We landed in Mumbai at 11am. The airport was something out of the 70s... it was hot sweaty, and slow. It took us well over an hour to escape from the airport - our bags were the last off the carousel.
After changing our money and booking a pre paid taxi, we stepped out of the airport into the hazey, hot air of Mumbai. Ed had to hit off locals as we climbed into our taxi who wanted money for helping us with our bag. This was an indication of what our entire time in India would be like. The taxi drive took about an hour. We drove through masses of traffic - taxis, cars, buses, motorbikes and bicycles, and a few animals. We drove past slums, mansions, high rise flats, everything... The roads were intense and quick paced and very dangerous. We witnessed a collision with a motorcycle, where two men fell off. Everyone carried on as normal.
It took us a while to locate our hostel, our taxi driver did not give up and with help from the locasl, we eventually found the Travellers Inn. It was a clean but basic room with excellent service from its staff. Once we offloaded our bags and had a nap. we ventured to the local caffe for dinner.
On our first full day in Mumbai, we ventured out on foot, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Mumbai. Men wee in the streets here and women sleep on the shady bits of pavements along with dogs. We spent most of our day in the Colaba area of Mumbai - home of the Taj Mahal Hotel (which suffered terrorist bombings but has since been restored to pristine architectural beauty) and the Gateway of India. Dinner at a local cafe provided us with astounding chicken tikka masala, steamed rice and naan.
Day 2 in Mumbai: We headed straight for the gallery of modern art - a cool, round structure filled with beautiful paintings and sketches from the last 70 years. It was an oasis of calm from the crazy city outside. We then ventured to the Prince of Wales Museum - a grand structure housing lots of religious artefacts and stories of the history of India. That evening, we dined at one of South Mumbai's best restaurants (a ttreat for valentines day). It was truely delicious and we enjoyed a feast of poppadums, curries, pickles, naans and rice. Ed particularly enjoyed pink pickled shallots - i think he ate about 10!!!
We awoke early on day 3 to get our train to Goa. after a difficult and sweaty hunt at 6am for the train station, we climbed onboard and embarked on one of the most epic train journeys of our lives. The views were spectacular and you were able to hang or sit at one one the open doors and watch the villages, lakes, hills roll by. 12 hours went so quickly! A man on the train also made us origami birds and gave Ed a crane for good luck!