04 August 2016 - INDIA
India awaits us and what an exciting time to look forward to!
I know there are some of you out there that won't be joining us in India for various reasons but for those who have decided to join us I look forward to travelling through this lovely country with you.
What should I expect you ask? Well, on arrival into Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai (depending on which tour option you choose) one is met with the hustle and bustle of the local people, the tuk tuks and car hooters all forming part of the fabric that is India. Where do all these people go at the end of their long day I have always wondered?
Then it's off to your chosen hotel, the standards of which are superb. We have chosen the best properties for your stay in India and once you've settled in, the food, service and comfort will make you feel immediately "at home".
The drinking water is provided in sealed bottles and there are ample supplied to your rooms during your stay. I used the bottled water for brushing teeth as well as for drinking.
The restaurants in the hotels offer Thai, Japanese, European and of course Indian cuisine, so the choices are many.
What were my favourites in India, a country that I have been fortunate to have visited 10 times? Well each town/city has its own peculiarities but for me Shimla did the trick. When staying in Shimla in November/December one is surrounded by the snow covered Himalayan mountains and the views are fantastic. Should you dress warmly when there? Yes, I would certainly take a jumper. The air is quite thin up there (Shimla is 6,000ft above sea level) and much cooler than the other cities we will visit on our travels.
In Delhi I enjoyed my visit, on the back of a peddle rickshaw (a peddle tuk tuk), to the old part of Delhi and its narrow streets and literally hundreds of small shops where half the fun of buying something is bartering for the item. One of the best Indian restaurants I have eaten in is in Delhi. It's called Bukhara in the Sheraton hotel and if you are going there on one of our tours then booking a table is essential.
Mumbai has its own charm and I enjoyed the seafood served at Trisha. It's a five-minute walk from the Taj Hotel at the Gateway to India - if you have the time, go and indulge yourself!
The Colaba Causeway is a fun place to shop, bargain with stall holders for the price of your purchase and just soak up the atmosphere and wonder at the vast variety of things to buy, from "knock offs” to originals. There is also the Bombay Gymkhana to visit - a large open area near the centre of the city where Sachin Tendulkar began playing his cricket.
Chennai was a city that I visited for the first time on my recent recce visit and I was impressed with the quality of the hotels as well as the Fishercove beach resort, 45 minutes from the city that we will use as a break away on one of our itineraries.
Lastly, let me say that the quality of all the cricket grounds have improved enormously since my first visit 6 years ago. These improvements are due mainly to the advent of the IPL. So what a relief not only to have a comfy seat to sit in while watching the cricket but also to have a clean one to sit on if one needed the "loo".
My memories of India are many and treasured and it is my hope that you will go away with memories of your own that you will share with family and friends.
So join us folks as we explore some of the cities and towns of India while also enjoying that wonderful game of cricket in a country that is cricket mad.
I look forward to travelling with you.
Cheers for now
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2016