After not making it in time to catch the Taj for a proper sunset we decided to yet again get up at 6am to be there before the hoards of other tourists arrived. These kinds of places aren't the same when your elbow to elbow with thousands of others.
Dani and me probably had a Kingfisher Strong too many last night so getting up again on about 5 hours sleep was especially difficult this morning. K. Strong claims to be 8% but also mention that's just the minimum. Who knows what they really are!
The streets were still pretty empty when we headed out walking the 500 meters to the Taj and luck would have it inside the massive complex it was pretty similar. Everyone's either been to the Taj Mahal, seen pictures or a travel/history program on it before so not going to try explaining the beauty of this place. Wouldn't be doing it justice.
After a few hours walking around we headed back to the hotel, had a quick breakfast, packed Lily back up and headed out.
From Agra and the Taj we didn't really have a next stop in mind so we just headed east. Our goal is to vier north and the Himalayas. Basecamp with a 9 horsepower rickshaw?! Why not!! :-P
At first we intended to make for Kanpur which is about a 250km journey (about 9 hours in a rickshaw) but during another cool trucker restaurant lunch stop found out it's in the top 10 most polluted cities in the world and also notorious for thirds so decided to change course and head north. With reaching the Nepalis border being our goal in the coming days that made the most sense so we jumped off the highway and hit the smaller roads with Kannauj as the new aim.
Today was the first day we finally saw some water other than the smelly polluted ponds of almost neon green waters seen so far. This being near the end of the dry season a lot of rivers are dried up but a few still contain some water. The Ganges being the largest river in the region it's still fairly full but definitely nowhere near the levels it much be in a few months time when the rains return.
One stretch had a lot of road construction so a mix of asphalt and dirt sections. This being India safely isn't a big priority so shouldn't have been surprised about an almost half meter drop after one of the competed sections, but we definitely were. Going full speed, not 85 km/h as claimed be some but still about 45 km/h I took Lily air born. Not sure how we managed to come out without real damage but with the exception of our famous roof rack bending the frame a little all was ok. Probably a new jump distance record to boot :-D
Another long day coming to an end around 7:30 pm when we reached Kannauj for our second session of driving in the dark. With our horn still not working, muffler loose again and gear shifter not responding well having pretty much lost second gear we have a few things to take care of tomorrow before we continue north.
For now a much need shower, dinner and sleep. After 5 days of waking up at 6am plan is to "sleep in" tomorrow until 8am. Can't wait!