DAY 33 - RISHIKESH
Our train journey passed with ease and we both managed to get some sleep after the knackering day before. We arrived at Haridwar station at around 7am and caught a bus from the nearby bus stand on to Rishikesh itself. Although pretty enjoyable, the ride was very bumpy and I'd be surprised to learn if the vehicle had any suspension at all - at one point we were thrown a good foot off our seats as we hit a particularly rocky part of the road. Upon arriving at Rishikesh bus stand, we caught a rickshaw over to the main backpacker part of town, an area called Lakshmanjhula, surrounded by steep hills dotted with ashrams and, this being Rishikesh, a whole range of Yoga centres. We set ourselves up in a place called Surya Guesthouse and grabbed some food before strolling the streets running parallel to the Ganges, occasionally passing a temple or shrine amidst the market stalls and shops. I appreciated the calm and quiet feel about the place and we both found it somewhere where we could relax, spending much of our time in cafes playing cards or chess, or simply walking around, exploring its streets or tracing the beachy riverbanks. Our first day was spent much in this fashion and it was during this time that we discovered the Ganges View Restaurant, a nicely decorated riverside chill-out spot in the style of a bamboo hut, which possessed great views over the Ganges and a chess set that we quickly took to. We noticed during this time that the area attracted a lot of middle-aged new-age hippy yoga types (I'm sure you know what I mean), obviously enticed by the city's natural beauty, relaxed vibes and reputation as the home of yoga in India. After a full day resting and recuperating after the hectic day before, we made our way to bed after a late evening meal and slept right through until morning.
DAY 34 - RISHIKESH
Our second day was spent much like the one before, although we decided to venture out a bit more, to get a greater sense of the town. After a leisurely breakfast and a small lunch, we went for a walk which took us over the river and down to its rocky banks, over its boulders and across its grassy patches and sands, eventually leading us to a point where we could observe most of the city and the ashrams located on the towering hills on either side. After enjoying the sun for a while on a beachy bank, we slowly made our way back to our hostel, before venturing out once more to watch the sun set over the horizon, casting a warm glow over the boats that floated gently down the river below. It was these sleepy hours, when the day's activity was fading away, when the yoga centres were closing and tired individuals filtered into restaurants and cafes overlooking the river, that I enjoyed the most, basking in the peaceful atmosphere of evening. I should also note that this was the day that, upon looking for an AC adapter for our speakers, we came across the 'Unbreakable Parasonic AC Adopter', a source of much hilarity at the time and thereafter. We ended up purchasing it and surprisingly it worked fine for a while, although it unfortunately broke its promise the following day and died on us. Upon returning it, we decided to get some batteries instead - much more reliable we reasoned. When the evening was past, we retired to bed after purchasing a couple of essentials from a very eccentric shopkeeper who would inexplicably burst into fits of laughter at the most menial of things, glad that we had been allowed another day to relax, keeping up the trend that we had set in the Himalayas and will no doubt try to carry through to the rest of our trip.