Category Archives: daily travel update

a daily update of my travels

varanasi

Varanasi is a hectic city, many Indian tourists on a spiritual holiday. Every day of the year it is a mad-house, but during Indian holidays it supposedly gets even more crazy. I tried to avoid the crowd:

The Ganga river

The Ganga river

Bathing in the Ganga

Bathing in the Ganga

Again - everything looks better with a cow, even the dirty Ganga

Again – everything looks better with a cow.

One of the tiny streets in Varanasi

One of the tiny streets in Varanasi

Volunteering at the Ganga Learning Centre

My last day in Varanasi I decided to volunteer at a school nearby. The project is amazing: they educate children, but also their mothers – the mothers learn how to sew for six months after which they are able to work and earn money so that they can send their child(ren) to school. The children, after attending the Ganga Learning Centre, will by then be ready to attend a regular school as they have learned much at the centre.

The children start the day off with a yoga class, then they study English and Hindi before having lunch. At the end of the day they have a Skype session with a ‘Granny’ via the Granny Project – most of these elderly women from the UK are retired teachers. I was lucky to meet the founder of the project and one Indian ‘Granny’ who were visiting the day I volunteered.

It was so much fun playing with the children and pointing out where Holland or the Netherlands is on the globe – they didn’t find this too confusing; their city Varanasi is also named Beneras or Kachi (city of spiritual light)

I volunteered at a school for children.

I have more photos of the adorable children, but to safeguard the privacy of the children I won’t post them to my website.

Breakfast in Varanasi

Every morning I spent a few hours in Varanasi walking around the Old Town and the main road searching for fruit stands.

Eventually I would have accumulated and devoured many fruits: bananas, oranges, pomegranate juice, fresh coconut, watermelon, papaya, sugarcane juice and grapes.

Breakfast

hide out eco-farm

After my short visit in Mumbai and saying good-bye to my Swiss friends I headed to an eco-farm just outside of Mumbai. Here you can sleep under the stars, or in a room with large open spaces in the walls. The construction of the farm is mainly made with cow dung (cow poo). Everything is organic/recycled/local/sustainable. The owner Hament wants to create the largest fruit forest around the farm together with the tribals that live in the acres around the farm.

The food you consume here is mainly raw – lots of fruit, the staff of girls cook great food on the ash stove which doesn’t overheat the food.

Besides living healthfully on the farm, Hament (Bobby) also talks with you about life & nature & spirituality. You feel instantly at home here.

Some photos of the farm & activities (sorry about my poor phone quality photos):

The local market where goods are traded.

The local market where goods are traded.

My room

My room

The common area

The common area

Look at those ears: adorable!

Look at those ears: adorable!

Bed in the jungle

Bed in the jungle

Farmer smokin' a Beedie

Farmer smokin’ a Beedie

The bus driver now has my hat

The bus driver now has my hat

mahatma gandhi

Gandhi & Gandhi

Gandhi & Gandhi

Gandhi's home

Gandhi’s home

He tried

He tried

Inspiring words:

“I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, in whose making they have an effective voice, an India in which there shall be no high class and low class of people, an India in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony… There can be no room in such India for the curse of untouchability or the curse of intoxicating drinks and drugs… Women will enjoy the same rights as men… This is the India of my dreams.” – M.K. Gandhi

Confession of an error is like a broom that sweeps away dirt and leaves the surface cleaner than before.

A clean confession, combined with a promise never to commit the sin again, when offered before one who has the right to receive it, is the purest type of repentance.

A man who has broken with his past feels a different man. He will not feel it a shame to confess his past wrongs, for the simple reason that these wrongs do not touch him at all.

A sinner is equal to the saint in the eye of God. Both will have equal justice, and both an equal opportunity either to go forward or to go backward. Both are His children, His creation.

A saint who considers himself superior to a sinner forfeits his sainthood and becomes worse than the sinner who, unlike the proud saint, knows not what he is doing.

In 1921 at Gandhi's suggestion the spinning wheel found place on the Swaraj-flag. To Gandhi, spinning was a sacrament. He felt that every time he drew a thread on the wheel, he was coming nearer to the poorest of the poor and through them to God.

In 1921 at Gandhi’s suggestion the spinning wheel found place on the Swaraj-flag. To Gandhi, spinning was a sacrament. He felt that every time he drew a thread on the wheel, he was coming nearer to the poorest of the poor and through them to God.

magical hampi

Bathing Laxmi

Bathing Laxmi

The only crook in town

The only crook in town

The Monk is shaking flowers out of the tree

Monkey hanging out with us. We had biscuits and bananas. He's enjoying the sunset with us.

Monkey hanging out with us. We had biscuits and bananas. He’s enjoying the sunset with us.

The local elephant Laxmi is blessing me for 10 Rps. She takes the money with her trunk and gives it to the big boss before blessing.

The local elephant Laxmi is blessing me for 10 Rps. She takes the money with her trunk and gives it to the big boss before blessing.

If you ever go to Hampi, email him! Krishnahampi@gmail.com. He's the sweetest guy ever and knows so much about Hampi. He even made my friend Angela cry due to his beautiful words and passion about Hampi. The crying freaked him out though. Whenever you sing the Hare Krishna song he will sing it along with you.

If you ever go to Hampi, email him! Krishnahampi@gmail.com. He’s the sweetest guy ever and knows so much about Hampi. He even made my friend Angela cry due to his beautiful words and passion about Hampi. The crying freaked him out though. Whenever you sing the Hare Krishna song he will sing it along with you.

Krishna's wheels

Krishna’s wheels

Hampi

Everything looks better with a cow

Everything looks better with a cow

Bat cave ruins - doing a little pose.

Bat cave ruins – doing a little pose.

Angelita and I under Buddha's tree, doing what he did best: meditating.

Angelita and I under Buddha’s tree, doing what he did best: meditating.

One of Krishna's fascinating stories

One of Krishna’s fascinating stories

IMG_5853

Ganesha

Ganesha

goa to mumbai

Another night bus. This time from Goa to Mumbai. I’m joining my Swiss friends and meeting more Swiss people here. will be there for a couple of days before heading up north. I will probably go to Varanasi first. More yoga, more temples!

This sugarcane juice is amazing, they add ginger and lime:

He was pleased with the end result of the photo

He was pleased with the end result of the photo


 

daily update #52

Gokarna with Angela and Naomi.

Train to Gokarna

Train to Gokarna

Boy on train

Boy on train

View

View from train

Train

We almost missed our stop, when we realized it was our stop we jumped up, got the locals to help us with our bags, threw them out of the moving train and all three of us jumped after our luggage. Our way of a grand entrance to Gokarna.

Om Beach, Gokarna

Om Beach, Gokarna

Gokarna Temple

Locals around one of the temples. We aren’t allowed to go into the temples in Gokarna.

Angelita with flowers in her hair and Omi smiling as usual

Angelita with flowers in her hair and Omi smiling as usual

I am still obsessed with cows

Photos of cows; it’s an obsession.

Herbs

Herbs

Beautiful animal

Beautiful animal

Market Gokarna

Market Gokarna

Checking his photo on the iPhone

Checking his photo on the phone

Enlightened!

Enlightened! If my phone says so, it might be true.

The guy in blue was our waiter at the restaurant, we thought he hated us. Turns out he doesn't.

The guy in blue was our waiter at the restaurant, we thought he hated us. Turns out he doesn’t.