Johan & Marijke and friends with Rattan & friends, April 2015

4 driversLinda en André:

It was a super trip. All these beautiful things in 14 days. The most beautiful country I have ever seen. The trip was put together terrifically so that we were never bored one bit and we could enjoy more fine things every day.
To André and me this was an unforgettable trip with a decent driver.

I have been keeping track of the countries I wanted to visit since 1974, when I was 19. India was not number 1, but it surely was part of that list. I had probably found a free slide of the Taj Mahal in a box of biscuits (yes I still have that slide) and the story around it fitted the romantic soul I had at the time perfectly. The white domes have still been part of my daily routine ever since I got back from India two weeks ago.

But India, in particular the area of Rajasthan, was so much more than the Taj Mahal which is just across the border of Rajasthan by the way. We were watching, watching, watching, ‘wowing’ and ‘oohing’, discovering something new with every blink of our eyes. After a two-week’s tour the Taj was only a part of a magnificent round trip and, especially this part of India, is the place to go for everyone who thinks has seen it all.

However, Linda and I are fully aware of the fact that this country of thousand and one nights could only pass before us the way it did because of how we made this journey. Some fellow travellers must have written as well that the combination of travelling in a group and as a couple by car is a pure luxury of feeling ‘free’ in every meaning of the word. What glorious feeling to travel through this beautiful country and landscape, to stop every now and then and to have a closer look at this nice and friendly country. The hotels that were booked fitted this fairy tale. Definitely something to do again some day, maybe a little more slowly but in the same way.

You might think that I think the day we went to the Taj Mahal was the most beautiful thing in our journey. No, first on our list is still our driver, Ajay, whom we always called Adjay and who made us believe we were maharajas for two weeks in his beautiful, very beautiful country! Actually I would like to visit every country this way. Thanks to everybody who gave Linda and me this opportunity to make the best trip or our lives. Hawaii can wait!

Karel en Ilse:

We thought the trip through India was a great experience! Travelling in a group and still have your own driver and car was the perfect way to travel for us to explore as much as we could during the two weeks. We enjoyed beautiful edifices, each one of them architectural tour de forces, the Taj Majal being the highlight (so cliché).

In comparison with this pomp and circumstance we also got to know the lives and doings of the Indian population. Despite the strong contrast between the havens of peace inside the temples and fortresses on the one hand and the everyday jungle of the towns and villages on the other, we learned to appreciate both. The Indian vegetarian cuisine has also surprised us pleasantly, such variety, colours and tastes. We feel homesick already for this wonderful cuisine. India captured our hearts!

Thanks, Rob, for not keeping this way of travelling to yourself, but to share it with other Dutch and Belgian globetrotters! We wish you a long and good cooperation with Rattan in India. Thanks, Nest, for preparing our trip so thoroughly and for being our always good-humoured  guide on the spot. And thank you travel companions, this was a pleasant group. We had a real buzz.

We will definitely go back to India again. We surely want to visit Chandigarh and Ahmedabad some time, but there are also Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn to consider (stubborn habits). Mumbai and South-India are also on our list.

Adinda:

India, Rajasthan, it won’t let go, every night I relive the many unique moments in my dreams!
It was like travelling through time.  A land of great contrasts:  different worlds in which chaos is confronted with the structure and peace of nature, temples, haveli’s and fortresses, man – woman, rich – poor, light and shadow, colour – grey, sadness – joy …
I have made my own India still life inside my house with archaeological findings (thanks Marijke), ceramic pots, desert sand in a bottle, pebbles, and so on.

Every day I look at my pictures and only now I realise all the things we have seen, like André says: “ We were watching, watching, watching, ‘wowing’ and ‘oohing’, discovering something new with every blink of our eyes.”
My highlight: “Ranakpur Jain temple”

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