Sunday, February 9, 2014

Settling in, apartment searching

It has been 2 weeks since we moved into our temporary apartment in West Delhi. As the days went by we have become more comfortable with the place. I've learned to find my way around the neighbourhood, to the local shops, market and park and started to become a familiar site at those places to the locals. The apartment has begun to feel a little like home.

With that said we know it's only temporary. Though we've flirted with the idea of living somewhere around here, either in this neighbourhood or one beside Freddie's work we are now looking seriously at South Delhi. A more expensive but much greener and better connected to sites part of Delhi. We saw some places around Freddie's work straight after arriving and found it all rather crammed in. Last week we were taken to Dwarka where everything was high rise with dusty expanses in between the developments. It was pretty clear that this was not what we wanted. Towards the end of the week we were taken to some places in South Delhi. The area had a much greener appearance. We saw a place that we liked near Hauz Khas Metro station, which is in a very trendy and quite expensive part of town. The place didn't have much outside space but was quiet and near green spaces and we both liked it. Negotiations for it will begin.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Moved in to temporary apartment

On Monday we moved out of the safety and comfort of the hotel into an apartment. We'll be here for a month or so. Our new place is on the top floor of a modern-ish building in the middle-class neighbourhood of Tilak Nagar. It's in gated block of  around 100 3-4 story apartment buildings with a park at the centre. We have access to the terrace on the room, from which we get a nice view around. It's a short distance to Freddie's work, which was the main reason we picked the place, and that there was a playground in the park in front. It's not a posh place but seems ok. Like the rest of Delhi there is dust everywhere.

When Freddie left for work the afternoon that we moved in I felt rather isolated. I couldn't find places to fill the cupboards with anything familiar to eat. Walking around with 2 kids made me quite alien in the neighbourhood, indians are not shy to stop and stare. Failing to put dinner on the table in the evening we braved the crowd and ventured out to the market area by the metro station and ate street food. The hussle and bustle of the people was very enlivening. The following day the landlord showed me where there was a small supermarket and the apartment started to feel a little more like home.

Freddie works 4 days per week and while feeding Oscar has decided that she'll take Wednesdays off. We decided that after being in Delhi for almost a week without seeing anything old it was time to head to the old centre. We took the metro into Chandni Chowk which is the old main road that runs from the old town to the Red Fort. The metro took almost a hour and along the way we passed by lots of neighbourhoods that looked just like ours. We began to get the feeling that we were living in a very big city. Chandni Chowk was really crowded with honking cars and people, but wasn't as overpowering as I'd been expecting. There were some beggars asking for money and every inch of space was occupied by something but there was always a way through. The pram that we brought from Europe would have been pointless here, with all the obstacles and bumpy pavement, where it existed. Anton was happy in the backpack on my back and Oscar being carried by Freddie in a pouch.

We didn't come to town with a particular objective but ended out at the Red Fort which we went into. It was very impressive. The exterior walls of red stone were amazing and the gate through which one entered very impressive. Once inside and past where tickets were obligatory it became quite relaxed. There were palaces and pavillions arranged around lawns. Many of them were under repair but still very beautiful. There was differential pricing for Indians and foreigners but the price (250 rupees each) was worth it. I'm sure we'll be back when we get visitors.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Delhi Arrival

We flew into Delhi this morning. Everything was a completely rushed in the morning with final packing, but went totally fine. The flight worked out very well. Anton was totally engrossed in the inflight entertainment system (I hope we can ween him off lots of videos). Oscar didn't really sleep too much but was very calm about it all, with only short moments of tragedy. All our luggage arrived with us unscathed and the transport that had been ordered to get us to the hotel waited even though we were much later coming out of the terminal than expected. By the time that we got to bed it was after midnight our time and almost time for the sun to come here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

India here we come

The goods to be shipped have gone. The visas are in our hands. The house is still in a bit of chaos but it won't take much time, time that we have, to squeeze all into a state of order. Either into one of the many suitcases, more than I've ever left a house with, that will fly with us, or go into storage downstairs. It feels strange to be doing this. It's not like a holiday where things that we want to do before we leave, like cleaning the toilet, can be left to when we come home. It's not like that, we are leaving and we are not coming back!

Tomorrow we take a KLM flight to India. Next our home, the only one that both our sons have ever known will be occupied by tenant and our new one will be amongst the millions of inhabitants of Delhi. It's all organised, driver to pick us up, a hotel for a couple of nights. A temporary apartment for a month will follow, after that the process of building a new home will follow.

I'm scared and excited. How will Oscar and Anton find India, how will I find it? Will the food be edible (by the boys, I'm sure I'll like it)? Will I miss bacon a lot? How will the people be with us? Will I be able to cope without the possibility to ride a bike? Thousands of doubts and questions come.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ilanz to Luzern

The Rhine was no longer this wide navigable rivet with flood protection running in a channel. It was white water. The banks went up steeply to high mountains.

I was disjointed with myself for not going on a little more the previous evening as I passed lots of nice looking hotels add I went up.

Soon I was climbing steadily and didn't really stop until the top of the Oberalp pass 60km and 1300m altitude gain later. Traffic up the pass was quite heavy, with lots of motorbikes. The top was wonderful but I was hardly alone. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything different, with it being Sunday and a beautiful weather.

Down the overside,  the centre of the town Andermatt was totally dominated by Harley Davidson. I left add quickly as I could after lunch and stayed on the North-South route. The cycle route and the road for cats was shared and very busy, a legacy of the day and the weather. I made a note to myself to find a car free road for such a similar tripping the future on weekend days.

Once all the way down I followed the shore of the Vierwaldstatter
See around to Luzern where I found a place in the youth hostel. I cycled 164km.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Berlingen to Ilanz

The day stayed with a route along Lake Constance. After a couple of hours the Rhine appeared again on the other side of the lake. Again it formed a border, though with Austria instead of Germany, and later Liechtenstein. Mountains came into view and became more dramatic. For a few hours I sped up the river with a strong tail wind. A bit after Char the road started going up seriously as the Rhine went into the mountains. I ended the day with 191km at 7:30pm, it was a little difficult finding a room and the one I got was in a business type hotel and a bit expensive. The breakfast should be good though. I hope for something more family run tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Basel to Berlingen

The first day of my long weekend of cycling. The train arrival into Basel was held up for an hour and a half, apparently by a woman going into labour. Sometimes it's a nice thing that makes you late.

The route until near Schaffhausen was nice but always closer to big roads and industry. The countryside was nice but expect it to get better. It was fairly easy cycling except for the mild headwind which played with my head,  making me worry about whether I'd be able to make my objective of the round trip, cycling ask the way back into Basel.

At Schaffhausen I saw the Rhine falls which are fairly impressive,  though not overwhelming. Clearly they have been a thing to see for quite a long time. There was a youth hostel in the castle that overlooked the falls. Had it been later in the day I would have seen if they could accommodate me. As it was I wanted to go on.

The next town Stein am Rhein was lovely with lots of prettily painted buildings, making me think a little of  Alsace.

I'd hoped to go further than I did but 176km isn't too bad for the first day. I stayed in a cheap but very comfortable hotel called Adler. Their Wifi even worked in the room!