I awoke feeling well rested with the sun on my face, then the sinking feeling that arrives on this day of every trip began to creep up, it must be the last day then. We had actually managed to sleep in pretty late and it was 9a.m. Meetu and Nick were heading up to Rishikesh to spend Easter with some friends so we said goodbye to them before packing the rest of our things and getting ready for the day. Halle had to be at the airport for 12 so we decided to head out to Kailash Market to get some breakfast together, the last of the trip. We dragged our luggage the 5 minutes or so to the market only to realise pretty much everywhere was closed. Luckily we found Anupama which sold cheap Indian food as well as sweets for Halle to take back. I opted for the Poori Sabzi and it was delicious, washed down with a glass of chai. (DISCLAIMER – eating here resulted in me becoming extremely ill for over a week and is therefore not recommended) As we called our ubers I was feeling pretty emotional, I hate saying goodbye to my travel buddies! Thank you so much for coming on this Indian adventure with me Halle, your positivity and kindness made the trip truly spectacular, until the next time!
Now all alone in the big city, I headed to a friend’s place, where I would be staying that night to meet 2 friends from previous trips. I had a nice catch up with DK, who has moved to Delhi since we last met and is embracing city life before I headed out to Qutub Minar with DJ. Qutub Minar is one of the ‘sights’ of Delhi and one of the only ones I haven’t yet visited. We took an uber right to the entrance and then bought our tickets, 10p for Indians £2.50 for foreigners. Qutub Minar is a complex of lots of different buildings but by far the most famous is the world’s largest minaret standing right in the centre. Apparently, you used to be able to climb up to the top but too many people used it as an easy suicide tool and so it is now closed off and only available for ground viewing. The tower began life in 1200AD but has been restored a few times due to lightning strikes and earthquakes. However, the Qutb complex is quite big and contains much more than just the minaret. There is the famous iron pillar in the complex with multiple inscriptions each dating from different periods of history and stands in the shadow of the main minaret. There is also a famous mosque in the complex, which although now a ruin would have been one of the first mosques in India. Each of the buildings were really beautiful and it was nice to see all of the kids playing around the complex and whole families out for a day excursion. We wandered around in the sun until being approached by a security guard who offered to take some photos of me. This was especially humorous given that I was already with a photographer, but we gave him my phone and I must say his photos are some of the best that were taken that day. One of them had me sitting on a step inside one of the ruins and as the guard was clicking away 2 cute kids asked if they could join, adorable.
After an hour or so of wandering and history we decided it was time for some food and so headed over to the Select Citywalk Mall. The malls here are huge and have all of the same stores you might find on the Edinburgh highstreet. After a quick look in Sephora we headed out to try and eat at Mahabelly, a popular South Indian Keralan restaurant. However, we had totally forgot about Easter and so they were really busy. Luckily though, DJ knew the owners and so they assured us they would give us a call in 10/15 mins and in the meantime we went to Turquoise Cottage for some catch up drinks. You really forget how expensive the cities are whilst travelling around India, I couldn’t believe it that they could charge £5 for a juice when we were used to paying £1 for one at most everywhere else. It was pretty nice to chill out though and catch up after 3 years of not seeing each other. After over an hour of waiting it became clear the restaurant were not calling, being upfront and saying so would have been nice and as such I definitely would not recommend this place!
We wandered back inside the mall and opted for Dhaba by Claridges – a massively overpriced restaurant on the 2nd floor of the mall. After a few seat changes, the music was pretty loud, we settled in and I had an amazing mango lassi. We then went for the tandoori chicken and butter chicken with rice. Both were pretty nice but nothing outstanding and certainly not worth the outlandish £22, a lot even for the UK. It had been a lovely day, hanging out in the sun and enjoying nice food. Everyone you speak to has pretty negative reviews of Delhi as a place but I feel so at home here, probably as a result of spending 3 months of my life living here at different times. It is a city to live in, not rush through spending a day or 2 hitting the tourist spots. The end of the trip was near and I was sad to be leaving but happy to have had such a great trip. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the trip as memorable as it was; Nick and Meetu, Eshaan, DJ and DK but most importantly Halle!