Author Archives: Leticia

Jaisalmer to Jaipur

After we returned from the camel safari at the Thar desert, we got back in the car (did not mention yet, but we hired a private driver – Vicky Rai – who met us in Udaipur and stayed with us for 2 weeks, highly recommend him if you plan to visit Rajasthan) to our next destination, Jaisalmer, the Golden City. We found a new hotel – Golden Haveli – that had a lot of potential and a very refreshing swimming pool. At a 45° degree weather, the best thing one can have in Jaisalmer is a swimming pool after a day of sightseeing. We also met again with our Aussie friends from Jodhpur and all 4 kids had a lot of fun together. We visited the Jaisalmer Fort and Jain Temples, and the old havelis in the city, which was very interesting to see how the rich people used to live. It was bloody hot and back we were at the swimming pool whenever we could. After 3 days in Jaisalmer, our next stop was Pushkar.

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We spent 2 nights in Pushkar, which we had to stop there because the drive was too long from Jaisalmer to Jaipur. Pushkar is a holy city because it is one of the 5 pilgrimage sites for devout Hindus, and it is on the shore of Lake Pushkar where there are several ghats where pilgrims descend to bathe in the sacred waters. Pushkar is also famous for the annual Camel Fair, when the town gets completely packed. It appears that it is also a destination for backpackers as we saw several around…

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After Pushkar, we headed to Jaipur, the Pink City and capital of Rajasthan state. It is certainly a big and noisy city but nothing like Delhi or Mumbai. We stayed at the lovely Madhuban Hotel, which is an old house that belongs to the Patan family. It was a great place, with excellent service, and we ended up extending our stay there. Also visited the amazing City Palace and Amber Fort, in between some delicious meals.

Next stop – Ranthambore National Park

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Udaipur, the City of Lakes

Our tour of the state of Rajasthan, where we will spend close to 2 weeks, began in Udaipur, the City of Lakes.  After our flights from Goa to Mumbai, and from Mumbai to Udaipur, we arrived at our comfortable guesthouse, Aashiya Haveli, right on Lake Pichola. Udaipur is also called the “Venice of the East” and you cannot help but admire all the beauty that surrounds the old city, founded in 1559.

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City Palace

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Lake Palace (Taj Hotel) at Lake Pichola

Our guesthouse was walking distance to the City Palace, where we spent a full day exploring the beauty of the enormous palace. The 4 of us were amazed at all the beautiful details, colors, tiles, architecture of the palace, not to mention the view of Lake Pichola and of Jag Niwas island (now the famous Taj Lake Palace Hotel). There were a few tourists but many more Indians visiting the palace. We also had a nice lunch after our visit and toured the shops inside the palace courtyard. It was a wonderful day as we sat to absorb the grandiosity of the palace around us.

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City Palace, Udaipur

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Louisa and 2 beautiful Indian women

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Happy family

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City Palace courtyard

We also took a bicycle tour around the city recommended by TripAdvisor. We left 7am to meet our guide, it was only the 4 of us. It was quite busy as we were paddling around the old city but once we left town, it was peaceful to bike around, through the small villages and lakes. Everyone we passed was happily greeting us “Namaste” and “Hellos”. Our guide was a nice young man who just graduated from college and was very knowledgeable of Udaipur and its surrounding lakes. After almost 4 hours of biking, we finished the tour with delicious fresh juices from Paps Juice, a small hole-in-the-wall kind of place with a friendly owner (Pap).

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Bicycle tour and our guide

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Lake Fateh Sagar

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Tiger Lake

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Tiger Lake

 

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Paps Juice

We spent the remaining days walking around the old town, visiting the beautiful heritage hotels, getting henna tattoos (the elaborate ones just like the Indian brides) and enjoying delicious Rajasthani meals. The food is really amazing here and we are pretty much eating only vegetarian meals just to be safe. So far so good!

Next stop – Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

 

Goa, um pedacinho de Portugal na Índia

Quando começamos a planejar a viagem pela Índia, estávamos na dúvida se deveriamos incluir Goa no circuito. Encontrei com umas portuguesas super simpáticas no hotel que ficamos em Mandalay, Burma, e conversa vai, conversa vem, elas me convenceram que com certeza Goa deveria fazer parte do nosso roteiro. Que bom que segui a recomendação delas!

Resolvemos fazer um roteiro histórico, mais distante das praias e dos seus resorts impessoais. Encontramos a excelente Hospedaria Abrigo de Botelho, no bairro Fontainhas (Latin Quarter) na capital de Goa, Panjim. A hospedaria é uma casa típica portuguesa que foi totalmente renovada. Uma beleza e muito confortável, graças também à hospitalidade do casal Roy e Sharon Botelho, donos da hospedaria. Fontainhas é uma área muito charmosa, com várias casas tradicionais portuguesas, algumas restauradas, outras não.  Na Rua de Natal, onde fica a nossa hospedaria, encontramos a Igreja de São Sebastião, uma capelinha muito fofa. Resolvemos que voltariamos à igrejinha para a missa de domingo de Páscoa. Fizemos ótimas caminhadas pela zona, aprendendo sobre a herança cultural que foi deixada pelos portugueses em Goa. Também adoramos a culinária local, uma mistura da comida portuguesa e indiana, com uma pitada de Goa. Até o sapoti, fruta deliciosa que comi muito no Nordeste do Brasil, nós encontramos aqui! Meu restaurante preferido foi o Horse Shoe, de um português muito simpático chamado Vasco Silveira, e que serve comida tradicional de Goa e Portugal. Ali comemos uns deliciosos fígados de galinha,  pão com chouriço e caldo verde.

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Hospedaria Abrigo de Botelho

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Além de Panjim e Fontainhas, também visitamos Old Goa, onde a maioria das igrejas antigas estão localizadas. Achamos todos os monumentos e museus muito bem conservados, havia até muitos turistas nesse dia. De Old Goa fomos visitar uma das praias da região e, por recomendação do Roy, paramos em Velsao Beach para almoçar e dar um mergulho. Mar calmo e quentinho, éramos só nós 4 e alguns indianos no mar. Um dia perfeito.

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Antiga Igreja de St. Augustine

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Basilica de Bom Jesus

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Panjim, Goa

Depois de 5 dias em Goa, tivemos a sensação de que nem estávamos na Índia, e sim num pedacinho de Portugal. Valeu muito à pena a nossa visita, adoramos a história, a comida, as pessoas.

Próxima parada – Udaipur, Rajasthan

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Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

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Velsao Beach

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Rickshaw em Goa