The day’s off train entertainment began with our Balkan representative almost failing to alight the train at Makhu. Stoycho’s massive bag came crashing onto the platform, followed by our normally suave Bulgarian as the train began to pick up speed.
My next concern was that there wasn’t a friendly face on the platform holding up my name, so as I marched out of the station with my gaggle in tow I was praying that there would indeed be a bus waiting for us.
And Indeed there was, complete with an orange turbaned 6 foot tall Punjabi bus driver.
We only got into the centre of Amritsar as 2:30 pm, so it was a case of walking into the first half decent hotel and taking the first mildly contested deal we were offered. Then splash and dash, or rapid nosh stop, depending on whether your arm pits or stomach were more worthy of attention, then straight back on our bus to take us to Wagah.
As football fans, Andrew and I found the tribal nature of the Pakistan/Hindustan Zindabad chanting contest most amusing, and were half tempted to start a football inspired chant for our hosts.
Back to the hotel, then of to Kesar da Dabar, a highy recommended eatery deep in the back streets of Amrtsar. Arrived there with 5 Xl size blokes in a rickshaw, with their glorius Führer hanging off the side. Alas the Kesar was a bit too rich, the black dahl was swimming in butter. If you do go ask for a something a bit less rich than their most expensive thali, which seems to include about half a pouhnd of lurpack in it. It was a very interesting place all the same, and not a tourist in sight.
Then off to the temple, and oh! boy. I’ve seen a few monumental bulidings in my time, but the Golden Temple really is something, It is also a deeply spiritual place and quite moving in my opinion. To be allowed to walk about as a tourist, hovering respectfully around such a sacred shrine, was a privilage. Thankyou Amritsar.
Then off to the posh hotel over the road and it’s bar, which we occupied as sole residents for a couple of hours discussing which of our virign Indian companions would be the next to bail out. I came to the conculison that one of my quartet of mates is probably more likely than anyone else, as long as the newbies stick to the plan and get on and off trains at the right times as per the itinerary.
We are now aboard the Bhatinda-Jammu express, which gets into Jammu at about 7am. The team seem to be in high spirits, and my plans so far have gone near as damn it to plan at every corner, so far ….
We’ve got endless photos of the temple, and wagah. We’ll have a whole page full of them up later. The main point about the temple is that anyone can take a photgraph of it that you will treasure.
Posted on day 5 in Udhanmpur, details of that to come.