May 8, 2016
Overnight Sleeper Train
We accidentally booked 2 waitlist tickets for our overnight train from Varanasi to Agra. We didn't discover this until we were already at the platform and ready to step onto the train. What good ate waitlist tickets anyways? We asked an official there and we were told that they are complete wastes of money and time and Indians shouldn't even bother with them.
We were lucky enough to get special treatment at the 'Foreign Train Booking' facility inside the train station. We booked a train for the same time the following day. We just had 1 more day to in Varanasi. We didn't go into town and found a very nice hotel with A/C to relax for the next 24 hours.
We took a 13-hr train to Agra. We booked sleeper class, which is the lowest possible class for an overnight train. It's a third the cost of A/c third-tier, which is the next tier up. I was a bit worried about taking a non air-conditioned train in the 90-100 degree heat while sharing a cubby with 6 people. However, I was surprised to find that the three fans in our section proved ample in keeping the cabin fairly cool. I was still sweating throughout the night, but it wasn't too bad.
The open cabin of people had 3 bunks on each side. Sylvie took the middle bunk and I the bottom. The other 4 people in our cabin were non-Indian tourists. We talked with the Chilean couple for several hours before bed.
Arriving in Agra
We had a little hiccup with our hotel since they were expecting us a day earlier and they refused to admit that they had agreed to shift our reservation 1 day. The day is a hot one and we got to the Taj Mahal around 8:30am. Even though it was fairly early there were still plenty of visitors already inside.
It is a nice building. I've already seen it but it was Sylvie's first time. She enjoyed it but both of us had had enough after 40 minutes.
It was very large, we were in and out in 30 minutes.
Tomorrow we take a train to Delhi, where we'll be for 3 or 4 nights.