1)


Sent from my iPad

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

Trouble with Internet

Sorry, very sorry to say I cannot send blog from some of these remote villages. So as soon as I am able I will continue blogging. I will. I have so many pictures to share!!

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

A little more Delhi

The afternoon put some miles on our feet. I developed blisters already! We did have a wild ride through the streets of Old Delhi in rickshaws that almost make those blisters worth it!

We visited a Sikh Temple that feeds the poor three times a day.

The community volunteers make bread daily and they feed hundreds!IMG_1716

The markets were an event with shopping for spices and teas. The smells were so strong we had to cover our noses with scarves and it burned our eyes from the chili in the air. Even the locals coughed as they passed the stalls!IMG_1712

Posted in Home | 1 Comment