India - Luxury quick stop in Mumbai
We made it! We finally arrived in our last destination on this trip through India. To be honest, the 2 days following the night in hospital, all, Nina wanted to do is: leave India the fastest possible and fly back home. This has happened the first time ever. Normally, time is only flying by when we are travelling and we are always very sad when it is time to return. Nina had finally decided to continue the trip for 2 reasons: one was, not to spoil Markus his holidays and one was, that a trip back would have taken about 24 hours and is very stressful for the body. Taking things easier in India was a better option once she had put the emotions to the side. So arriving in Mumbai was kind of special for us ;-) this time.
We were both happy to have survived India this time. I have no other words to end this trip. It was all about surviving. Nevertheless, we can look back on an amazing time in Vrindavan, Agra, Agonda and some perfect days in Nashik. The rest of our trip showed us a different India. Interesting, but really tough. On our last trips around Southern India, we had met a lot of travellers who were really tired and had only one thing on their mind: to leave India. We always asked us, why? Now we got the answer. For westeners, travelling in India can be incredably hard sometimes. Even though, one does the homework well. Things are simply unpredictable. This is India.
Anyway, finishing our trip in Mumbai we felt like spoiling ourselves a little bit. Browsing the web, we finally found a supergreat deal at the Sai Palace Hotel in Andheri. It is far out of Central Mumbai, but we did not care about that. It looked nice, was close to the airport - and you are in Mumbai, it was a bargain. We booked it. And when we arrived - yes, that was the jackpot. A perfectly nice, clean and friendly hotel. OK, our room was looking over a busy street and was quite noisy. But this is kind of normal in Mumbai and earplugs do the trick. The room was big, clean, cosy with all the amenities. There are 3 different restaurants, a rooftop, free WIFI. We can highly recommend it - but look out for special deals and browse the web!
After arriving we just felt like staying in the room for a while. We were tired of the hustle and bustle - not the best state to be in when you arrive in Mumbai. Finally we took a rickshaw and went to the Juhu Beach (which is close to the hotel). It was nice to walk along the beach in the late afternoon sun and we enjoyed being at the arabian sea again. After enjoying our time on the beach we wen to the ISKCON Temple in Juhu. We attended the afternoon aarti, stayed for some meditation and bhajans, had some prasad and enjoyed the energy. Finally we also had dinner there as the food stalls in the temple complex offer amazing food here for very small money. Needless to say we had a wonderful night in our supercomfortable room.
The next day was sunday. We had separate flights back and Markus' flight was already on sunday night. So we took it easy again. We slept till late, had an amazing breakfast (which was included) for about 2 hours. Our stomachs were ok again, so we could take full advantage of the wonderful food. Later we took a rickshaw to Andheri train station (it was just a short ride away). From here we took a local train to the Churchgate Station in downtown Mumbai. We were happy that is was sunday - the train was only half full and the 30 minute ride very relaxing. From the train station we walked to the Oval Maden. We love the atmosphere there - it was packed with cricket players. Nice place for people watching. Afterwards we walked around Khala Godha. But most of the shops and galleries were closed. Never mind, because we were looking for a cafe where we went last time. They had great vegan and organic food. Unfortunately we had no idea of the name. But we finally found it. Just in time for an afternoon tea break. We had vegan waffles and a watermelon lime juice. Ahhhhh, life was good. Last time we had a great time in Mumbai. This time it was just a short visit, but still we had a fantastic time.
We continued our walk towards Colaba, the Taj Palace Hotel and the Gate of India. This area was packed with people. And a crew was filming a Bollywood Movie. Again this was so funny to watch. We just stood there, watched the filming and had the best comedy ever. I think, everything went wrong. Either a random car passed the closed street. The policemen of the movie ran to the wrong direction (just like in real life ;-)) or the horse did not want to move. Hilarious and so very indian!
For sunset we did not miss the Chowpatty Beach. We walked along the walkway and later took the train back to Andheri. We had dinner together in the hotel and then Markus had to leave. For Nina, it was another night in India - but in a wonderful hotel. So it was ok. The next morning, she got up early, had again a yummy breakfast and then took a train north to Borivali. Her aim was to get to the Global Pagoda. From the train station in Borivali, it was difficult to get a rickshaw to the ferry landing that uses a meter. But after asking 10 drivers, it was a quick and cheap ride. To reach the Global Pagoda, it is a short ferry ride to Esselworld (the amusement parc). By being on the water, suddenly, Mumbai is very peaceful. Once leaving Borivali behind, there is only waterchannels and mangroves all around. A pleasant surprise. And the Pagoda is really impressive. After landing it is a short walk uphill. It was really wirth visiting the Pagoda. After 2 hours enjoying the peace it was time to take the ferry and train back to Andheri. From the train station in Andheri Nina went directly again to the ISKCON Temple for a final aarti in India and some nice food. But then it was time to hurry up to get the flight to Delhi in the evening. In Delhi, Nina stayed one more night in a hotel in aerocity. Because early the next morning, she had the flight back home via Helsinki.
We were so happy to be back home safely. We realised how lucky we are that we live in such a nice, clean and peaceful place. Do not get us wrong, India is still a fascinating country for us and we will surely come back. But we need a break for a while. We need to "digest" some things we have experienced and seen. And we will never go on a trip to India when we are stressed from work. When we go to India next time, we will start relaxed and put some beach time in the end.