After discovering most of the famous landmarks of Delhi, we still had one on our list: the Red Fort. On the way there, we began to understand, that everything, we saw until now, was the privileged upper class part of Delhi and we are now about to enter the real world. On the way there, some of the prejudices you hear about India were confirmed, when we saw extremely poor people on the streets, children digging in trash, beggars with open wounds, etc. Once we arrived at the fort, we were faced with hundreds of rickshaws, tuk tuk and thousands of people for whom we looked like total aliens. When we passed the barrier in front of the fort, I realized, that my wallet was gone – hoping, that I left it in the flat was useless – I’ve been mugged for the first time in a classic crowd of people situation… The upside was, that it as my travel wallet with only one credit card and not too much cash, so a couple of calls and the help of family and friends later, the new card is on the way. But still a bitter and unnecessary experience.
So we wiggled our way through the sheer masses of people at the Fort, took a picture with the locals here and there for which we were the main attraction as it seemed. As unprepared tourists, who we are, we got in line for tickets and stood there for what seems to be 30 mins until one friendly Indian mentioned, that there is a special counter for foreigners. As time told us there are usually special counters for foreign tourists (high-value ticket holders :D).
We can imagine, that the Red Fort was once very beautiful and could be compared to the Topkapi palace in Istanbul, but what we saw disappointed us. The palace is in a poor condition, all the beauty is long gone and only the exteriors and the stories still exist.
To be prepared for our long train journey to Amritsar on the next day, we decided to drive by the train station and check out, where we would need to go. It turned out to be a good idea, as there are two main train stations and they look exactly like you would imagine the Delhi main train station to look like…
After all this we headed back to our new home and asked our host for recommendations for a restaurant. His daughter recommended a “posh place”, which turned out to be posh, because all restaurants served European food. As we didn’t come to India for pizza and burgers, we ended up in a place serving spicy rice with meat (Biryani). Once we were back at our flat, our host knocked at our door and invited us for late dinner and of course we couldn’t say no (the rice was too spicy anyways). We had some daal, cooked veggies and freshly baked naan with home-made buffalo yogurt – delicious! :))) In addition we had some interesting discussions about the Indian society, the relationships with other countries and why the Concorde wasn’t allowed to fly over India (hint: the sonic boom!) Sunil also invited us for breakfast for the very next day before we would leave. The masala omelette (spicy omelette with tomatoes and a lot of chilies) was served with more politics and discussions between Sunil and his brother, which showed us – it doesn’t matter where you come from – siblings are always the same 😀