After 16 months of careful planning the day was finally here. Four months of exploring, travelling, adventure. Getting to experience new cultures and ways of life backpacking around Asia.
Armed with my new haul of products from Nevisport I was ready for the biggest adventure of my life. I will be doing lots of different activities while travelling including, but not limited to, hiking, camping and climbing. For this, you should always ensure you have the best kit. I packed SealSkinz gloves and socks, Berghaus shorts and rucksack, Animal beanie, and a pair of Merrell shoes.
We caught the 22:45 from Gatwick in what would be a 15-hour trip to stop number one… Delhi. After a long flight via Dubai with almost no sleep, we were immediately thrown into the madness of Delhi, India.
Touching down in Delhi…
A 45 minute taxi journey was all it took to realise how far away we were from home, both physically and culturally. The lanes that divide the traffic seem to be more of a suggestion then strict guidelines with the sound of horns a constant noise. Within only a few minutes of reaching our hotel, we soon realised that the amenities we would normally expect from a ‘western’ abode was way off the mark from what would actually be delivered. A bucket and a cold tap was our only means of cleaning and the air con was temperamental to say the least. But we hadn’t gone on this adventure to experience five star hotels with comfy beds and hot showers, we had gone to experience a completely alien environment. As soon as we had freshened up after our long flight we threw ourselves head first into what night time in Delhi had to offer.
As soon as you step out into the Delhi streets it really is all go. A tip for people planning a trip here should prepare for the sheer amount of people walking, trading and sleeping on the streets. For first timers it could be a bit overwhelming and people will approach you asking your name, where you come from and will try to sell you all manner of items. All I can advise from my first couple of days here is to politely say no and walk on. They generally don’t mean any harm from it but do be wary of pick-pockets.
A bit of exploring…
Food is something that is very easy to come by in Delhi with restaurants and food stands galore. We were overwhelmed with the choice and finally settled for a restaurant near our hotel. The food in India is amazing with a huge variety of ingredients available. They do like their spice here, so always ask how many chillies are in the dishes before ordering as we found that even a korma made us sweat! The second day the hotel arranged a driver who took us round both New and Old Delhi, showing us some of the best spots. The parliament building is breathtaking and I would definitely recommend going to see the India gate, a monument closely resembling the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is dedicated to all the fallen India soldiers who fell preserving India’s sovereignty over the last century. Our driver, Ajay, perfectly resembled the characteristics of the Indian population. He was extremely warm and catered to our every need. His recommendations seemed genuine and we never felt forced into buying anything. That being said, there are traders in the street stores who will be more forceful so you do need to have your wits about you. After a full on first day, jet lag started getting the better of us and with our planned tour of the golden triangle starting the following evening we went for dinner and turned in for the night.
The following day we had a few hours to explore more of what Delhi had to offer so we left our hotel early and wandered into New Delhi. This was built by the British when India became part of the Empire so generally the buildings are more modern and a little better maintained. My Merrells were a godsend for this walk as we covered over ten miles that day and it felt like I was walking on a cloud the whole time. The airflow technology on my rucksack has also been great for keeping my back dry and my shorts were lightweight, airy and comfortable with no rubbing, even in 37 degree heat.
Being in New Delhi is almost like being in a completely new city, where the streets are wide and not very built up. In comparison, Old Delhi, where our hotel is located is a vast metropolis of buildings upon buildings. Our final destination was City Park, mirroring that of Central Park in New York. It really is amazing that in a manic and loud city such as Delhi that situated in the middle was this calm quiet park that could easily have been located in the Cotswolds.
Our next port of call was Jaipur which was to be the start of some very exciting activities and so far we have managed to do some trekking up a mountain. The whole experience was quite different to hiking in the UK as it was much hotter than I am used to but a fantastic adventure nonetheless. We also went on an exhilarating cycle around the Indian countryside and managed to catch up with some of the locals when we were there. With the risk of shamelessly plugging all my new gear aside, it all certainly helped keep me cool and comfortable during the exciting activities.
Where to next?
Keep your eyes peeled for Jake’s next post where he will be giving us the rundown on all things Down Under as he travels to Australia for the next leg of his trip.