Hi everyone, hope your Christmas and New Years was great.  I’m sharing with you a blog from my best friend Valerie. Her and I met several years ago and share a love of travelling. She’s been all around England, France, Egypt, Jordan, Thailand.. and well the list goes on! In 2013 she travelled to India with her family, including her baby! I hope you enjoy reading about her adventure…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~

Our first family vacation took us to China and India. Travelling with a 12 month baby at the best of times can be a daunting task for most parents, travelling around the world with a baby could land a person being certified insane. Thankfully, my husband and I were travelling with my mom, and my aunt. Looking back now I don’t think our marriage would have survived travelling 30 hours just the three of us. All joking aside, I’m glad we went.

Our flight path took us from Edmonton, to Vancouver, Vancouver to Beijing, and then Beijing to New Delhi. Once we landed in India we still had a 5 hour drive up to northern India, to the city of Chandigarh. Anybody who has even flown with children are probably cringing just reading that last sentence. There could be an entire blog post just related to flying with children, so I will save that for another entry.

We were lucky enough that we had an 8.5 layover in Beijing. Most people hate long layovers, but when you are in Beijing and you have over 5 hour layover you have enough time to go and see some of the sights, and that is just what we did. In January of 2013 the Chinese government allowed certain countries a 72 hour visa to do just that. We decided that we wanted to see the Great Wall of China. We had a few hiccups (due to our own fault) when we were at the airport. Blame it on being tired, hungry, or the fact that our baby only slept 3 hours on an 11 hour flight we never even thought to fill out our VISA card once we got to Chinese Customs area. We stood in line for about 20 minutes got to the front and realized we didn’t fill it out. So there I head back to the stand where the rest of the tourists are filling out their VISA form. We finally get through customs and we are beyond hungry at this point, the only plus is that Peyton is sleeping in her stroller. We then find out that we have to tack a train to leave the airport. By this time 2 hours have gone by since we landed, and all of us half expected our tour guide to have left. As we leave the secured area there is a mass of people holding up name signs, and through the sea of people I see our little tour guiding holding a sign with my name on it.

We were fortunate enough to have a very clear day, which apparently is very unheard of in Beijing. By the time we got to the Great Wall we had about 45minutes before it closed. Yes, I would have liked to spend more time there, however, there was nobody around. It was a very calming and serene to be up there watching the sun start to set.

The reason why we decided to go to India is because husband is from India, and his cousin was getting married. Most of his family still lives there and was unable to make it for our wedding, and none of them had seen Peyton.  The wedding was spectacular.  There were three full days of festivities for us to attend, and I can honestly say I have never seen such an elaborate and more beautiful wedding.

We were there long enough that we were able to do some touring. We had hired a personal driver to take us to the places I wanted to see. Our first day trip was further north in India to the city of Amritsar.  The Golden Temple is located there. It was breathtaking to see.  There were thousands upon thousands of people there, most of them being Sikh and paying their respects.

We spent most of our time in Chandigarh and took in local sites like the Rose Garden, and the Rock Garden. I know what you are thinking, a rock garden, that sounds dull.  Before you turn up your nose the Rock Garden consists of man made interlinked waterfalls and many other sculptures that have been made out of recycled material like: bottles, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks, electrical waste, you name it. They have all been placed in a walled area.

On journey back home, is when we made the pilgrimage to the Taj Mahal. We paid and got ourselves a tour guide, and if you are planning a trip to India, and you go to the Taj Mahal, I highly recommend you pay the little bit extra and get the tour guide. Not only do you get to skip the queue to get in, but you get more history of the building, and a personal tour guide to take pictures for you. We got to sit on the famous bench that many celebrities and world leaders have sat on.  The building was stunning and breathtaking.

Looking back now, I realize just how much we saw in a matter of two weeks. The time difference was way to much for a one year old, and even with all the sleep she got, her little body was unable to adjust to 12.5 hour time difference.  We will be going back, but not anytime soon. Next time we plan on going when Peyton is at least 5 and can understand things a little bit more.

~ Valerie

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