This time everything went well. I had to check-out early this morning and the train was on time. The decision for the AC-Char was perfect. I did not have to freeze this train ride and could easily catch up some sleep.
The train ride was quite interesting since you are able to catch impressions of the countryside of India. The train is passing by a lot of small villages which are completely to the cities I’ve seen before – less developed and slower pace of life. Nevertheless, all people seemed to be happy in their way.
I arrived in Varanasi full of energy after a drive of six hours and a lot of sleep. Arriving in Varanasi, I went directly to the U.P. Tourist Office which was recommended by my tourist guide. The guy in the tourist office was really friendly and gave me a map of the most important locations. He also marked the location of the Shanti Guesthouse for me
Happy about the great and nice help I went to the pre-paid Taxi stand. I had to pay 95 Rupees for the transfer to Goudalia, the old district of Varanasi which is near to all the Ghats next to the Ganges River. It happened again that the driver started to ask me 100 times to which hotel I want to go. Every time I told him that I wan to the Shanti Guesthouse. As usual he was offering me more “better” and “lot of cheaper” Hostels. At the end he brought me to a fake Shanti Guesthouse which had the name “The Real Shanti Guesthouse”. Seems to be that everything in India which is starting with “Real …” or “The real …” seems to be a fake? I checked the business card of the Hostel and compared the address to my address I’ve got from the tourist information. It appeared to be a fake again since this Hostel was far away from the Ghats. The funny thing is that this Hostel had the same painting and an aquarium in the lobby as the real one. So if you compare the pictures from the website you’re going to think thats the real one but it isn’t.
Fortunately I had still the Pre-Paid bill in my hands and without it the driver don’t get his money. I told him that I am able to check the position with GPS and we are not in the real guesthouse. My Nikon AW110 comes with GPS and world map. Therefore I was able to see that we are far away from the Ghats.
After a long discussion the driver brought me finally to Goudalia. Motor rickshaws are not allowed in the centre of Goudalia and therefore I had to walk the last meters to the hotels. I passed a lot of shops, temples and some ghats until I reached the Shanti Guesthouse. The Shanti Guesthouse was the best one I could have chosen. It’s quite clean, cheap and offers a nice rooftop restaurant with great food. They charge you 400 rupees for one night for a room with Ganges River view.
After having a cold shower (I was too lazy to get some warm water from the fifth floor) I had a delicious Thali at the roof-top restaurant of the Shanti Guesthouse. They also have great internet what enabled me to finish some ToDos for Address-Base and my other companies.
After having new energy from the meal I headed out to the old city of Varanasi with my DSLR to make shots of temples and the street live at night. The small alleys are really interesting and every corner offers you amazing impressions.
India would not be India without cows and sometimes in it happens that they are blocking your way and you have to figure out another options. They just stay there and enjoy their meal without moving. But Indian people know how to move the cows using a small slap – I have still too much respect from them ;).
Tomorrow I finally will go to a Vodafone Shop in order to get a SIM Card. This enables me to be more flexible since I am able to work everywhere. Most free WIFI are unstable and slow which is sometimes a burden for your nerves.