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Almora, Uttaranchal, India

A break from the summer heat

sunny 84 °F
View Francis & Edward, Taste of the World on edcastano's travel map.

The trip to Almora

It took a whole day to reach Almora. We took an overnight train to Haldwani, and then a 3 hour taxi to Almora. We arrived at Haldwani at Sunrise and Donnaven had his first peak at village life. Safety standards being more lax in India, (especially in 2nd class) we had the priviledge of being able to sit down at the open door of our coach.

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The city
Almora is a charming town on the foothills of the Himalayas. We came here to beat the New Delhi summer heat and to try to get a peak of the Himalayas.

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The city had an authentic old town. In other countries/cities we visited (e.g. Hue & Hoi An, Vietnam), the old towns had been turned into tourist traps with souvenir shops and touts. In Almora, the old town had local shops and locals residents. It was a refreshing change for us.

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The experiences

On the second day in Almora, Donnaven and Edward were wandering around town when they ran into a cricket match between the local town and the military. There we met the Commander of the Division, in charge of 1,000 soldiers. We saluted him with a phrase we learned at the airport, a proper military salute "Je Hind!". He was impressed and kind enough to explain the game of cricket to us. For the first time, Edward understood the game. Suddenly it didn't seem boring anymore. A little learning goes a long way.

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The Commander took a liking to Donnaven. We told him the camel-dog story and had a good laugh. Then the commander had one of his officers fetch one for him. We thought he was kidding initially, but then we saw one of his officers wrestling a goat on the hill top of the cricket stadium. Poor goat! All the spectators got a kick out of it.

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Besides the camel dogs, Donnaven was also quite fond of the cows.

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The grand finale

We came to Almora in search of the heavenly Himalayas. Unfortunately, it was hazy and or foggy for most of the day. We were only 50-100 kilometers from the Himalayas, but could not see them.

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Finally, if by divine intervention, it rained on our last day. Ironically, this served to rid the atmosphere of the haze, so by the end of the afternoon, it was clear and we could finally see the Himalayas! The pictures do them no justice. The beauty of the Himalayas was as close as any of us had come to heaven.

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Train trip back to Delhi

Because we took a day train back to Delhi, Donnaven had ample time to make friends. Adults particularly took an interest in him. He now has many Indian grandparents.

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Posted by edcastano 01:39 Archived in India

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