Besides the air conditioning in the minibus being next to nonexistent we made it to Agra without trouble. In Agra we ate a quick lunch and rested in our hotel rooms (I was still feeling very poorly), before driving to the Red Fort of Agra. A guide showed us around the fort and it was a really interesting place with beautiful rooms and courtyards and many years of history.
Picture: mobbed by some very colourful and sweet Indian tourists
Afterward, we were driven to a carpet manufacturer who sold carpets made by women in the surrounding rural areas without any machinery in a project to save the Taj from pollution.
Then we went to dinner, which I mostly spent trying to keep from puking.
I went straight to bed back at the hotel Karan Villas, having thankfully gotten my own room for another night.
The next morning we met in the lobby at 5 am to drive to the Taj Mahal. And soon after having bought our tickets the grand Taj was visible through the gate. I had prepared myself for disappointment but for once it lived up to all the hype.
It was incredibly beautiful and much bigger in person than what I had thought it would be - massive when you came close. And because we were there before sunrise and in low tourist season there were barely any other tourist. We spent the next hours just walking around or sitting down to admire it, Richard and I walking together. And inside the building was just as detailed and beautiful.
Finally around 8 am we decided to make our way back stopping at cafe dos Tea to eat breakfast - even though the service was really slow they had soy milk, so I won't complain!
Back at the hotel I rested until checkout at 12 am. At 12 the others went on a nature walk by the Taj, but Richard, Jenna, Nina, John and I opted out, instead going to the nearby mall. We had expected a day at a nice modern air conditioned mall, sipping coffee at a cafe or walking lazily around window shopping, but the mall definitely wasn't that. Instead it looked half torn down with next to no shops and no airconditioning, so after about two minutes we sat down at the one cafe there which thankfully had airconditioning and seemed very westernized.
I got really nauseous though, so I got my food as takeaway for the overnight train in the evening and took a tuk tuk back to the hotel, where I rested in our day room for the rest of the afternoon.
Around 7 pm we took the minibus to the train station, where we ended up waiting for two hours because of the train being delayed an hour and a half, arriving at 9.20 pm.
After a bit of a chaotic start on the train I quickly crawled into the top bunk and fell asleep, sleeping right up until we had to get off in Varanasi the next morning.
I honestly really like the sleeper trains, I just figure out a way to lay comfortably, strategically placing my bags and shoes so that they won't bother me too much, and then letting the rocking of the train do the rest of the work.