On my way from New Delhi to the little charming town of Diu, the only real route one can follow is via Ahmedabad. The capital of the state of Gujarat is a real Indian city: a busy important transport hub, in whose dusty streets one can still witness the real India. It’s not a place that draws tourists, apart from the ones willing to explore the remote areas of Kutchh or the Gandhi ashram, apart from the nostalgic ones like me, that come back to Diu, every time they have the chance. Booked my night bus in the morning, from an office that was literally on the street, i was ready to spend a day exploring around.
Ahmedabad hosts some fantastic architechture: Persian and Indo-Saracenic old rundown palaces, plus more modern buildings make this city an interesting place for urban landscape enthusiasts. But the real cool thing of this city is that despite the heavy traffic, old school means of transportation are still used, such as came-towed carts. This definitely gives the place a tropical and romantic touch…!
Some people even manages to take naps in the crazy noise, and as usual, they give me the opportunity to enlarge my collection of shots of sleeping people.
Due to a local festival, all the hotel rooms were fully booked in advance, so i had to wait until the evening, walking around the station area, taking pictures, checking my emails and trying out the famous Gujarati Thali
.I have to admit that i’m not a huge fan of this dish. Gujaratis seem to be obsessed with the sweet. They put sweet stuff over any item, be it a curry or a dessert. I tried a traditional thali in a canteen full of locals and they were quite impressed with my eating-with-hands skills…! You can tell they don’t see many foreigners around here..!
After lunch i really needed to take a break from the hustle bustle, but as i couldn’t even find a dorm bed at the railway station i decided to follow the example of the locals.
Threw my 2 sarungs on the marble floor and just lie down for a couple of hours, while the busy activity around me was working as a lullaby!
Few hours later i was glad to be back on track. Compared to the station floor, my sleeper bus berth felt like a 5 stars hotel to me.
On the way we stopped for some supper, and thanks god i could have some proper basic Indian street food, without added sugars and strange stuff. Just tandori rotis, chilli paneer and dhal fried.
After few minutes, sleepy but happy to be near the Arabic Sea, i was on my way to the tiny island of Diu. The morning light was beautiful and i was so looking forward to spend few days in this charming ex Portuguese colony..!
It can be a bit of an hassle to reach this place, but the reward is a very laid back town, with plenty of little picturesque bars in colonial style, and tax free booze (a blessing when coming from the dry state of Gujarat)!!!