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            <<  Varanasi, 16-Feb-2013  >>

Varanasi - the most sacred city of India

Away from Maha Kumbh Mela and not very fortunate arrival to the most Indian of Indian cities

Most of the people left Allahabad on 11-2-Feb during my aching and breaking in the bed (and 36 Indians got killed at the railway station in a stampede for a train), and so on 12th the situation was already more relaxed and I managed to leave the festival relatively easily, but the traffic chaos in Allahabad was still great, so finding a bus to Varanasi took 4 hours. As a result I arrived to Varanasi late, at around 21:00 only to experience one of my worst travel experiences. The accommodation in the whole town was desperately sold out, with all the people coming here from Kumbh Mela (what a surprise, right?). Being still sick and weak, I spent 4 hours looking for ANY accommodation, with help of one Indian guy and a rickshaw driver. After asking in more than 40 guesthouses, at 1:30am we found the only available room in the town, for insane money (more than my weekly accommodation budget), but sleeping on the streets of Varanasi with my camera equipment was not really an option, so I gave it up, paid that terrible price and got some sleep. But, one good news: first hot shower in 2 months. Not that I would miss the hot water so much, but itís cold here now and so it was nice. Last time I had hot shower was in Mussoorie, 2 days after my arrival to India.

Next morning my Indian helper found me a much cheaper accommodation in the historic center and since then I mostly spent time in my room, trying to cure from that infectious gift, relaxing and writing this blog (for Lucknow and Kumbh Mela days) and considering where to go now. I havenít almost seen the city yet and Iíve been here for 4 days by now. But thatís OK, weather sucks and I was in Varanasi 4 years ago, so I have already seen it. And Iím not in hurry, I will surely stay here for at least 10 days in total, to take break from the hectic travelling of the last month.

And as Varanasi is full of backpackers, finally the hermit crab engaged himself into some communication with others.


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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak