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Amritsar: First Night Gone Wrong

Monsoon rain and floded street in Amritsar, End of July, Penjab, India

Monsoon rain and floded street in Amritsar, End of July, Penjab, India

Luckily Gilles saw the small handwritten sign “bell” on the wall. Our taxi from the airport had dropped us in a rural area at around 04:00 am, in front of a locked iron wrought door. Two young men with tousled hair appeared buttoning up their shirts. So it was only mildly surprising that there was not much greeting. Still it didn’t feel right. The small, extremely hot room added to that feeling. The roaring AC cooled it down soon and a fast WiFi connection lifted our spirits. Yes, it felt good being online at 04:00 am. But the noise of the AC was deafening and the arctic air brushing against our bodies promised a major flu.

In the morning we eagerly marched down to the banquet hall for the breakfast buffet as advertised on their website. The longish buffet table was empty, except for two bicycle helmets. The chairs had bits of torn plastic hanging about them. Such was the ambience where we wolfed down our jam sandwiches. Our debate, whether to leave or stay – although we had booked and paid for three nights – was very brief. Time to go!

Of course we could not walk off into the middle of nowhere, but had to ask the staff for a taxi. They called, but the owner. He inquired what was wrong, which was the last thing we felt like discussing. With still no taxi in sight – they probably never called one – he offered to take us into town for 200 Rupees, for only 6 kilometers. That doesn’t seem far, right? But it took forever – a road chocked with traffic surrounded by honking vehicles. A place you don’t want to be, except when it is raining cats and dogs. And it was! Bike rickshaws were plowing through ankle deep water and vegetable carts that looked like small islands, from bridges running overhead water was gushing down like waterfalls.

We were dropped in front of the Heart City Hotel, where we only wanted to wait out the rain and have a coffee. We ended up staying in their deluxe room for 47 Euro (!), quiet, cozy and only a two minutes walk from the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh. This is exactly where you want to stay in Amritsar.

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