The Outtakes…

For those of you who may have been missing our blog, a final post of random photos from our amazing journey. It already seems like a world away…

Ghandi loves Canada

M’hat on Mahatma – Winnipeg, Canada

Wild man

The  ‘Canada beard’

Hello Kitty helmet

Granny in a pink helmet – Hanoi, Vietnam

Bozo van

Rent a Bozo – San Francisco, USA

Stoopid tourists

Ridiculous tourist vehicle – San Francisco, USA

Hard choice

Pedestrian or Equestrian? – Vancouver, Canada

stationary bike

You’re not going to get far on that! – Vancouver, Canada

Gorgeous tires!

Ooo I just love your treads! – Delhi, India

Crazy bmx

Crazy BMX dudes – Vancouver Island, Canada

Willy biscuits

Willy biscuits! – San Francisco, USA

Giant broccoli

Paulo loves broccoli – Trujillo, Peru


Cheese covered sandwich – Salta, Argentina

Nice earrings

Rambutan earrings – Da Lat, Vietnam

Nice fanny

Fanny jam – Trujillo, Peru


Gurning in a silk factory – Da Lat, Vietnam

Feck off

Paulo gets annoyed – Iquique, Chile

Strange CD

Animal music – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Crazy monkey

Monkey goes nuts – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Chatty alpaca

Alpaca ca ca ca – Winnipeg, Canada


Cutest puppy ever – Da Lat, Vietnam

Monkey lovin'

Frisky monkeys – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Pinchy cheeks

Jess makes a new friend – Hoi An, Vietnam

No evil

Monkey boy – Bangkok, Thailand

Pert bottomed lion

Rubbish lion impression – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Catalogue pose

Turban catalogue pose – Udaipur, India

That’s all folks!

Back in Blighty

We arrived back just over a week ago now and the old pile has been well looked after as you can see! We just wanted to say thank you all so much for following our blog and saying such nice things about it. It was fantastic to get all your comments while we were away and a great way to stay in touch with our friends and family. Happy Easter and hope to see you soon if we haven’t already!

We will have one last blog of ‘outtakes’ so stay tuned for that one…

Goan to the beach

Goan loco

Of course we had to round up our year away with another trip to the beach! The cities of northern India were busy and challenging and after so much sight seeing we were ready to be very lazy. We ended up in Palolem the the south of Goa and it’s a picture perfect tropical beach.

Goan crazy

Goan loopy

From our little ‘Cocohut’ you could see palm trees and the sea. We spent our days walking up and down the beach to the beautiful river and rocks, reading, eating and drinking.  It was so hot with 90% humidity at night time, so we had a good excuse not to do too much.


It’s fairly touristy but still retains a village vibe with lots of fishermen bringing in the daily catch and a few cows just in case we were missing them.

Goan fishin'

Down on the beach

Lilian, a friend that we made in Varanasi joined us and it was great to hang out with her and her friend Paul, topping up our tans by day and drinking cocktails by night!

Do you like pina coladas?

Goan sunset

Holi Cow!

Holi cow!

I am sure that there is an important religious meaning behind the mayhem that is Holi, but we enjoyed it purely as an excuse to have a water fight and get covered in ink and paint. It took me back to my art college days! On the day adults get drunk and kids get overexcited, and both head out into the streets to throw coloured powder around and have a giant ink water fight.

Prepare for war

One of the guys from our hostel had prepared for war, and we got tooled up with water pistols and water bottles filled with coloured powder. With some trepidation we hit the small alleyways near our hostel. After defeating a few local kids, things seemed quiet as we came to the ghats on the edge of the river. We laughed at some other westerners who were covered in ink and paint, and guessed that we had arrived too late for the fight.

Silly westerners

Powder face

How wrong we were. As soon as we let our guard down, groups of kids arrived from nowhere and we faced attack on all sides. Some of them got a bit too carried away for my liking, and as I was the same height as them I got lots of small hands covered in ink rubbed into my face. “Not the face! Mind my eyes! Feck off!”

"We are from the future. What the fuck is going on here?"

Tired and defeated

Around lunch time the mayhem stops and everyone goes home to scrub up and get into their glad rags for the evening. We had a great time with a lovely bunch of people from our hostel and were lucky to have experienced Holi in the holiest of Indian cities.

Beneton face

Nine days in Varanasi

Varanasi is concentrated India. Religion, music, colour, cows, dogs, monkeys, pollution, touts, poverty, garbage, death and poop are all present in ample servings. It can be an overwhelming place if you have chosen it as your first destination in India, and was still quite intense for us, even after 4 weeks of ‘training’.

One of the holiest places for Hinduism, the heart of Varanasi is found along the banks of the river Ganges where those who believe in the purifying and restorative powers of the water come to worship, bathe, swim and cremate their dead. Hindus believe if you die in Varanasi, you are released from the eternal cycle of re-incarnation and go straight to Nirvana. We decided not to test this out by drinking the river water, but saw lots of people having a mouthful of the murky liquid.

Holy man

Progress has outrun town planning in this part of the city, established in 600 B.C. Dark labyrinthine alleyways, three storeys high and barely wide enough for two people are a conduit for pedestrians, cyclists, speeding motorcyclists and ox carts, all pushing past each other whilst navigating an obstacle course of begging holy men, cows grazing on garbage and a multitude of dogs.

Your part in this procession is observed by a changing wall of shopkeepers trying to hook you in, and from above by tribes of monkeys perched on window ledges, scaling the drainpipes and jumping between the rooftops. With all these distractions you have to accept that tripping over potholes and stepping into fresh cow turds is just part of the Varanasi learning experience.

Cow park

Monkey sit

On our first day we only ventured out for an hour and didn’t stray far from the hostel, for fear we’d never find it again. After a couple of days however, the sights, sounds and smells became more familiar and we began to feel more at home. Our hostel here was also a nice place to hang out and we met lots of other travellers from around the world.

Sunrise on the sandbanks

Taking a boat ride at sunrise is a good way to observe the morning rituals of Varanasi, if not the actual sunrise itself, as due to the air pollution it only ‘appears’ when past the horizon.

Boat ride

We enjoyed floating down the river, looking at the temples and palaces whilst people on the banks came to pray, practice yoga, meditate and do the laundry.

Usual suspects

Colours wash

River palace

It was nice to enjoy the sights without the usual distractions, although if you are a boat load of Japanese tourists you will still be chased down the river by a fat man in a floating shop.

Floating shop

Each night there is a religious ceremony down by the river, and the crowds sit on the steps listening to the harmonium and tabla music while watching the temple men make offerings of incense, fire and flower petals to the Hindu deities.

Audience on the steps

Holy fire

Holy smoke

It was Holi while we were in Varanasi, the festival celebrating the arrival of spring. For days before, people were buying bags of coloured powder to cover each other with. You’ll have to read our next post to see how we got on!

Powder pusher

The Big One

First glimpse

Entering the gates and seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time is a magical experience. There is a giddyness in the air as people rush to take photos of themselves pinching the top of the building or holding it up or jumping in the air in front of it.

Holding up the Taj

The Taj pose

Shah Jahan built the Taj as a mausoleum for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, he was devastated by her death and set out to create a monument to her memory. I trust that if I die before Paul, he will set to work creating something similar. The Taj took over 20,000 men 20 years to build and uses semi precious stones from around the world.

Taj tastic

Tiny ant people

It is obviously the most famous building in India, if not the world and we wondered whether it would live up to the hype. The scale of the building is so impressive, people swarm around it like ants wearing attractive shoe covers to protect the marble.

Sexy shoes

It is utterly beautiful and the only slightly disappointing thing is that there is not much to see inside the mausoleum (and a bit of a scrum to get inside). You also feel a bit guilty as a tourist, as you skip the queues to get inside and have to walk past long rows of Indian people waiting in the heat. You do pay a lot more money, but this is only right as it should be affordable for Indian people to see their heritage.

More midget than usual

Arty umbrella

We bumped into some friends who we had met on the train there and hung out as the sun set,  watching people attend the mosque next to the Taj and taking lots of photos of course.


It was quite emotional as we said goodbye to it, knowing that this is the last ‘wonder of the world’ that we will see on our trip, and that we are nearing the end of our journey.

Ghost world of Fatehpur Sikri

Yucky pond

On our quick visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal we also managed a visit to nearby Fatehpur Sikri, the abandoned capital of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is not really known why the city was abandoned, as Akbar moved his capital from Agra to here and then back again, abandoning it after less than 20 years. The huge empty courtyards were very grand and we tried to imagine how opulent life would have been while strolling around its palaces.

For dem bees

By all accounts Akbar was a bit of a player, he collected a harem from all over Asia and the zenana (women’s quarters) was said to house up to 5,000 women! Within this number were 300 wives, concubines, dancing girls and slaves.

Paulo Pachisi

One of Akbar’s favourite pursuits (apart from the obvious) was playing pachisi, similar to Ludo on his life size pachisi board in the main courtyard. He used slave girls as game pieces and wouldn’t let anyone go home until they had played 16 rounds which could take up to 3 months!

Akbar's hall

In the few moments when Akbar wasn’t living his playboy lifestyle, he tried to make the different religions of India get on better together. His ‘Hall of Private Audience’ has a throne pillar which supports a platform with bridges extending outwards to the walls. Akbar sat on his throne and held discussions with religious leaders. The pillar has carved motifs from Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity to symbolise his aim of bringing the religions together.

Throne pillar

There is also a mosque in the complex with an amazingly grand entrance gate. As well as being very impressive architecturally it is also home to thousands of bees who have taken up residence in the roof of the archway.

Now that's an entrance


Fattypuff sikri

Crazy courtyard

Next we head back into town for ‘The Big One’!

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