Our ride today was from from Agra to Lucknow and totalled 480km’s in distance and was simply a transport ride together to the Nepal boarder.
As usual we stopped at a road side restaurant for lunch, the food was pretty good (local India dish that we can’t remember the name of). Soon after eating the food we looked around to see the dishes that we had just been eating from being washed in a mucky whole…. Lovely!
Major roads pretty much all the way which was a result, however we missed a turn which resulted us ending up arriving at Lucknow at peak traffic which is a real problem on the big BMW’s. It took two hours to travel 8km.
At one of the stops unfortunately Steve dropped his bike when taking it off the stand. Thankfully the locals were there to help and soon got the bike upwright.
We had a few heavy showers which resulted in us getting soaked but when temps are in the low 30’s it’s is nice relief. At one stage the rain was so heavy we were down to 60km/h on a major highway.
the countryside was very green and we noticed a cart being towed by camel’s which was the first time on our travels we had seen this.
For some reason there were a large number of vehicle that took to driving down the wrong side of a dual carriageway, head on into the opposing traffic, rather than sticking to their side of the road. Very dangerous as it would at times have vehicles going in all directions to avoid the idiots.
We arrived quite late, around 9:00pm at the hotel which was nice compared to what we had been staying in, but still no wifi.
It was an early start for the day as we we advised to get to the Tajmahal early due to the huge crowds that develope as the day goes on and today was only going to be worse due to the holiday weekend.
So we were out the door at around 06:40am heading to the East gate entry with tickets in hand that we had already purchased yesterday. Arriving early certainly gave us the best opportunity to view this wonder of the world as there were limited numbers of people about.
The building itself is amazing with with such detail and symmetrical layout. Steve found it peacefull an serene to look at where as I found it huge, but actually quite simple being all white and symmetrical. We both agreed it is like no other building we have seen.
On the way back we stopped and had breakfast at a great little cafe that actually served a good cappuccino which was a bit of a standout for this town.
In the afternoon it was off to see the Old Forte which is a military establishment that was originally built around 1,000a.d. And has been added to in several stages since.
We relaxed in the evening on the rooftop restaurant back at the hotel watching the sun go down over Agra with the Tajmahal n the background. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
Statistics For The Week;
Distance travelled for week: 738km
Average Speed for Trip: 58.1km/h
Average Fuel Consumption To Date: 4.5 litre per 100km
Leaving Delhi heading to Agra is our our plan for today. It is also India’s celebration of their day of Indipendance which meant traffic was light early on.
We passed the new Formula1 GP circuit (called Buddh International Raceway) at greater Noida which looked rather impressive against the backdrop of Basic Indian livages.
As we entered Agra there was massive traffic issues with crashes and congestion with some rain falling to add to the fun. We were advised to turn around and take an alternative route which meant back streets which were also heavily congested.
As a result of the congestion for an extended period the bikes were suffering from potentially overheating which meant a couple of forced stops to allow them to cool.
The ride was only 225km’s in length however due to the congestion it dealt much longer.
We arrived at the hotel which involved a very tight fit for the bikes and the Manager kindly let us park the bikes in the laundry section of his own home!
The hotel (Saniya Palace) we found hardly a “palace”, with no water in our room, no internet, smelly to the point we insisted on moving rooms. Mind you we only paid approx $25 for the room. The upside was that it did have a clear view of the Tajmahal from the rooftop restaurant .
Folowing our complaint the Manager transferred us to the roof top room which also had direct views of the “Taj” which sort of made up for the other rough bits.
It’ s Friday morning and we are planning to leave at latest Saturday morning to head towards Nepal and with Saturday being a holiday due to the Indian Indipendance day I had to have my tyres arrive and fitted today. With great assistance from the team at The Vibe Hotel who made numerous phone calls and even called their account manager at head office who also uses the same carrier we managed to get the delivery drivers mobile number! By now it was 10:30am and we managed to speak with the driver who after a quick chat, had the tyres delivered to the dealer within the next half hour; relief!
The tyres were fitted and the bikes were all sorted now ready for the second half of our journey with a clean bill of health. Bring it on!
Steve had been suffering from an iffy tummy over the last day or so and was also feeling somewhat better by the day’s end he was also feeling on the mend so tomorrow we are back on the road.
Today was to be our 3rd day stopping in New Delhi with my bike being serviced today (hopefully tyres will arrive) and Steve will aim to strap himself in the rental car and let the driver do his thing so he can go back up town for a 3rd day running to collect the visa’s.
I pleased that my bike servicing went well with no additional work required, however I was still awaiting the arrival of the tyres and the week was running out as it was a Thursday already.
Fortunately I had now been sent the consignment details for the tyre shipment so we were now able to chase up the delivery at this end.
The great news was that Steve collected the visa’s without any hassle. We were both looking forward to visiting Myanmar however the visit process when arriving overland was more difficult as the application date was time critical and had to be done in person rather than a simple prior to our original departure.
After yesterday’s fail in trying to submit our visa applications for Myanmar we had booked the car and driver once more and hit the road early to ensure we made the 10:00am opening to for the embassy office.
We arrived right on time and were second in line and had all our paperwork ready to go. We confidently handed the applications over and within a minute had the bank cheque handed back stating it would not be accepted as the diligent embassy official kindly pointed out that the word “Myanmar” was incorrectly spelt (Mayanmar).
After yesterday’s efforts to lodge our applications and then again today being rejected for such a beurocratic reason both Steve and I tried to reason with the official. Reasoning did not work…….. “Bank fault, bank must fix, not my fault” was pretty much the only response we were offered.
So it was then a mad rush to find another bank that would issue a cheque with the correct spelling. Thanks to some good old fashioned Delhi driving and both Steve and I firmly strapped in the back seat of the car, we soon had the cheque and returned to submit our paperwork with a few minutes to spare before the office shut. We now hoped that when we return tomorrow that the visas would be granted ok.
On the way back to the hotel it also meant an additional trip to the issuing bank to get our first cheque refunded. Thankfully that went smoothly.
We manged to make it back to the hotel with enough time to drop the bikes off at the BMW dealer and for them to start work on them. Steve headed back to the hotel to research our next journey leg while I stayed with the bikes to oversee the work being carried out.
Steve’s bike was first and all went well including having the damaged pannier from a couple of days earlier being repaired. We manged to have the bike sorted and done on the day. Sorted!
The driving tally for the day was that we only hit one Tuk Tuk and and a push bike with no fatalities! Ha Ha
Today was to be a busy day as we had several items to attend to including submitting our visa applications for Myanmar as soon as possible.
Fortunetly The Vibe Hotel where we were staying offered a late model hire car with driver for only $36US a full day which worked out a treat when having to navigate Delhi.
First we were off to the Myanmar consulate to submit our visa applications. First problem for the day occurs as the visa office is only open between 10:00am & 11:00am daily (despite the website saying all day) and we arrived at 11:40am! It would not have been so bad but due to the traffic and location it was a two hour drive each way. We checked with the guards what we would need for tomorrow and off we went.
Next stop was to visit a camping store as my camel back bladder had failed recently and Steve required a new bag and a top. We were fortunate the driver knew his way around and although we had to use an interpreter via his mobile phone to discuss anything. We were soon at a great little camping store and we were able to get what we wanted.
Next we had a break for food which involved making a quick run from the car to the shop due to the monsoon rain occurring.
After lunch it was off to a bank nearby our hotel to obtain a bank cheque for the visa applications. The first bank had a fault with their printer so we then drove another 15km (each way) to another bank that would provide a cheque.
More on the cheque later but for now it was time to introduce ourselves to the service department of the BMW dealer where we were to get our bikes serviced as they had traveled 14,750kms since last having a spanner on them.
It was great to meet the people I had been emailing some 6 months earlier as part of the preparations for our Mad Ride. We were hoping the tyres I had being shipped from Mumbai (I had pre shipped them there as tyres are not available in India) had not arrived yet. A BIG shout out to Shyam Narayanan who is my Great work colleague back at Suncorp in Sydney who assisted greatly with his cousin in Mumbai to have the tyres shipped. Thanks loads!
We arranged to drop the bikes off tomorrow and hopefully the tyres would be in by then?
We had achieved most of what we wanted but it was going to be a case of heading back to the Myanmar consulate tomorrow to have another go at submitting our visa’s.