Freedom by foot

On the 9th of September 2011 we set out from England to the continent by ferry to begin our adventure in earnest. By foot we will make our way to the first destination, which is Milan, from there we will be flying over to Bangalore for an archaeological conference (as you do) and an escape from the harsh European winter.

At any and all points in our little wander we will be on the look out for interesting and exciting places and people to learn from. Our journey begins with a zeal for experiencing ancient and traditional life & new innovative ways of living for the future.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

All aboard the Vivek Express!!

After the short journey from Telangana to the coast, and then a short (eight hour!!!) wait in Vijaywada- we boarded our new home for the next two and a half days. We battled through the throngs of milling people and vendors (chanting the mantra anyone who has travelled with Indian Railways will surely know and love 'Chaaaaai, chaaaaaai, chaaaaaai!') and found our two berths. We were in three tier sleeper class, the most interesting, most indian and most inexpensive way to travel. 520rps each for two and a half thousand kilometers- thats roughly eight quid each.

What followed was definitely the most incredibly journey i have ever taken and easily the most stunning, intimate and intense way to experience large parts of India.

Our fellow travellers were always really kind, helpful and friendly- particularly a lovely, but extremely strict, elderly muslim bloke who decided i was his new son-in-law and Amiee his daughter (mainly for religious reasons; as he explained he could not look upon Amiee as anything other than family, due to it being extremely sinful to look and therefore desire a woman). Ah well, he commented on my beard as being particulalry good (his beard was awesome), but insisted i should wear a little cap or turban to cover my head (so i wouldnt have a stroke and die...). He eventually insisted we come visit him in eastern Assam, at his home is Sibsaggar (unfortunately, with his heavy accent, i kept giggling when he mentioned this place as it sounded alot like an insult used to describe the Welsh). Brian, my brother and Prof. Dawkins would be proud of our religious banter that lasted for hours (much to Amiee's amusement...or was it annoyance...?!)- culminating in a hearty laugh, a slap on the thigh and an announcement that he likes me because im so different.

Anyway, the train trundelled on. Over vast bridges spanning enormous river basins (a splendid past time involved standing at the open doorway and leaning over the side whilst on one of these....exhilerating!...sorry mum!), through forests, beautiful countryside and vibrant, noisy, smelly towns.

Food was either from the onboard staff or from a vendor, and was always crackin'! Toilets were clean. The beds were comfy. The peace, on board, was to die for.

We crossed through Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam. We reached Guwahati on the Tuesday- feeling ready to embrace all Assam had to offer.  

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I'm proud of religious banter as well!
    Much love x