Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I love it when a plan comes together

Just over two months ago the itinerary was still formless -- a couple of ideas, a yen or two, but nothing firm. Now, though, the details are falling into place:

Leave Newark Thursday September 21, pretty late in the evening: fly to DELHI (a 14-hour flight)
In Delhi September 22, 23, 24, 25 (with a trip to Agra one day)
In Goa September 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
In Udaipur October 1, 2, 3
In Jaipur October 4,5
In Varanasi October 6
October 7 back to Delhi and on to Newark (15 hours and 20 minutes)

A few details:

In Goa we'll be staying at The Leela. If you click that link, be sure to look at the photo gallery. This place will be our resort rest, like the Ana Mandara was in Vietnam.

Goa is located on the southwestern coast, on the Arabian Sea. Goan culture is a blend of Indian and Iberian: European style central squares and Indian bazaars, Portuguese churches sharing their walls with Hindu temples. Christianity and Hinduism exist side by side. Having been ruled by the colonial Portuguese for over 450yrs, there is still a distinctive European flavor. Goa is best known for its spectacular beaches and luxurious hotels but there are many old churches, monuments, temples and museums. Apparently Goa is the place movie stars come to chill. I read somewhere that Nicole Kidman and what's-his-name came here. I only have eyes for my M.

In Udaipur, we're staying at the Hotel UdaiKothi. We have a lake view suite -- we don't care about the suite part, but the lake view will be nice. Udaipur is apparently the most romantic honeymoon spot in India. Since we'll be honeymooning, that works. Udaipur is the city of lakes, and is also known as the white city and the Venice of the east. It sounds so beautiful; in the center is Lake Pichola. Octopussy was filmed at the Lake Palace Hotel in the middle of Lake Pichola. Apparently this is a much-repeated claim to fame for Udaipur.

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, and is known as the Pink City because everything was painted pink (the color of welcome) in the 1800s for a visit from the Prince of Wales. The buildings are all painted pink.

This is our hotel (above), the Trident Hilton. It does not appear to be painted pink.

This photo to the right is of the Palace of Winds, and those are all windows. I read somewhere how many windows there are (500-something, I think). This is an ornamental facade that allowed the women in the royal household to watch the goings-on of people in Jaipur. Not spying, just observing.

More notes and pictures later. For now, the plan is coming together.

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