India has always been a dream for me, since I was little, but when the first yapers came to Italy last year I began dreaming constantly about me visiting the country and learning the amazing and unique culture it has. I didn’t really know what to expect, as it seemed a total different world (and actually is), but it ended up being better than I could have ever imagined. In every city we met special people that made us feel home and treated us like members of their families, always making sure that we were feeling good and having fun. They accompanied us everywhere, making even train trips fun!
We landed on the 5th of July in Bangalore, one of the biggest cities we’ve been to, and as first impact was kind of shocking seeing the thousands of people and the crazy Indian traffic. The first day every yaper was very tired, but we went visiting the city, had tea on a rooftop and at night we went to a pub and watched the final of the football world championship, understanding that the whole tour would have been so much fun! In Bangalore we also visited a temple, a soap and a whiskey factory, a traditional dance school and a village. One of the best things of the trip was seeing again some of the yappers we’ve hosted in Italy and meeting their families: Michelle, for example, made it to have dinner with us, even if she was really far, and it was amazing to see her again.
The second stop was Mysore: the welcome was again very warm as we’ve been given the typical headgear. Here we visited the amazing palace, made an open-jeep tour, visited a Tibetan monastery and listened to monk explaining us everything about their lifestyle and traditions, went to an incredible street market where we had to beg with the sellers and went to the famous zoo.
The third stop was Coimbatore, where we were welcome with a giant poster with all of our names and countries, which made us feel very important. Here we went to Shiva’s temple, where we experienced the tradition of yoga and meditation, and where we also saw the giant and impressive head of the God himself.
In Kerala, where we were guided by the incredible Isaac, I’ve been amazed by the breath-taking nature: rivers and green everywhere! We first went to Choci, which we visited and where we saw the kathakali dance, and then, on the way to Kottayam, we stopped at a resort where we saw the Indian ocean for the first time. Here I stayed at Rehina’s, who I’ve hosted in Italy during her YAP tour: it was very nice to meet her family and see her again. In Kottayam we climbed and rode an elephant, which I found one of the best and most unique experiences (even if we’ve had some stability problems!) and went to a house boat to relax and enjoy the view with all our new Indian friends.
Next stop Salem, reached with a night train: we visited a clothing factory, had yoga and dance lessons, played laser tag (which was super fun), visited a coffee plantation and a boarding school. On the 28th we reached Vellore, where we visited the stunning Golden temple, the fort with a church, a mosque and a temple and saw a Bollywood movie.
The following city was Chennai, where we visited a church and a temple, went to a traditional farm where we collected and planted rice and were explained about their farming philosophy, to a crocodile zoo, to a village and to the ocean one again.
The last stop was Hyderabad, reached by plane, and to me it was one of the most fun cities. We visited DQ entertainment, which was very interesting, went to a trampoline place where we had so much fun, had to decide between the mall and a traditional village (which I chose) and visited the enchanting Taj Falaknuma Palace. Our last night was also magical: we had a biryani cooking lesson and had dinner in a rooftop watching the stars and we all got very emotional, and when at home we had a very special karaoke moment with tour hosts Raul, Pooja and Megha. We all left on the 5th, some in the morning and some at night, but I definitely would have stayed longer!
Is hard to put in words the experience we made and I feel really lucky for all the friends I’ve made and the experiences we lived.
Lastly, I would like to thank all the hosts and everyone who was involved with our trip, you made a dream come true!
Denise van Loon
Download the full report with more Pictures: RECENSIONE INDIA pdf