Trip to Jaipur to see Ramlila between Navratri and Dussehra

I hardly remember the flight to Jaipur on the occasion of Dussehra to see the Ramlila. On the plane, my traveling companion would be an Iranian girl. We started a conversation (we were traveling alone) and she asked me if it was my first time to New Delhi. I answered yes. She smiled at me and said this is my sixth time. Upon arrival at the airport, she came to say goodbye to me smiling and said Do you smell something? At the time I did not understand it but minutes later I would understand the concept.

As soon as I picked up my luggage, there was the owner of the local car agency with the driver that I decided to hire. I only had 10 days of vacation so it was the easiest way to move around. They received me with a big smile and as soon as he got to the car he put a nice wreath of flowers around my neck. When I went out, the smell of a mixture of heat, humidity, sand, spices, and flowers, came to me. I was in New Delhi.

As soon as we started, I was mesmerized, I could not blink. New Delhi seemed huge. It looked like any capital in the world except for the old vehicles and the people. They left me in my nice hotel to rest and still under shock, I kept thinking Oh, my God! What have I done! What am I doing here?

The next morning, and more awake, I kept thinking about what the bucket, the jug, and the small stool in my bathroom were for and watched from the balcony the infernal hubbub of the street. I began to see countless people parading in military suits and a traffic of madness. Yes, indeed I was in Delhi!

I went down to breakfast. The driver warned me that many of the places I would visit in Delhi would be closed so he proposed an alternative plan. It was to go and celebrate Dussehra with him and his family in Jaipur. Obviously, I accepted, delighted, with my eyes closed. New Delhi would be for another trip.

There we went. Inside the car, I felt protected and that was that everything was so different. I felt displaced. I was not able to blend in with my surroundings as in other trips. Besides it was impossible to go unnoticed! However, slowly, everything caught me. There was the chaos of the streets, the eternal brown dust that surrounded everything.

There were a lot of animals walking around. I see the striking colors of the saris, the very white and ironed shirts of men. They had their big smiles from ear to ear and a scary way of looking at your eyes. Those five hours of the car came to me wonderfully to continue assimilating everything that I surrounded.

I get in a hotel even more wonderful than the previous one. They hosted me in a wonderful old colonial house, a very cozy haveli, in which I started to feel like a prince. The havelis are traditional historical buildings. They usually have a central courtyard and are usually richly decorated.

The driver warned me that he will rest and that he would come looking for me at night for the festivities. I was not capable. Although I was still insecure, I had a crazy desire to go out and explore more. In the end, I have a shower and I began to observe the traffic and the children through the window, playing in the streets.

Rama Ravana wallpaper

It is good in the morning and in the evening when temperatures fall to more reasonable levels, but during the day when it is 35-36 degrees, I cannot do anything. I would also like to go out. However, it is true that for the others here, accustomed to the heat, the worst of the summer has already passed and by now the heat of the day is more supportable! They look at me with a little bit of perplexity.

At the scheduled time, my kind host came to pick me up with a surprise. We would go to his house on a motorcycle! You can already imagine what adventure.

As you can imagine visiting the house was also an experience. Very proud, he told me that the two-story building had been built with his cousin who lived on the ground floor. He lived with his three children and his wife on the first floor but both families could communicate through a grate that was on the floor of the hall. They received me in a big way in their modest home. I was delighted to see how they prepared everything. The women were kneading the dough and preparing some naans for us. The children looked at me smiling and cheerful. I dined alone. The others would dine later.

After the wonderful dinner, and thanking the cook a thousand times, we went by car with about 10 children (cousins and children of neighbors joined us) to go see the festivities. The children surrounded me and started to take me from one place to another, very happy to show me everything and be able to show off me. They all kept taking pictures of me. First, they took me to temples and taught me the rituals. I basically imitated them. A few granites of rice to one, some flower petals to another and a drink of water in front of another.

As in any good festival, there were many street stalls. So the children and I went for a candy and once again the curiosity killed the cat and without thinking I risked trying everything. Then, I go to a huge esplanade where there was the typical neighborhood orchestra and some huge papier-mache statues that represented Rama. At 12 they would burn them.

The only fair attraction there was a car that circled on rails around a pivot but it seemed like no more to all those children who cheered and applauded everyone who climbed. During this period, I watch the representation of Ramlila, which is the battle between Rama and Ravana. This is the story of Rama, a prince forced into exile.

He finds love with Sita but has to face his rival Ravana. Rama and Sita are finally crowned, king and queen of Ayodhya. But Sita, accused by the people of being unfaithful, is dismissed. Rama forces her, then, to exile. Some time later, while regretting it, he asks her to pass a fire test to prove her fidelity but Sita, touched in her honor, refuses to the great despair of Rama.

Whew, what an adventure! After so many years, I went to see the ceremony of burning the Ravan and his brothers. There were huge cardboard puppets, full of fireworks and noisy crackers.

When the fire flared up and the combs burst, for a moment it seemed like hell. I was going to watch this ceremony as a child 35-40 years ago and then, I had seen it on TV a few times. Being there in the crowd, feeling the excitement of the people around, the stinging noise of the crackers, the peculiar smell of fireworks was very nice.

Rama burned Ravana and his brothers and everything became magical. I witness a parade of floats where the men dressed as their gods, wearing makeup in their sequined clothes, sit majestically on floats, accompanied by the music of the brass band that the crowd follows, in a a deluge of light that flashes in all directions.

It's magical, with the music, and images of colors. My first day and my first night were full of cultural insertion, with emotions and feelings on the surface. Now I was beginning to believe it. I was in Rajasthan and I knew I would never forget that trip.

The next morning, after that atypical night, it was time to visit Jaipur. After a full day of walking, I went early to rest and it is that the next day we would wait another four hours to Agra to complete the tour of the Golden Triangle.

The driver requested me that before leaving for Jaipur city he wanted to take me to dinner to a very special place. So it was! They took me to a little village lost outside. When we arrived, suddenly, we saw a huge caravan of cars and people queuing like crazy to get into an enclosure. That night in addition to tasting all of Rajasthan's local cuisine it would be even crazier than the previous one.

That place, which unfortunately I do not remember the name, was like a giant amusement park in which the locals paid a fixed entrance for dining and being able to access attractions of all kinds. There were camel or ox cart rides, a slide with an elephant helping you climb, several dance floors, snake charmers, magicians, puppets for children. It was totally amazing!

Roadmap of a Trip to Alaska in Motorhome

Alaskan winters are unforgettable. There is nothing like them in the world. Most people have their own idea as to what winter is like, but really, Alaska is in a class all alone. Yes, they are cold. They are also very dry. They also are long! But on the upside are the amazing opportunities to play in the white winter wonderland that it creates. Nothing beats a cold winters night with a full moon shining on the snow and ice. Now that is a beauty! If you want to really know Alaska, you must visit in the winter. It is amazing!

Day 1 - We arrived in Anchorage

Our new adventure begins very, very early. Nothing less than at 4 in the morning. The car picks us up at home to accompany us to the airport, since our flight leaves at 6:50h. Once the bags are checked in and we are boarded, after ten hours, we arrive in Frankfurt. Here we stop for an hour and a half, before returning to our second flight to Anchorage in Alaska.

We have to pass another security checkpoint and this time it is much more exhaustive. In fact, we open the backpack of the photographic equipment and they carefully inspect us. But nothing, they immediately see that we are harmless! Once inside the plane, we were pleasantly surprised, because when flying with a low-cost company, we were a bit afraid of what we could find. Also, the criticisms of the forums were not very good, really.

Flying over Greenland has offered us some good images. What has fascinated us most of the journey, have been the views we have had at the time we fly over Greenland, near the North Pole. Spectacular! It seemed like we were watching a live documentary! The sea is absolutely calm and the sun reflected in the pieces and plates of ice scattered everywhere. It was very pretty! Only the polar bears were missing here!

We arrived tired by the flight but happy to start the route. Once in Anchorage and after doing the corresponding immigration procedures, we take a taxi and go to our Bed and Breakfast. It is simple but it is a small house, with 5 rooms, and a common area for tea and coffee at any time. We went for a walk and immediately we saw the city of Anchorage. It is not very big and neither has anything special to see or highlight.

It has typical wide American avenues, parking zones everywhere and a Downtown that is the only place where you can find a little activity. What we do like is the time it does. A bright sun accompanies us during our walk. And just a couple of days ago they were out of light because of storms and hurricane winds. What luck we have had! We went into a pub that the B&B boy recommended us to have something light since our stomachs accuse the food of the plane, the jetlag and the hours of sleep. It is better not to gamble!

Now we know where the inhabitants of Anchorage were. They enjoy in the bars and pubs! The temperature is low, and we can find steals inside to avoid cold. And we return to the hotel, which for us is already more than 6 in the morning and we cannot take it anymore! We have turned the clock! Tomorrow will be a very special day. We will meet our traveling companion: the caravan!

Day 2 - We pick up the caravan

And today, finally, we can say that our adventure truly begins. We have collected our house on wheels! And once we have the place to sleep, we wanted to fill the pantry. We approached the mega-supermarket in the town of Wasilla. Here they have everything! Of course, we have found that everything here is very expensive. It is normal if we think that almost all products should be brought from outside.

We take the opportunity to buy some salads and we eat them inside the new house, towards the tourist town of Talkeetna, where we sleep tonight. For a moment I am about to change the transport. Lake Willow looks like a real mirror! Everywhere, you see seaplanes. They use them as if they were taxis. The town is full of restaurants and bars. We take the opportunity to have dinner at the Restaurant.

This town is a meeting point for unique characters and the hippie community around the world. For what we have been able to know, in times of maximum affluence, the town is full of parties and the "flower power" atmosphere. We spend the night in the Talkeetna Camper Park where our caravan is one of the smallest. Here are real "mastodons" on wheels! The facilities are very simple and we pay $ 30 per night. It is cold and while we write these lines, the thermometer shows 5 degrees. We only have one day and the three of us have already been very friendly!

Day 3 - The spectacular Mount McKinley

We got up early in Talkeetna after spending our first night on the caravan. It has been quite cold. We realize that we will need heating more often than we thought! At 7:30 the crystals were frozen! And we also make our first breakfast. How we like that feeling of freedom.

We went to the Talkeetna Air Taxi company to request information about air flights to observe Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, with 6,194 meters. There are different travel options and even offer a landing and a walk through a base camp between the peaks.

We take the simplest one, because although they give us a discount for the low season. But we are pleasantly surprised when on the verge of leaving. They make us put on special boots to walk on the snow. We look at the poor manager in the face of not understanding anything. Well, in fact, we had understood the opposite of what we had hired. We will enjoy a walk through the snows. Phew! Americans talk too fast and we do not get half the stuff!

In total, the excursion by plane takes just over 2 hours and is one of the most incredible experiences of our life. Hallucinatory! The flight is a pass, but we assume that the beautiful day we have is what has made it a special day. The plane is for 6 people and we are accompanied by 2 Japanese and 2 Americans.

The pilot tells us a lot of details but speaks very fast (we cannot stop thinking that we have to go back to English classes). We fly over the summits of Denali, which are very white. Finally, we landed in a flat snowy area, where we went down and enjoyed a half hour surrounded by peaks and virgin snow everywhere. Not with all the photos of the world can we describe what it is like to be up there.

The feeling of magnitude is brutal. We feel tiny and very lucky! Once on land, we face the route to Denali National Park, one of the most important in the country. We drive on Highway 3, always surrounded by trees and snowy mountains. What landscapes!

We often stop to take pictures and, as always, we get distracted by anything and we spend the most rapid time. The day is really spectacular. We had been told that it was very difficult to see the top of Mount McKinley since it is almost always covered. Well, today its vision has accompanied us throughout the journey! And people seem to have thanked it. At one of the scenic spots in the area, the Denali View South, there were a lot of people enjoying the image of the main peaks of this mountain range. What a vision!

It starts to get late, and although we tighten the rhythm a bit, we continue to stop from time to time to enjoy the views. And we spent more than 20 minutes putting gasoline. We have spent half a deposit and do not want to risk not finding gas stations in the area. What we did not know is that the "bug" has a larger deposit than the entire refinery. The bikers and their Harleys cannot miss any route through the USA!

And on the last kilometers, the weather decides that it has already shown us too much sun for today. Very dark clouds appear very fast and a shower falls for 20 minutes. We finally arrived at the Riley Creek campsite, located inside the Denali Parc. It is huge and has no electricity or water in the camping area. We will spend two nights here with everything our caravan can offer us. We are in the middle of the forest and the tranquility is absolute. What a pleasure!

Day 4 - Excursion to Denali Park

We got up very early (06:15h) to be punctual to the excursion that we had organized for today. There is a tour of the Park Road, a road that goes into the Denali National Park, and that can only be done on buses from the same park. We had booked it online from home so as not to suffer since it is common for many people to be there and seats get sold out quickly. But before we leave let us explain the surrealist anecdote of the day and perhaps of the trip.

We left with the camping caravan with all the silence we could so as not to disturb the rest of the campers. And you know the ones that know us, that it costs us a lot to get up and running so early. Before arriving at the center from where the buses depart, we stopped at the campsite reception to go to the bathroom, but I found it closed. Completely asleep I went back to the caravan.

I open the door, I sit on the seat, I take the wheel when suddenly I hear a male voice that says: Sorry! I turn scared and I find a boy, his girlfriend and two grandparents looking at me with frightened faces. I'm slow to react. The hands are behind the wheel, and I do not understand what happens. I have confused my caravan and I have risen to another one! How I can, I apologize and I run. Shame kills me, but I cannot stop laughing!

We arrive punctually at the exit of the bus that will take us to almost the end of the route. We arrive at the Wonder Lake after more than 5 hours of road between mountains. But we are stunned when they tell us that it is snowing in the area and for the moment no bus leaves. The minutes, the hours' pass and each time more people arrive from the later turns.

We ask if they know how the situation is and the answer is always the same: "impossible to leave and we do not know when they will resume service". We waited 4 hours, and before the general uncertainty, we decided to change the excursion for the next day. It's 11 o'clock in the morning and we have to find how to fill the day. No problem.

We take the caravan and drive the 15 miles where you can drive with private vehicles inside the Denali Park. We understand right away why the excursions had been canceled. Snowflakes begin to fall, and the landscape becomes white quickly. The white forests have something special. We stop to eat with our caravan in a large parking lot with the mountains in the background. It's what you have to take the house on! We can stop almost where we want.

It starts to snow! We stop again to do a small trail of half a kilometer between the whitewashed forest. We also reached the Savage River, where we found that there is something cooler than the environment: the river water. It's cold! We decided to go back by the same (and only) way, and as if by magic, time changes radically. The sun rises and the colors of the woods take those typical tonalities of autumn. There are greens, yellows, and browns. Spectacular!

We stopped at the Visitor Center of the Denali National Park. It is very modern and functional. There we see many routes to go on foot excursions. We see a short, the Taiga Trail (1'5 km) and we plan to walk. We met very few people and a lot of tranquility.

We return with the caravan to the reception of our campsite. For $ 4 you have the right to a shower and a towel, which helps us recover. We also connect to the internet for a while, since it is the only point in the area where we can find a connection. We settle in our square and make a good dinner of sausages with mashed potatoes. Let's see if tomorrow we can do the planned trip.

Roadmap of a Trip to Alaska in Motorhome

Day 5 - We see bears and northern lights

At 07:00 o'clock in the morning we are back in the Wilderness Center (place of departure of the buses), to see if today it is possible to make the trip to Denali. It has snowed again during the night and they tell us that they cannot leave at the set time. We already think we'll have to cancel today's start again, but after 45 minutes the bus finally starts. We are very happy, and that the best is yet to come.

The snowfall has left a spectacular landscape and the sun comes out strongly. The day is expected magnificent. Our driver cum guide does not stop giving us advice and directions during the route. He tells us that if someone sees an animal, shout "stop!"

And this is what happens later. A bear walks peacefully through the forest and enters the path to guide us for a few minutes. In silence, we all get hooked on the windows and the shutters of the cameras begin to sound non-stop. What an impression An authentic bear in freedom!

The route is very well prepared. This is how the Americans are. They like to have a good functioning of their National Parks. They feel proud and they make it known. We would like to have the freedom to move wherever we want, but do not allow the entry of private vehicles. Only in certain places, where they let you camp, but as long as you stay a minimum of days and ask for the corresponding permit.

We make about 4 10-minute stops, each at different points. Some with good views. Our route goes to Eielson Visitor Center, a modern information point, with the powerful Mount McKinley in front. By the way, although they confirm that it is difficult to see it without clouds, we have been photographing it for two days! McKinley or Denali, as they like to call it here. And also The Great One.

We have taken 4 h 15min to get to the middle of the route. That is, we will make a total of just over 8 hours. You can also choose a shorter route of 6 hours (Tokla River) and an even longer one of 11 hours (Wonder Lake).

We still have the luck to see more bears (4 in total, one of them with their two offspring) and the truth is that they impress. Although we have come with a lot of photographic equipment, we miss a lot more powerful telephoto. Any compact camera goes further than ours!

We liked the Park so much that I've asked for a job as a Ranger! I already have a uniform! We are tired of the trip but very happy for the perfect day. We are about to stay one more night in the area, but we decided to continue our route. We arrived at the town of Nenana, where we settled in the Nenana RV Park Campground.

The night is very clear and it is cold. We are tired, but we wait for it to be totally at night. Never in life have we seen a sky with so many stars! We were amazed! We can see the Milky Way above us. I freeze, but I spent a lot of time taking photos outside.

I know another camper who spends long seasons here. And he is an expert in night photography. The man is super equipped (and warmer than me). It's a pleasure to meet another freak! I do not feel so alone. I ask him if maybe today we will see an aurora borealis. He tells me that he has photographed many. We spent a long time under the stars. At times trying to understand us, at times in long silences contemplating the sky.

The camera battery says enough, and it's late. I say goodbye to him and go to sleep. I was about to fall deeply asleep when we hear a knock at the door. What a scare! I open the door and I find our friend who tells us that an aurora is forming! He goes shooting. I put on the first clothes I find, and we went outside. We return to hallucinate with the spectacle that heaven offers us.

The aurora is not very powerful, but it looks like a long serpent of green colors that does not stop moving. We stayed a good while under its movement. We would not go to sleep all night, but when it's half past two and we decided to go to bed. Today has already offered us a lot of fun and, above all, a lot of emotion!

Day 6 - Relax on the road. Chena Hot Spring

Today we woke up a little later, and we took everything very calmly. We had breakfast, emptied the caravan's tanks. We take the route from the town of Nenana to the city of Fairbanks. We take advantage of the fact that at the entrance to the cities there are always shopping centers and gas stations to fill the deposit. We also entered a large supermarket to buy more provisions. But when we go to the center, our GPS takes us to the anecdote of the day.

Suddenly we found a military checkpoint and soldiers stopped the vehicle. We do not understand what happens! They tell us that we cannot go there without special permission. We explain that we only want to visit the city, but makes us turn around, without much explanation.

We do not give up, and we search several streets further to try to get there where the map tells us. But again another control! This soldier is kinder, and he tells us that there is no going to Fairbanks. This is a military base, and that we cannot pass. We appreciate the information, and we turn around until we find some signs that guide us to the center.

Like most cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is not very pretty. There are many wide streets and low buildings, without any charm. Where we find more life is always the Downtown. There we had a meal and snack at a cafe. We try to visit an ice museum recommended by the guide, but when we enter we are told that the cooling system has broken down the day before. It is better not to see the sculptures because they are falling apart!

We see this as a sign to continue our route. We head for the thermal town of Chena Hot Springs, where basically we only find a thermal water center. We take Highway 2 to the Chena Hot Spring Road detour. The road is very beautiful. As we approach our destination, the afternoon offers us wonderful colors. The green, brown and yellow trees accompany us during the 56 miles that the journey lasts. There are several campsites on the banks of the Chena River, where we can sail and enjoy fishing.

We stop at a small point to pause on the road at Red Squirrel State. It is a small lake surrounded by trees and with several tables to sit and picnic. When we arrive at Chena Hot Spring it is already 7 o'clock in the afternoon. We parked our caravan inside the forest, where we are completely alone.

We take a tour of the facilities. It is a spa with thermal waters, where we can bathe in warm waters until late (from 10am to midnight). We discovered that it is full of Japanese people and they even have many Japanese employees to serve the clientele well. We get a washing machine to keep everything clean.

We dined in his restaurant the first hamburger of the trip. Then we decided to have a hot bath. It has already become obscure, but we do not want to miss the opportunity. The facilities disappoint us a bit, as they are quite old. The hot bath outside under the stars is great. It leaves us like new!

And the best is yet to come. We return to the caravan, which we have left a little hidden among the trees. At night the place impresses much more! It was lonely and dark. We dare to leave despite the cold. It was awesome again! A new northern light begins to form. It is authentic as it is molded. We return at two thirty in the morning, and finally, we go to sleep, but again we close our eyes with incredible memories of the day.

Day 7 - North Pole

We begin to notice fatigue. During the day we do not stop, and we do not sleep much! After the visual spectacle of yesterday, and having slept less than 7 hours, we got up and started walking towards Fairbanks again. We begin to descend towards the south. On the way, we stopped in the bizarre town of North Pole (someone had the brilliant idea of baptizing a town with the name of North Pole).

And guess what is the great tourist attraction of the place. Well, here it represents that Santa Claus has his office and receives the letters of all the children of the world. We do not know how many of these offices he must have scattered around the planet. There is a superstore where we can find all kinds of items related to Christmas.

It seems that the magnificent landscapes do not leave us. After Denali National Park, we headed to Wrangell - St. Elias National Park Reserve. The road continues surrounded by mountains and trees of powerful colors.

We make more than one stop on the way to rest a bit and take pictures, and check what we read in more than one guide. Along the rivers and lakes, is full of small flies. And that in September they say there are not so many, but in summer it's much worse!

The day is still clear (we did not believe it) and we have been able to see with total clarity the 3 most important peaks of the Alaska Range: Mt. Deborah (3,761 meters), Hess Mountain(3,639 meters) and Mt. Hayes (4,216 meters) ). We are also impressed by the pipeline that carries the oil that is extracted from the north of Alaska and reaches Valdez, next to the sea. From there it is distributed in the rest of the country by boat.

We return to put gasoline and clean the crystals in the town of Delta Junction, where we are about to stay for the night. But since it's only 6:30 pm, we decided to continue a little longer and finally, we stopped at the Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site.

They are camping areas, where we only find a plot of land delimited by plots. They do not have electricity or showers or any type of service. The purpose is just a place to spend the night. The good thing is that they are in the middle of nature, and they are very cheap.

We had a good time trying to light the fire to make dinner. But we have to tell the truth, we are not able to keep the flame! Finally, we have to cook inside the caravan. Today we expected a very good night for the formation of auroras, but finally, the sky has been blocked. And to be honest, in the forest, at night, we hear a lot of noise that we do not know very well where they come from.

Day 8 - First week of travel

At 4 o'clock in the morning, we started to hear the rain falling on our caravan. At any other time, being in the middle of the forest, completely alone, absolutely in the dark, could seem like a horror story. But just the opposite! We were so happy. We took breakfast very calmly. It is a sacred time for us!

We start under a gray sky, although it does not rain. However, the temperature remains as in the last days: cool during the day and very cold at night. We take the Richardson Hwy to the south, crossing the Alaska Range Mountains. Pipeline accompanies us almost all the time, and we have skimmed the Summit Lake, before reaching the town of Paxson, and the Paxson Lake just after.

The sun peeks out and accompanies us for a while until we reach Glennallen. We found the nerve center of the town, which would become a gas station, a gift shop and the visitor center. Here we took the opportunity to collect information about the excursion we want to do tomorrow at the Wrangell - St. Elias National Park Reserve.

We have also found two trucks: one that serves as a stall to sell fruit and vegetables and another that sells Thai food to take away. We take the opportunity to spend a little on both. We bought apples and peaches, and Thai Food We stopped a few meters ahead, with magnificent views, and took the opportunity to eat.

Roads like the Edgerton Hwy seem to never run out! We continue along the same road, where we stop for a coffee in the only cafe in town, or at least, the only one that is open. We connect to the internet, check the mail. When we finish, we go to Kenney Lake, where there is a campsite to spend the night, with the same name of the town. It's nothing special but it will be good to settle today.

Even Alaska clouds have something special with the Sanford Mountain at the end. We have a small moment of crisis because we want to book the trip for tomorrow to McCarthy and Kennicott. But when we ask the girls who run the campsite, they tell us that they think there are no longer any buses that go to this area of the Wrangell - St. Elias Park. They tell us that they have a phone from where we can call the bus company and we do that.

For a day, we cannot fulfill our plans! Next, we try to call the company that organizes the trekking excursions on the Root Glacier, which is the important part of the excursion. We talk again with the girls and, luckily, they offer to call people. They explain that they no longer make this trip and they confirm that there are no buses and that McCarthy is already closed for being out of season. It is what has to travel in mid-September for these lands!

So, change plans. Tomorrow we will try to get to Valdez, one of the most important towns by the sea, and we will enjoy the tranquility we have when we know there is no hurry.

Roadmap of a Trip to Alaska in Motorhome

Day 9 - En route to Valdez

Today we have learned something new. In the morning it can become impossible to fill the water tank of the caravan. We have come across the frozen camping water pipe. We leave to Valdez, towards the south of Alaska, next to the sea. Today we can say that time has completely changed. The rain has accompanied us during the day. We already thought it was amazing that during the first week we had the sun that we now do so much less!

But we also have to say that the visual spectacle is worth it, with the air that the fog and the rain give. We stopped to eat at the foot of the Worthington Glacier and we faced the final straight towards Valdez. Before arriving, we stopped at a couple of waterfalls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horsetail Falls.

We cross by the Tsaina River and we stopped at the Horsetail waterfall like any tourist. In Valdez, we located the campsite. After having a snack in the caravan (there has been no way to find any decent cafeteria open throughout the town), we headed to the Dayville Road area. We had read in some forum that at the mouth of the river, in Solomon Gulch, you can see bears fishing and white-headed eagles. Let's see, right?

It is no longer a strong season, but we can still see salmon in the rivers and a white-headed eagle. We did not believe it but we went because we had nothing better to do. Our surprise has been to see a sign at the beginning of the road that alerted the presence of bears and warned not to leave the car. We have been driving along the road very slowly, watching both sides, but as the minutes went by and we did not find any sign of any bear, we were disappointed.

We have seen a pair of white-headed eagles, yes, but we were too far away to see it clearly. We have been stuck with the birds and thinking about going back to the campsite when suddenly, we have seen a huge black bear fishing in the middle of the river! We have spent more than an hour observing and admiring this beautiful animal as it ate salmon and scared the seagulls who wanted to steal his dinner. What a show!

And besides, we were the only spectators present! There are a lot of regulations explaining that you cannot get closer than 90 meters from a bear, but we did not dare to move the caravan, and it was getting closer. We've had it about 25 meters! When it gets dark, we go back to the campsite for dinner and go to bed with the background noise of the rain, which today has been with us all day.

Day 10 - Valdez

Another day that we suffer the consequences of traveling in the low season. We got up in the town of Valdez and decided to have breakfast outside the caravan. We chose the bakery. Only by the name, it sounds good. We want a good cake. And for being the only authentic cafe in town (the rest are restaurants or bars) they do not do anything wrong. We have a very good cinnamon roll and coffee with half a liter of milk.

As we said, we suffer the small inconvenience of traveling out of season. It rains during the whole morning, and we did not finish deciding if to do the route in cruise visiting the Columbia Glacier or not. Since the day is very covered, the excursion is a little expensive. Finally, we think that since we are here we must do it. Well when we enter the offices to reserve it, they tell us that due to the bad weather and that they are about to finish the season, they have decided to close the cruise service.

We are already seeing that many sites do not even meet the schedules that we had consulted online before coming. We assume that since there are no tourists, they close early. We will have to return to the mountain, where they do not have schedules.

Change of plans. We undo part of the road yesterday and left Valdez. Before, we drive again on Dayville Road, the road that runs along the coast (where yesterday we saw a bear). But apart from many seagulls and some sea lion, we do not see anything else.

It rains all morning, and until late afternoon does not stop. We take it with philosophy. It is better to be positive, and during our trips, that is enough for both of us. The meter is already over 1,000 miles! (about 1,500 km). We stop the caravan and eat before the breathtaking views of Lake Atna. What more can we ask? We can not do this at home. 80% of the meals are cooked and eaten inside the caravan. No sandwiches or anything. We eat hot every day. We have meat, pasta, soups with creams. While eating in front of Lake Atna we feel who needs a TV.

A family of ducks crosses the road. We have risked a bit with gasoline (well, in fact, it has been my thing). We have hurried a bit and here we do not find gas stations in each town. It is better to be proactive and not rush. Finally, we stopped at a little girl we saw when we were already lying on the road. And the same thing happened to us when choosing the place to stop for the night.

We had planned a campsite in the village of Glennallen, but we found it closed (yes, again the issue of traveling out of season). We did not suffer much because we can stop the caravan in any corner and sleep, but we like to do it to marked camping areas.

And when we say campsites, do not imagine the typical coast or mountain of our country. They are quite simple. The most complete offer current and water in the square where you park, and a small building with showers and toilets. The simplest, usually belong to the National Parks of the State and are simple plots. Nothing else. In fact, there is no one to oversee them. You place yourself in the place you like and deposit $ 10 in a metal mailbox.

We are lucky to see another Bald Eagle. Well, it was getting dark and we do not know where to stop to sleep. Looking at the guide, we read that by Lake Louise we would find the Lake Louise Recreation Area. It is a free camping position. It took us a long time to get there because the road was not very good. But despite being very lost, we were surprised to see many cars when we arrived (well, they were all SUVs, most of them with trailers).

Suddenly, we found a couple of cars standing before us, and immediately we understood that there was an animal in sight. Of course! A group of deer has been planted on the road before our eyes. What an illusion. We are going to take pictures!

We prepare the camera and we are ready to get out of the car, just as the drivers in front of us do and another who has stopped behind. But the surprise has been when instead of cameras, they have opened the doors and have all left with rifles larger than our caravan. My God, they are all hunters. Now we understand everything! Pick-ups are for loading the hunted animals. Luckily, once we reached the camping area, a sign prohibited entry with firearms. We already saw ourselves sleeping surrounded by 20 uncles armed to the teeth.

Day 11 - On the Matanuska Glacier

Yesterday we did well to advance kilometers until we reached the place where we slept. The Lake Louise State Recreation Area has been a good choice. It is the typical camping place that we are meeting these days. Quiet, with lots of space and surrounded by nature. In this case next to the huge Lake Louise, where we have taken a walk before continuing the route. We make the 19 miles that separate us from the Glenn Highway and go to Palmer.

It's raining, and we stop to put gas at mile 128. There we found the restaurant cum lodge. As the universal flood begins to fall and it's been a long, windy day, we decided to start making a very hot coffee. We love the place. It's the typical American town cafe, with the tables and bar that we are used to seeing in the movies.

Only the place is full of hunters, all dressed the same in military clothing, and cap. They are bearded and pot-bellied. I think it shows quickly that we are not from Wisconsin, precisely. We decided to make a brunch and eat something. We order a hamburger and a cinnamon roll.

We continue forward with a full stomach. We are going to visit the Matanuska Glacier, one of the ones with the easiest access. At mile 102 we find the entrance to Glacier Park. It is an unpaved road and with all the rain that falls, it is turning into a bumpy mud. We go down very carefully. We even hesitate when crossing a narrow wooden bridge. We arrived at a kind of wooden building, half store-half park office. It turns out that the road to access the glacier is private, and we must pay $ 20 per person to pass.

We drive another 2 miles until we hit a huge glacier. What a feeling. In front of the caravan, we have one of the largest glaciers in the United States. The pity is that it does not stop raining, and the sky is very covered. What can we do! We decided to do a 1/4 mile walk until we reached the base of the glacier. The road is full of mud and water, and the rain begins to leave us well soaked, but we only look forward, towards the huge expanse of ice that seems gigantic.

There comes a point where it indicates that continuing is everyone's responsibility because it can be a bit dangerous. We walk a little on the ice until we see that it starts to slip too much. In fact, I am about to fall on my ass, and the truth is that the contact of ice on the skin is not very pleasant. We enjoy the views for a while, but we go back, soaked to the bone!

As always, we must have a photographic memory of our step. We make more road, with much attention, since the rain causes small rock slides on the road. Finally, around 6 pm, the clouds open and the sun appears. At last! We were waiting for it with so much desire that it seems like a magical vision.

We arrived in the city of Palmer. It's a little bigger than we were used to lately. As we see that there is a supermarket and they have a gas station, we take advantage of purchases and fill the deposit up. The first day of travel we took out a customer card and we have to take advantage of the discount they give us!

We searched the campsite Mountain View RV Park, which we had read was fine. We arrived just as it begins to get dark. They have electricity and wifi so we can load the pots. Very often we have to look for a library or a bar that has wifi to connect us.

Day 12 - In Palmer, with a little social life

We needed it! After so much nature and seeing very few people, it has been good to return to the city atmosphere. Well, the city is a saying. Palmer is small, but at the moment it is the city that we liked most of the trip. Typical wide streets and space everywhere, separate the buildings with huge tracts of land. As you can tell we have plenty. We ask for information at the Visitor Center. We look at gift shops, and we eat at the cafeteria cum restaurant that we love. Eating with other people from time to time is not so unpleasant.

How are these Americans? They even take money from ATMs without leaving the car. In Palmer we find a sculpture marking the distance in miles to many parts of the planet. Today it has not rained all day, and that has helped us a lot. We still have a lot of clothes drying from yesterday's flood.

We cover kilometers and go back to Anchorage, the city where we started the route. We do not stop. We will return to step on the last day. We continue along Highway 1 until we enter the Turnagain Arm, a long tongue of the sea inland.

There are plenty of viewpoints and places to stop for walks. At mile 111'9 we find the McHugh Creek Picnic Area. There we left the caravan and we went through the forest by one of the several treks. The trails are well marked and the forest is dense and full of vegetation. The posters that warn of the presence of bears create a strange sensation to us.

It is a mixture of wanting to meet one and at the same time not crossing any. Some hikers carry bells hanging to make a continuous noise. We will have to buy one! We circled a small river until we reached the starting point. It is a simple walk, but you can choose longer and more complicated trips.

Further on, in Birds Point Scenic Overlook, we stop to see the rise of the tide. It is pure mathematics. On the internet, we saw that at 17: 32h the sea level would rise, and we would match it to see it live. This is one of the best spots in the world where you can see the rapid change of the tide. It's amazing. At the time you see how a small wave goes into what was beach until a moment ago and gradually floods the entire length.

We enter the Kenai Peninsula. It was getting late and we do not know where to spend the night. We decided to do it in a free camping area, but due to some works on the road, we passed the point of entry. Every day we find some area of works. They do not stop to fix the roads and they have everything super well organized and signposted. Finally, we see a couple of moose, but we cannot stop and take pictures.

A little further on we find a campsite that looks good, and although it is already 8:00 pm and it starts to get dark. We find a friendly receptionist who tells us where to stand. The place is small, but we are among the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula.

Day 13 - Exit glacier

Today is the second day we visited a glacier, and again we enjoy seeing so close a huge mass of ice. After leaving the Renfro's Lakeside Retreat campsite (as these Yankees like the long names), we start the caravan towards the city of Seward (one of the most important on the Kenai Peninsula). Before, we deviated from Highway 9 (mile 3.7) in Exit glacier direction, located in Kenai Fjords National Park. A small road of just over 8 miles leads to a parking area from where different trekkings to approach the ice.

The rain again accompanies us, and on the way along the road, we meet a hiker who made the route on foot towards the glacier. He looks at us with a sad face and lifts his finger hitchhiking. We stop to pick him up. The poor man is soaked and he has a huge backpack. But how do you want to do more than 12 kilometers walking? He's from Boston and he's making a route through Alaska alone. We share a caravan until we reach the parking lot.

He tells us he wants to do the longest trek, the Harding Icefield Trail, but we settle for a shorter walk. We want to reach the point called The Edge of the Glacier. It is a very beautiful route, with a slight slope that leads us to find you close to the huge piece of ice. We see some signs that mark the extent of the glacier in different years, and we quickly realize the retreat suffered by the ice.

The rain does not help much to make the journey, but we do not care! We had a good time in front of the huge mass of ice, which has such characteristic bluish colors. When we return to the caravan it has already been more than 2 and a half hours.

We take advantage that we have the caravan parked to visit the city. The main street with restaurants and shops and the port on one side. We went to eat something light in a mix of pastry and coffee shop.

We go in the motorhome to the campsite where we will sleep. We have it written down on our list, and it is on the outskirts of the city. Looks very good. When we arrived, we made a mistake and that allows us to see all the facilities. Hell, in addition to the camping area has cabins and wooden buildings, hotel type. We entered the reception decided to stay. The answer of an intriguing lady to our question of whether there is a place tonight is: "Are you from the military? It turns out that we have gone to a camping area and only military rooms.

We return to Seward, and camp just in front of the sea, in an area that the city has ready for campers. It's not bad at all. We move the caravan so that the window of the bed hits the water. It is very true what our friends told us, who visited Alaska a few years ago. The best views, if you visit this territory, are always from the campers!

Day 14 - Seward

Surely we exaggerated, but today it has not been raining precisely what has fallen in the city of Seward, but a good storm! In the middle of the night, we heard how a monumental storm was falling. And we were next to the sea. To be honest, more than once I wondered if I had put the handbrake well.

Already in the morning, we have seen that it would be impossible to go sailing through the Kenai Fjords, which was what we had planned to do. What do we do? Are we waiting for another day in case the weather changes? Do we continue the route?

It is best to decide while we make a good breakfast. We take a walk under the umbrella and go to the coffee shop in the center of the city. They have a nice atmosphere and wifi. The receptionist told us that a good storm is coming to the area, and when we explained that we wanted to go out by boat, she laughed and let go of the typical phrase: This is Alaska, guys!

A heavy rain begins to fall and a lot of wind is blowing. The storm is approaching. We decided to visit the Sealife Center, a kind of small oceanarium where they have several species of fish, birds and other animals in the area. But as I had the great idea of going to breakfast on foot, we have been soaked. The streets seemed like streams. The water came down hard and crossing the sidewalk was an impossible mission, apart from breaking the umbrellas! We have entered the Sealife thinking that they confused us with seals and closed us in the pool.

The place is not very big, but you can see several aquariums with many species of fish. The pity is that they are doing several renovations and have some exhibitions closed. But we must also say that, consequently, they have charged us half the price of the ticket.

The movement of the jellyfish hypnotizes the eyes. After extending the visit as much as we could, I had to go find the caravan, which was on the other side of Seward. We have been watching the street for a long time from the doors of the Sealife Center as if someone had to disconnect a switch and make the rain stop. I went out to look for the caravan. I have arrived at the campsite as if I had done a marathon, and it was soaked up and down. The gusts of wind were brutal, and it cost to drive the caravan.

We want to find a good restaurant to eat. We deserve it. The light of the city has gone. We surround in a caravan through the streets, but nobody has light. Does not matter! We have the house with wheels, and the fridge full of stocks. We stop between two streets to not notice the wind so much and prepare a good meal. In fact, now that we think about it, we even needed it. We are very tired, and we do not stop doing things every day. A little rest is fine.

The light returns, and we want to make a coffee, but many places have not reopened, and others close too soon for us. We go to a supermarket. We take advantage and buy meat to make dinner. We re-installed at the same campsite last night, the Waterfront Park, but this time we moved a little further from the water.

Day 15 - We left Seward

What a strange day. Normally the holidays have it where we do not have anything reserved nor do we know where we will stop. But this route through Alaska still accentuates it more. Having the motorhome to travel, allows us a freedom of movement so great that sometimes it is difficult to decide where we are going. And that's what happened to us today.

It was seen that our stay in the city of Seward must be through the water. We get up raining, and we will have breakfast again in the center, but this time with the caravan. We do not want to get soaked again. We synchronize the breakfast with a laundry (we wash and dry the clothes while we make a good breakfast!).

In the area where we camped, we found a white-headed eagle that flies through the fog. And we already thought that we could not leave Seward because the road was practically flooded, but it has been leaving the city behind, and the rain has stopped.

We take the Sterling Hwy, a very beautiful road. We return to enjoy the colors of trees, rivers, and lakes, such as the Tern Lake. We assume that it is time to finish the fishermen, as we see a lot of picking up on the banks of the Kenai River, with wonderful turquoise waters. We have a hard time deciding where to stop, where to go, where to turn. Not because we do not like what we see, but quite the opposite. We want to see everything and discover every corner.

We stop in a corner, next to the river and we eat some salads. In supermarkets, you can prepare it to your liking and buy them by weight. At night we arrive at the city of Soldotna. Like all of Alaska, when entering we find the gas stations and generic stores. We stopped in a very curious mixture of the pastry shop and gift shop. I enjoyed like crazy of shirts, pajamas, hats, stickers, pins, key rings. Everything with the face of these animals.

We fill the gasoline and again we doubt where to spend the night. Most of the campsites that we have in the guide are closed by the end of the season. But since many are not on the main road, we have entered the forest area of the town of Kasilof. There, we met a mother and a baby moose, and of course, we love a good time. We stop the engine and let them eat very close to us.

Finally, and almost without knowing how, we arrived at a free camping area, but it seems closed. Still, it's very late and it's almost night. We decided to camp, although we are not entirely sure. The place is too far apart, and at night, it seems more disturbing than it surely is. And above we found another moose, eating by the campsite. And the colors of the sky take a force.

The light goes away, and the forests have a ghostly air. Alone, totally at night, and the typical sounds of the forest.

Day 16 - From Kasilof to Homer

It was not the lion as fierce as he painted. We have spent the night without knowing where we had gone, and with the feeling of being lost. But this morning the day has started splendidly, and we have seen that we had camped at Crooked Creek State Recreation Site, next to the Kasilof River. We took the opportunity to stretch our legs and go for a walk. And we have also found out that all these camping areas seem deserted and closed. This week the official fishing season has ended!

Every day it is harder for us to get up. The batteries are no longer charged. The next stop, continuing on Sterling Road, has been at Clam Gulch. From a camping area we can go down to the beach. The vision is fantastic. A small river reaches the sea. The low tide has allowed us a long walk, and all the time we have been accompanied by the perfect view of the Redoubt and Iliamna volcanoes as a background.

Today's route promises. Another picturesque spot: the Russian Orthodox Church and the cemetery next to it, next to the small town of Ninilchik. We approach the Old Village (the old part) of this town, a unique enclave, where the Russian community was established when Alaska belonged to Russia. They knew what they were doing. Surely they were very cold, but what views they had.

Precisely we continued a little more but decided to stop to eat at the restaurant with Michelin stars, with the volcanoes in the background. The day is so clear that the peaks are perfectly visible. Ah! We already missed days like these!

We want a photo of the 3 with Redoubt volcano in the background! The clear day allows us to see the top of the Iliamna volcano. We continue along the road until we reach the tourist city of Homer. Well, let's say it again, tourist should be in summer. But we found different restaurants, shops, and open services. We started by entering the information office.

There they explain to us what to do and see in the city. We try to burn a last cartridge of excursion. We hire a plane flight to reach the Katmai National Park since there are no roads. We want to see more bears. But most companies (and there are many) have already closed, and those that do not want to fly because the weather forecast is not clear.

To compensate, we will have a snack at the magnificent Bakery. We settled in the Driftwood Park campground, overlooking the sea. It is one of the most complete services, but also the most expensive. The average price during our route goes from $ 10 in the simplest camping areas, to the 35 in the most complete, passing by not paying anything in different free zones. But it's still early and we cannot stop.

We drive through all the streets of the town to see what it offers us. We pass by the beautiful Lake Beluga, where are the different companies that organize excursions. It is full of seaplanes. The town has another area of activity, full of restaurants and shops, the Homer Spit. It is a land language that juts out over Kachemak Bay. Pretty. A narrow road with water on both sides (more or less high, depending on the tide), and where we can see some marine animals. They tell us that it is a good place to see eagles, but we did not find any.

Since we are there, we reserve a table for tomorrow, what they tell us is the best restaurant in town. We decided that tonight we will only eat something light but in the village. It's time to dine out of the caravan. We take a walk and we are attracted by the cafe, where we see people waiting. It must be good! We have no reservation, but they offer us a good table right away.

We want some sandwich and salad, but when we see the letter it has nothing to do with this. The dishes that we see in the rest of the tables are huge. Everything seems magnificent. Fresh fish, good meat, great dessert menu. They forced us to eat like gluttons! A few salads of first, and ribs and fresh fish of the area. And we finished it off with a cake that we did not understand what it was made of,

We arrived with the bellies too full in the campsite. What a feast. Now we do not know whether to cancel the restaurant tomorrow night. We were behaving well in our caravan and now we will eat all the stocks of the town of Homer!

Day 17 - Homer

We woke up at Homer's Driftwood Park campsite. We began to intuit the end of our route, and today we have had that feeling more than any other day. Homer will be our last town to visit on the route through Alaska. Then we will make our way back to Anchorage, from where our flight departs. But to celebrate, we went to have a brunch, this meal that Americans have "invented" for the weekends. It is a mixture of breakfast and lunch.

What they do not know is that we already did this when we woke up on Sundays after the Saturday night party. But hey, we repeated at our favorite bakery of Homer. I have eaten a fantastic Moroccan soup with chicken and vegetables and a Sticky Ban. You can imagine what it was like!

After the brunch and since it was a great day we have walked everywhere. We have visited the Farmer's Market that they do every Saturday morning in Homer. They set up stalls where they sell local products and craftsmen. It is tiny but quite authentic.

We are approaching the Split of Homer, a tongue of land that enters the sea, and today we have been able to see eagles! As the tide was low, we have been able to get close enough to one of them, who has been photographed for a long time. Although we have not dared to go further offshore for fear of getting stuck in the mud! And I have once again missed missing a more powerful telephoto lens.

We also take a walk around the port of Homer. It is full of moorings and boats. Many bars and restaurants are also concentrated here.

In Homer Spit there are bars decorated with one dollar bills. After the wildlife session, we climbed up a mountain of about 300 meters, which is next to Homer on the East Hill Road. From here there are great views of the whole town, the mountains on the other side of the bay and even the Dixon, Portlock and Grewingk glaciers.

And to finish off, we have taken a walk around the shops of the town. We've hung out until dinner time and we've finally decided to dine at the restaurant we had booked. Yesterday we ended up with full bellies, but today it also promises.

We almost arrived late at the restaurant. We sit at a table overlooking the sea, and the girl who attends us is super-friendly. We decided on a small starter, salads, and fish. It was the salmon, a kind of cod and the Rockfish. We have riddled the girl with questions. They have many kinds of everything, fish, sauces, accompaniments. She asks us what sauce we want for the salad, and we want her to explain each one. She has brought us a sample of all with the name pointed.

For us, it is very early (we have just had dinner at 9:30 p.m.), but we are the last to leave the restaurant. Although we understand that it is better for everything. We will miss the town of Homer.

Day 18 - Homer

We recognize it today we have broken one of the unofficial rules to try not to repeat restaurants, cafeterias, and services, to see the maximum possible number. But we have returned to breakfast at the Bakery in Homer. We liked it so much that we could not choose another one. We have passed in front of a pair that looked good, but they treat us so well. We have even bought provisions for the snack we will make during the route.

This route has consisted of undoing much of the road already made before to get closer to Wasilla, the place where we will return tomorrow our beloved motorhome. By the way, maybe we have not said it, but everywhere we see caravans like ours. It seems enormous to us, but you have to travel in authentic transatlantic with wheels. For much of today's journey, we have remembered times and places where we had stopped to make the road for the first time. We realized that we were talking as if we had been in Alaska for 3 months, and today is the 18th!

We put gasoline back into the bug (when we finish the route we will count expenses). For the first time we filled the propane tank (we must return the caravan with all the tanks full). It is the gas that has served us to cook, operate the refrigerator and heating. The truth is that we thought we would spend more, but it has not been bad. We have eaten, like most days, in a very nice area. We have calculated quite well the stocks that we had.

In the area of Russian Lake, we have seen a huge bear on the road and fleeing into the forest. We have not had time to open the mouth that has already shot, but this has excited us. We have entered the secondary roads of the area, hoping to see some more animals. We see monkeys! But apart from getting lost, we have not seen anything (well, only beautiful landscapes, that as they are the daily bread and we think it is the most normal thing in the world, as we have become so spoiled).

The waters of the Anchor River came down with red tones. We see another of Alaska's many lakes, the Arc Lake. Later we stop again to also make the last snack in the caravan. How we like these moments. The day ends and we stop at the only campsite we have found open. We have preferred not to make camping area to have internet and look at things that we need to book to continue the route.

But we have gone to a pretty place, without any service or wifi. We will not be able to dismiss our caravan with the place it deserved. But we suppose that it will not take it into account, after sleeping, like us, in places that have seemed spectacular to us. We started to collect things, which we have distributed throughout all the cabinets and we ordered a good part of the luggage. Last night with our beloved motorhome. We will miss her very much.

Day 19 - Goodbye to our caravan

Today has been a sad day. We must say goodbye to our traveling companion during this entire route through Alaska. The day comes to return the motorhome. How difficult it was to collect all the things that we had scattered through drawers and put them back in the suitcase. And that we try to travel with the minimum possible! In addition, we have left it super-clean!

We drive to the city of Wasilla, where is the caravan rental company (well, in fact, it is the owner's house), and we are already on time. As we love everything, we have hours left. In addition, we need to look for a Dump Station (the place where to empty the water tanks of the caravans), since the camping where we have slept did not have, and that has annoyed us the plans. Finally, we found one at the entrance to the city of Anchorage.

The Milepost guide is great to find everything we need during the route. We are unable to make a trip. We continue stopping in forests and lakes to take a photo. It is very difficult to say goodbye to so much nature.It is understood why it is called Mirror Lake.

Finally, we meet the girl in charge of the caravan business. She returns us with her car to Anchorage, the most important city of Alaska, and where we will spend one last night. The trip lasts almost an hour, but we fill it out explaining our anecdotes of the trip.

We arrived at our Bed and Breakfast, and after leaving the suitcases we visited, as we did the first day of the route, downtown Anchorage. The city seems another! We see it bigger and more full of life, but we know that it is due to the route we have taken for the rest of the State. Now to see 5 people together and we think it is a crowd (we have been so alone). We even entered a shopping center, and visited shops of all kinds. Among them the Apple Store, where we love to play with the latest iPhone model.

We eat in a Chinese restaurant and have a snack in the cafe. We approach the sea and visit a gift shop. If we got to know that this store existed, we would have traveled with less luggage and a good part we would have bought it here!

We go back to our B&B, and we put on a washing machine. But we do not calculate that we want to go to dinner and we only have the sweatpants clean (the rest is still washing). It may seem silly, but we dare not enter the restaurant where we had planned to dine and say goodbye to Alaska. It is a little "elegant". So we entered F Street, more "bar" type, where they watch a football game on TV, and the atmosphere is great.

Filled full, we found a couple of places in the bar just in front of the cook. It's quite a spectacle to see him prepare a lot of different dishes. We chose good American cheeseburgers to end the day, a glass of wine and beer from Alaska. And how easy it is to establish a conversation with these people!

Let's sleep with our typical knot in the stomach before catching a flight. Tomorrow at noon we fly, but not home yet. We will visit the other American state that is also separated from the other states: Hawaii.

Day 20 - Goodbye Alaska, Aloha Hawaii

And today comes the day to finally say goodbye to Alaska. Our plane leaves at 2pm. So we decided that it is not worth leaving the B&B. We got up a little later than normal (we went to sleep very late) and we make a good breakfast. The owner of the house, already said goodbye yesterday (today had to leave early), but has left us a good banquet prepared. We take it very calmly. Too much maybe! A little more and the taxi driver to take us to the airport catches us preparing the bags.

It has been 20 days of a great experience, visiting the so-called Last Frontier, and we perfectly understand this definition.

We have plenty of time to avoid suffering (something strange in us), and this time we have no problem when passing security checks. We carry the minimum possible luggage, and in the same queue, there are people with a lot of bags and packages. Some with boxes and boxes of frozen fish that they take home after fishing days. Here they seem to have everything under control.

When we arrive at our boarding gate we lower the average age of the flight by about 40 years! Of course, Hawaii is one of the preferred destinations for American retirees to spend a few days relaxing. The flight lasts about 6 hours, and we landed without any problem in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. We are already in another dream destination.

We have already reached Waikiki Beach in Honolulu! But this will be another story. It has been many sleepless hours to explain our trip through Alaska, but we are very happy with the result. In fact, our initial idea was to complete the route with maps, routes and more information, but we did not have more time. In short, we continue with the good life, and soon we will add more detailed information about our route through Hawaii.

India Travel Guide and Tips for the Trip

Misleading. There is no other word that can capture the enigma when you travel to India. It flaunts its diversity ranging from snow-dusted mountains to sun-drenched beaches. There are tranquil temples to exuberant celebrations. There are villages lit by lanterns to cities that dominate the IT world.

Either you love it or hate it. Most visitors pass from one mood to another as India promises a total involvement. More than a billion people live in the sub-continent, teeming with an eclectic mix. The ethnic groups and tourists translate into an intoxicating cultural cocktail. India is a country unlike any other, which promises you a journey to unknown spaces.

For those seeking spiritual support, India offers a profusion of holy sites. History buffs will encounter gems from the past almost everywhere. The grand vestiges of the British Raj dominate the quiet splendor. There are spice bazaars and decaying fortresses on the edge of steep escarpments. The spirituality is the common thread that weaves the complex tapestry of India. Countless sacred sites and traditional rituals testify the long, and hectic religious history.

Those looking for excitement in nature can paddle the sparkling waters of one of the coves. Go and look for the big cats in an exciting safari to see animals in the jungle. Or breathe air that smells of pine during a meditative walk in the forest.

Epicureans can charge tasty samples of all kinds. The sticky Idli is a sweet fermented rice typical of southern India. And there is the spicy curry in the north of the country. Set foot on Indian soil for discovering the national obsession with cricket. It dominates and makes all conversations animated. Along with the latest intrigue of the crazy world of Bollywood.

Too much noise, too many people, too much heat, too much rain but there is grace in the smiles. There is elegance in the movements of a sari, in the winding of a turban, a naturalness in the spirituality. There is a majesty in its architecture and fervor in its prayers.

Every day of the year, in some places of India, is a festival. There are thousands of God's, prophets, and gurus. There are celebrations that can last for several days. They are almost always accompanied by music, dances, and delicious food. Major among them are Holi, Independence Day, Krishna Janmashtami, Raksha Bandhan, Onam. There is Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, Pushkar Fair. There is the Makar Sankranti and the celebrations vary from region to region.

Eid-ul-Fitr is after Ramadan along with Eid-ul-Zuha or Bakr Eid. Goa celebrates the Intruz Carnival. The Portuguese Entrudo lasts for three days and three nights. The most important event takes place in the city of Panaji. King Momo event finds wide resonance even outside the Christian community. Huge parades of floats, dances, and music invade all the cities of the state into the night.

Many other festivals do not have an exact date but follow the lunar calendar. There are also tribal festivals, which are little known to the general public. With traditions and customs, they are distant in time.

To see the entire India, you will need at least a month, if not more. Whatever plan you choose to follow, you will end up in some way to jump, or modeled in a different way than you had thought. The biggest risk for those who have never been in India before is trying to fit too many stages in the itinerary. And in an attempt to see it all end up seeing nothing.

Let's start with the simple things. One in Rajasthan is a classic route, the most popular among the short-term tourists who land in Delhi. Agra and the Taj Mahal is nearby and about twenty trains a day connect the two cities. After a day to photograph the sunrise, sunset, and everything, continue towards Rajasthan.

Before arriving in Jaipur lies the Ranthambore National Park, where you can go on a safari and hope to see a tiger. The center of Jaipur is completely painted in light red. Its highlights are outside with the Amer Fort and the floating palace of Jal Mahal. Continuing south you can reach Udaipur, the city on the lake. If you want you can make a stop in Pushkar, especially if you are in the period of the camel fair. Going up Jodhpur, the blue city is on the trail and follows Jaisalmer. From here you can arrange to visit the Thar Desert aboard a camel.

Jumping on a train to reach Udaipur, you get closer to the state of Gujarat. The capital, Ahmedabad, is home to the house of Mahatma Gandhi. Nearby is the sanctuaries of the white lion in the Gir forest and the Rann of Kutch. In Maharashtra, there is Nashik, another holy city built on the banks of the Godavari River. It is the place of the Kumbha Mela.

Here you can observe the rituals of the devotees even if the dimensions are much smaller than the Ganges. Aurangabad is a base for visiting the World Heritage of Ajanta and Ellora. After a few days in the ruins of these ancient structures, continue to the home of Bollywood, Mumbai.

Taking the long route from Delhi, you can reach Varanasi. Spend a few days on the banks of the Ganges, then return to the west serving northward. In Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh lie dozens of villages, valleys, and parks. India's first national park is the Jim Corbett.

Shortly thereafter is the small towns of Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Mussoorie. This has become the best known of the villages in this area after a visit of the Beatles in the 70s. Today the large part of its tourists turn around to yoga.

It is a very popular tourist spot and offers beautiful scenery and a chance to see the clean Ganges. From near here, you can leave for the trek to the source of the sacred river. Shimla and Manali, are towns in the mountains. It is a summer resort and has remained intact as it was in the past. The great thing though is it to get to Shimla, you can go up and take the historic train that starts from Kalka.

Then there is the Tibetan community of McLeod Ganj, a short distance from Dharamsala. Here the Dalai Lama resides. From here you can make excellent treks, including one to Triund. Leh and Ladakh is also not far through the Zanskar range.

To conclude a major event is at the Wagah border near Amritsar in Punjab. Here a celebration takes place for the evening closure of the border with Pakistan. Amritsar is also the spiritual capital of the Sikhs, and a lunch at its Golden Temple is a must.

North India offers a fantastic cultural cocktail and dizzying diversity. It will remain engraved in your mind long after your trip. Its luxuriance contrasts with snow-capped mountains and plains burned by the northern sun.

Kolkata in the east is the second Indian city by population. It is a madhouse with an explosion of smells, colors and sounds as is difficult as interesting. After spending a few days in Calcutta, climb towards Darjeeling. It is the famous hillside famous for its tea. Sikkim is also nearby. From here there are several treks and the ability to approach the Buddhist life.

Going down you will need to make a stop in Patna, the capital of Bihar. Reach Bodhgaya, the place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Here is the tree under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Going by train from here is Varanasi, after which is Khajuraho and its temples. Nearby are Jhansi and Orchha, from where you reach the end of the trail coming to Delhi.

Delhi can provoke exaltation and at the same time give thrills of joy and discomfort. Even the most accustomed travelers sometimes get saturated. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will have unforgettable memories.

See the Aboriginal and rural cultures of central India in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

South India rushes you to the depths of your being. With the gigantic tip into the Indian Ocean, the southern peninsula is the hot and humid heart.

It is India of those who love the seaside life. There are the beaches of Goa to the old temples of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. There are the urban jungles of Mumbai and Bangalore. The backwaters fringe with palm trees and cool by the breeze in tropical Kerala. Trek in forest reserves to discover wildlife.

From Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, go down to the sea at Mamallapuram, a sleeping village on the shores. Ooty is the hill station in the Nilgiris. In the former French colony of Pondicherry, you can still find baguettes.

In Madurai, you cannot help but admire the large colorful temples carved in the most detail. Not far away is the island of Rameswaram. It has a long bridge, which stretches towards Sri Lanka. This is a sacred place and for many Indians. Many collect the water of the Ganges for depositing here. And then collect the water of this sea and bring it into the Ganges to conclude the cycle.

Then we enter Kerala, the green state, and get to Munnar, another tea land. Coming down from the hills end up in Kochi and its islands. You can move south to explore the backwaters before concluding the trip.

There is an India hidden and unknown to most people. It starts from the chicken neck of Siliguri in West Bengal. The cultural diversity recall, as always, the interest of anthropologists. Northeast India has a border with China, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. The seven sisters are Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Tripura. The Himalayan region preserves a cultural heritage of tribal communities that inhabit them.

Assam is the second largest state of the seven sisters, crossed by the Brahmaputra. It is most accessible to tourism and alone produces 65% of the total production of tea in India. Here are two important parks famous for the last vestiges of Indian rhinos. Manas and Kaziranga, a World Heritage Site.

The whole of northeast India has many tribal communities of the Mongolian strain. They are a treasure of humanity with varied languages, customs, religions, and traditions. They live on agriculture and livestock and other local crafts. The peculiarities of these tribal communities are in their dances and songs. The food, festivals, art and other social occasions express their vitality and pride.

Traditions have survived time and modernity. Nagaland is the least populous and yet one that is home to the rich ethnic diversity. As many as 80 tribes and sub tribes of Mongol origin live. Arunachal Pradesh sees the rising sun because the sun everyday lights it first rays. The beautiful orchids color the entire landscape.

Visa and Customs

All foreign visitors must have a visa to visit India. You must get it before arriving in India from the Indian Embassies or consulate general. The passport must have a validity of at least six months with free pages for affixing the visa. The Indian authorities do not issue visa on arrival at the airport.

When to go to India and Weather

In India, the weather is so diverse that it is impossible to choose a better period than others for the journey. In principle, in much of the country, the most pleasant months are those ranging from October to March. In the far south, the best period goes from January to September. Eastern and northeastern India is more attractive from March to August. Kashmir and the mountainous regions are more attractive between May and September. Snowfall happens during January to April in Himalayan regions.

The deserts of Rajasthan offer the best of themselves in the monsoon season. The Indian Himalayan trekking season lasts roughly from April to November. It varies depending on the location, altitude, and region. The ski season is from January to March.

How to get to India

The main airports in India are Mumbai and Delhi. Many international flights also arrive in Calcutta and Chennai. Flights from Europe arrive in India in the early hours of the morning. It can be quite inconvenient if you have not booked the hotel and you do not like to wander in the dark in a strange city. The place where you can buy tickets at a cheaper price is Delhi, followed by Mumbai and Calcutta.

If you're heading from Kathmandu, the most convenient entry point is Kolkata. The only open border between India and Pakistan is between Lahore and Amritsar. The crossing can take place by rail or road. A bus service between Lahore and Delhi makes four trips a week. Phuentsholing is the incoming and outgoing border point between India and Bhutan. You need to have a visa to enter the country.

Getting Around India

Air India is the main Indian airline, which has an extensive network. Deregulation has improved the quality of service and multiply the private players. The Indian railway system is legendary. Traveling by train in India is a unique experience in the world. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but it is also part and parcel of the Indian trip.

There are different types of trains. You can take an express or a local train, but try all the different classes for the simple sake of it. The reservation system is labyrinthine and definitely, deserves an anthropological study. Be patient, because it is one of the few bureaucracies in the country that actually work.

Buses are many from state to state. On the main routes, there is a choice of ordinary, semi-deluxe, deluxe, AC and even deluxe seats with the bed. Apart from state buses, private companies also operate that are expensive but comfortable. It can prove to be a smart choice if you have a long way to go.

The local buses are usually crowded, slow and inconvenient. Then you'll have to endure full volume Hindi pop music in ramshackle tin speakers. The bus is the best way to get to Kashmir and also to go to Nepal and Uttar Pradesh. They are usually faster than trains in Bihar and in large areas of Rajasthan. It is very easy to rent a car and driver. If you want to drive yourself you have to have nerves of steel and an outstanding karma.

Cars are available for the day or trip. You may have to provide for the driver's expenses. So get clarified exactly how much you have to pay each day before getting in motion. If you're planning a long trip, ask to do a short test drive to check the braking speed of your driver. Biking in India has become a popular pastime, but it is a risky business and unwise for amateur bikers.

Cycling is good in cities and in general, you can rent for a pittance. For long distances, it takes good legs and a strong heart. If you intend to bring your own bike, think twice.

The local transportation includes buses, taxis, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws. The auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws generally cost half of a taxi. But the passenger has to breathe the diesel fumes. The cycle rickshaws have almost disappeared from the major Indian cities. In smaller towns, they are still an essential part of the transport network. Agree on the fare before boarding.

India Travel Tips

The Indians are curious. There are many topics of conversation that you can deal with. Remember that many Indians are sensitive towards Pakistan.

Do not take photos of women who bathe in the springs or relatives of the dead during a cremation. Avoid giving money to the children in the street. They are often in a racketeering and money will end up to their exploiters.

Many Indians, asks to take pictures with you that has become popular in recent years. Try to avoid them.

Go see a Bollywood movie during your visit. India is full of shopping malls with multiplex cinemas. Watch a movie surrounded by enthusiastic spectators. They sing together or sometimes they dance, which is a unique experience! Remember not to ridicule Bollywood as for the Indians is like a religion.

Dress up as Indians in saris, shalwar kameez or dhoti, lungi or kurta. Put on by Western wear but in moderation. It is good that women avoid tank tops, vests, too low-cut or short sleeveless dresses. But, it depends very much on the area as the phenomenon is more pronounced in the south. Always remember that it is correct to respect the decency of the culture in which you are.

Never kiss a woman in the audience to greet her. Do not embrace her and try not to shake her hand. It will go well to join your palms in front of you with a namaste.

Before leaving read something on Hinduism. It will help you understand many things India also not related to religion. Visit the Hindu temples, even those that may seem insignificant, and stay there for long. Do not visit the temple and its monuments, but live it. Sit down and look, listen, smell and touch.

Always remove your shoes to enter a temple. Do not take food or beverages in the Jain temples. Wrap up the head in Muslim and Sikh shrines. You can get in many temples, but not those that contain the lingam, as in Varanasi. Once inside, you can sing or dance with the Indians. Beware of the puja, the ritual act of the offer in the temples. The actual pujari will never do business with Westerners because it would be a taboo.

Watch out than for those who offer you a tour of a temple with adjoining puja in an unlikely Sanskrit language. He may be a fake pujari who often use gentle kids, who can enchant you in minutes. But in the end, the cost of your mock puja will be very high.

Do not ever ridicule a Sikh for his turban. I would recommend if you are in the area at the right time to take part in some festivals like Holi and Diwali. Do not make fun of tantra or Kamasutra.

Do not assume any price as even the rates of luxury hotels are negotiable. They will take into account when you propose other services. In fabric stores, expect a price increase of 7-8 times the actual price. Bargaining should be fierce. You can pretend to go away. Usually, they will call back and you get the price you want.

Visit the markets, especially those not intended to tourists but to the locals. Here colors, sounds, faces, and music will bewitch more than an artistic monument. Keep little saving for an Ayurvedic treatment especially if you are in Kerala.

The Indian food could cause problems to your stomach. Start with lighter dishes and then, try spicy ones. The hygiene in India is a problem. Sooner or later, during your trip, you may have tummy problems. The drugs for these disorders are at local pharmacies.

There may be circumstances in which some Indians may not want to eat near you. Respect their customs, as they may be orthodox. In restaurants, always ask for the spice level you want.

India is like a wave that you have to go along.

A Journey through Punjab

We travel to Punjab, the land of Sikhs, Murgh Makhani and Bhangra music. Traveling in Punjab means crossing lush plains and visiting ancient temples. Punjab is a treasure trove for the avid tourist. In fact, it offers not only ancient monuments but is also full of historical incarnations. There are museums galore and the same can be said of the sacred places. Certainly, there is no shortage of breathtaking palaces, as confirmed by the imposing Quila Mubarak.

It's no secret that anyone visiting this land of yellow and blue fields has ever gone without permeating the essence of Punjab that emphasizes a romantic and picturesque backdrop. The Temples are the food for the soul and mind of every visitor. The atmosphere in Punjab is very different from that of the rest of India. It is fun and exciting.

The train to Delhi left at five in the afternoon so at about four o'clock we arrived at the station. This time we would travel in AC 2 tier so we would have a little more comfort than in the previous trip to Jaisalmer. About half an hour before the train leaves, one of the guards pastes the list of passengers traveling on it and the seat number assigned to it. This serves to check the data that one already has printed on the ticket.

In addition, it basically serves to get in the right compartment since once the train starts it is difficult to move from one car to another. The train was not so full. The train was punctual, I took the opportunity to write for a while and sleep too. In the train, they distribute bed sheets, pillows and blankets and we move the seats to become bed so we can sleep very well.

I set the alarm at five o'clock in the morning since the train was supposed to arrive in Delhi at half past five in the morning. But it took a little longer. We arrive at the train's final station at about six o'clock. We were a little worried because we had to take the next train at seven twenty and left from another station (New Delhi). We left the train and we took a taxi to arrive at the New Delhi station.

We got off the taxi and went to find the platform from where the train left. Luckily it was at platform number 1 so there was not much to walk. It cost us to find the compartment because it was just on the opposite side of the platform. At about seven o'clock the train arrived and we settled. This time, there were no beds, but seats like airplane seats.

We took the opportunity to sleep for a while longer since the trip was long. The catering people woke us up every now and then to give us food. As we were traveling in first class, breakfast was included. First, they brought the coffee, then some cornflakes, and then an omelet.


We estimated that we would arrive in Amritsar at twelve noon but arrived at two-thirty in the afternoon. Between one thing and another, we arrived at the hotel at three thirty in the middle of a heavy rain. We had chosen it on the recommendation of Lonely Planet but the truth was that the place was terrible. The room was dirty and suffocating.

We went for a walk and saw that just around the corner of our hotel there was another one with breakfast included. It has wi-fi and hot water, the two fundamental conditions for a good stay. We decided to change. After shifting we decided to leave and our street has become a big puddle. We only had two days in the city and we wanted to make the most of our experience there.

We took off our shoes and left our shoes in the hall. After crossing a huge foot wash full of water (which is mandatory to pass), we crossed the threshold of a huge portico and went inside the temple. It was early afternoon and it was very hot and slowly we went forward with bare feet on the marble floor. We walked through a corridor with white walls at the end of which was a huge staircase, also white.

Behind it opened the true heart of the temple, with overwhelming beauty. Personally, it left me with my mouth open. Literally, I hallucinated. The temple itself, which as I say is in the center of the lake, is of an intense golden color. At four o'clock in the afternoon, the sunlight reflected on the marble of a clean white color that returned it and threw it on the golden temple that in the center sparkled and shone as if it were a huge jewel.

The luminosity was such that it made me squint at first. The whole is, in a word, impressive. In contrast to the urban chaos that surrounds it, the interior of the temple is surprisingly calm and peaceful. It became a kind of oasis of tranquility and peace and an authentic refuge to escape from the vibrant throbbing of the streets of Amritsar. Slowly, between conversation and photos, the sun was slowly setting.

After a long time sitting watching the changes of light at different times of the afternoon, we decided to go to the true interior of the temple. We cross the golden walkway with the rest of the devotees. There suddenly and without waiting, I could feel in my skin the spirituality. I get overwhelmed by that environment between mystic and fanatic. Once out and back in the vicinity of the lake, we find a group of locals joined us.

We finished the afternoon and the sun finally set. From where we observe the visitors in the courtyard devoted to worship, praying or purifying in the sacred waters of the lake, or simply chatting as we relaxed and letting ourselves soak in the environment. It was then when the daylight began to go out when we were surprised by a sudden silence in the whole room.

The solemn ceremony to keep the sacred book began. It was an event that occurs daily at dusk to keep the Adi Granth during the night that will rest safely during the hours of darkness, to be exhibited the next day in the morning with the corresponding opening ceremony at dawn. It is during those key moments in which everyone silently listens to the last sacred songs of the day, interrupting the purifying baths of many of the faithful, when one of the most mystically intense moments is reached.

The faith of many of the attendees becomes more palpable than ever and seems to materialize in the place. Already then, and above all, after the closing ceremony of the day, the rhythm and the atmosphere of the temple change gradually. They become much faster and faster, but also, they become more joyful and cheerful, with an almost festive tinge, I would say. It is time for dinner.

We were presented with a golden opportunity, as travelers, to enjoy a unique experience and a great opportunity to live an authentic moment. But it was our first day and so the jetlag was taking its toll on us, and the fatigue and experiences accumulated throughout the day began to weigh. A huge full moon shone and could be seen through the battlements of the temple.

Intoxicated by the overwhelming atmosphere of the temple and excited to have shared an incredible place we toured the few meters that separated us from our hotel. We started walking and the water reaches us in the middle leg and when we are at the point of no return it begins to rain torrentially. We take refuge in an ATM. As soon as we see an empty Tuc-Tuc we call him and tell him to take us to the bar recommended by LP guide in a shabby hotel with a garden and terrace.

On the way, in the Tuc-Tuc, we get wet as the cars splash on us and the streets are flooded. At that hotel, we hired a tour for tomorrow to go to the Wagah border with Pakistan. We return, walking, to our hotel and we buy dinner at a pastry shop with very good sweets and salty things. We go to bed early because we foresee that tomorrow will be long and wet.

Day 2 - ATTARI

We woke up early and asked for breakfast in the room (there is only that option because they do not have a dining room). Today was Diwali and I wanted to celebrate it in style. I put on my best dress and was ready to dazzle. At 7.40 we are on the street and take a Tuc-Tuc to the Golden Temple. When we entered the Golden Temple, we were again surprised by its incredible beauty. Although this time by day it showed us another face different from that of the night.

Now we could clearly see the plates of pure gold that cover the white marble walls of the temple and all the details that remained hidden at night, even if there were more mysticism and magic. It was full of Sikhs who had gone to the sacred place to pray. They came to us to take pictures and almost always wanted to get with us. I was surprised that many men were eager to take a picture of their son with us as if we were so important.

I could not understand it. As the guide told me, many of them were from rural areas and had come for the Diwali to Amritsar. So they probably haven't seen a tourist in their life. Sometimes also young women and teenagers asked us for a picture with them, and they were very excited. But for us, they also aroused our curiosity and we took pictures of them. In general, we found people very nice, very open, hospitable and cheerful.

After the visit of the temple, we go to the Jallianwala Bagh Park. It is a place created to commemorate the massacre of the British army against a peaceful demonstration for independence in 1919. We can see the bullet holes and the well in which many of them were thrown. It is a nice place to walk. We had a cold tea and went through the bazaars of Amritsar. In the end, I look for a barber shop to shave.

We completed the morning with a visit to Sri Durgiana temple that resembles the golden temple. It is in the middle of a lake with fish and turtles. After a while, it was lunchtime. So we went to the pizzeria and put on our boots to eat pizza and pasta. They were playing bhangra music. A Tuc-Tuc returns us to the hotel. We have shower and lunch before leaving on the tour. At 3pm we left the hotel.

First of all, we visited the Mata Temple. It is a temple in honor of a modern saint with glasses. What is cooler is the labyrinthine journey through corridors, puddles, getting into the mouths of papier-mache animals and seeing almost 100 gods. It is one of the most kitschy things I have ever seen! In a moment of the visit, they give us some flowers that we think we have to throw to the saint but they are to be eaten.

The visit lasts no more than 20 minutes and after it, we go towards the Attari border with Pakistan. On the way, to prepare ourselves for the party that awaited us there, we began to sing. First, we started singing slow songs, but then we ended up singing everything, and the driver was already freaking out. Well, in the end, to thank him for his patience, we sang a song dedicated to him, in which we said he was the best driver, to which he did not stop smiling.

Finally, we arrived at the place where we were going to witness the famous ceremony of which we still had no idea what it would be like. We got off at a place from which we had to continue walking to the border. It was curious to see the long line of colorful trucks that waited for the border to open the next day to go to Pakistan. We came to a place where we had to pass a security check.

After passing the controls, we came to some steps where people sat down. It was already very crowded and we found some places on the side, although others preferred to sit on the curb of the road and see everything more closely. The place was surrounded by the soldiers of the border and the ceremonial guard who carried a curious red fan on their head (also the Pakistanis wore a fan but of gray color).

The emotion was palpable in the air and the great show was about to begin. First came a few women of the ceremonial guard but without the fan on the head walking very energetically in the direction of the border and stopped very close. Then the men did the same who did carry the curious fan and stopped in the same place. They launched a series of screams that sounded very aggressive! The Pakistani soldiers did the same thing.

It was a tremendous party, with loud music and people from each side shouting frantically: Pakistan Zindabad and Jai Hind. And then the screaming contest begins. One of the ceremonial guards of India begins to shout at the same time as one of the ceremonial guard of Pakistan. The champion is the one who holds the cry longer, and this is repeated several times. Then the border opens and a ceremonial guard emerges from each side to shake hands in a gesture.

Then comes the famous part of the flags. The flags of both countries are lowered and there is a point where both cross, with all the symbolism that represents. After that, the doors are closed and the show is over. That was more fun than I expected. I was imagining that it would be something more serious and solemn, but quite the opposite. With the high we had, we just wanted to continue the festival in Amritsar and celebrate the Diwali.

On the way, we continue to sing to the misfortune of the driver who must have been fed up with us. We told him to hurry because we wanted to arrive in time to see the famous Diwali fireworks, and it was also best to see them from the Golden Temple. Shortly after arriving in Amritsar we started to hear the fireworks. So we gave ourselves as much as possible to go to the Golden Temple and see them.

We did not enter but saw them from the entrance of the temple and we only saw the last ten minutes. They did not look bad although I suppose that inside the temple it would be better. After that, we went to dinner at a restaurant, where there was traditional Punjabi vegetarian food. There I meet a Punjabi boy. I asked him if he could take us somewhere to dance and celebrate the Diwali in style.

But he explained that there was not as much party on the street as I imagined. What a disappointment as I thought we were going to dance the bhangra until dawn and that it was going to be like New Year's Eve and that there would be partying all night. Well, nothing is further from reality. We went out with them to the street to take a ride. I do not remember seeing candles on the street, but we were quite nervous trying to avoid the numerous firecrackers.

The local boy wanted to show us a famous typical sweets shop but when we got there it was closed, so we continued walking. Some started to follow us and threw firecrackers near us. After a while there stood, we finally got a tuk-tuk. The way to the hotel was fun as everyone greeted us as they passed. When arriving at the hotel the fun is not over as we thought. We met a small group who were in the same entrance celebrating Diwali.

They invited us to join their celebration and for them, they gave us all flares to light them. They played music at full volume in one of the cars that were wide open. Then they started dancing the bhangra in a circle and encouraged us to dance with them. In fact, some took the opportunity to get some of us to dance. I took the opportunity to bring out the steps of bhangra I knew which caused furor and surprise among them.

They told us that they were the team of a Punjabi film. One was the producer, another was the director, another was the music director, and the others were the actors. One of the actresses showed us some steps that she made in the dances of the film and we tried to imitate her. We had a great time and they also had a great time with us.

There was a moment when they said they had to leave, although I think it was not because they wanted to finish the party anymore. They said goodbye to us, wishing happy Diwali once more. We went into the hotel with a tremendous rush, as if to go to sleep. We went into one of the rooms and there we were watching some videos of Bollywood and laughing for a while. After we went to sleep, it would be about 3 in the morning.

Quila Mubarak Patiala


The next day we planned to visit Tarn Taran Sahib, a village of Sikh warriors on the outskirts of Amritsar. Then we walked to the restaurant where we had dinner last night. There the guide was waiting for us at 11 o'clock. By tuk-tuk, we go to a bus stop where the bus would take us to the town where the Sikh warriors were. The bus was full of locals and no tourists. So on entering, we were again the attention of all eyes.

After about 15 minutes, we get off. There was the gurdwara of the Sikh warriors, and they were there, living in a village next to the temple. Surely no tourist ever went there, so I think I was lucky. We entered the town of Sikh warriors who were more than happy to receive us. They posed for our photos and some also wanted to pose with us. They appeared to be very fearsome with their weapons.

Precisely they were preparing for an important exhibition in a kind of Amritsar open ground where they were going to simulate a battle. They were preparing their horses and they were wearing their best clothes with their weapons hanging. We took pictures of the children, and how you could tell that those children were different. There, too, was the village chief, sitting on a kind of lounger with several men around him.

We asked him for a picture. But he did not change, agreed to it and remained solemn without losing his composure. There is nothing better on a trip than interacting with the people of the country. That was worth more than visiting any monument or tourist attraction. It was also something unexpected, and a pleasant surprise. We look at the altar from the outside but do not enter.

Next door was a room where some were preparing a marijuana lassi, which surprised me. They were very strict with tobacco and alcohol, maybe not with marijuana. Lassi is a traditional Indian drink made from yogurt, and they apparently added marijuana to it. More than one of the group joked about taking one and getting a buzz for the whole day, but finally, nobody dared.

Then we took the bus back to Amritsar and got off at the same stop where we caught it hours before. I went to the center because I wanted to go around the market before returning to the hotel. We only found a street with some shops and it did not convince us too much. We did not buy much and we started to feel hungry. Since we did not have time to get to the hotel food, we decided to go to the Punjabi restaurant where we were last night.

We order pilau rice with coconut and nuts. So I enjoyed it a lot, better than having eaten at the hotel even though we would have had to pay for it here. It was time to leave, as it was getting late and at 5 we had to leave the hotel for our next destination. It was a farm in Gurdaspur. We had planned to make a stop in Faridkot recommended by LP guide but our driver opted for Gurdaspur.

We get a tuk-tuk at a good price to go to the hotel. It took a while for the tuk-tuk to find the hotel and I had to ask a couple of times, and we were already desperate because we were late. We arrived at about 4:30 p.m. and we still had to pack our bags to take them to the farm. We were all ready to leave the hotel at five in the afternoon.

The car took us to the farm. With some difficulty, we reached the farm. We lost several times because the road was badly marked and the drivers did not know the way. The owner of the farm was waiting for us there. We left our luggage in the rooms reserved for us. Around late evening we sat down to dinner, and what a piece of dinner we got. We were also very hungry after so much travel.

It was buffet style and we could choose between several things. There was salad, rice, vegetables, chicken, dal, and chapati. Then there was an ice cream for dessert and also the tea that suited me better. The bhangra show ended and dinner also. I went to bed to sleep.


We had breakfast at the farm. At 8:15 p.m. the car we had booked to go to Dharamshala and Mcleodganj arrives. The driver is a Sikh who comes in uniform with his matching turban. We communicate with smiles and gestures. Getting out of Gurdaspur takes a long time until we get to the highway that takes us to Pathankot. We change state leaving Punjab and enter Himachal Pradesh. The last kilometers are eternal and it starts to get cold that forces us to wear sweaters and socks. We are in the Himalayas!

That was the end of our adventure in Punjab, a place that we loved because of its people and the wonderful Golden Temple.