Solo Female Train Travel in India: My 40 Hour Journey From Goa to Delhi #1

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Belapur. One of the stations on the Goa to Delhi route

 

I needed to get to Delhi from Goa for my onward trip further North to Rishidwar for my stay in Aurovalley Ashram and I decided to take the train to get there! Yeah, I could’ve caught a flight, but where’s the fun in that?

I was full of mixed emotions when I made the decision to leave Goa. I was very reluctant to leave the secure and friendly comfort of my beloved friends who have, over the past thirteen years, become my family. The familiarity of my community, Monica’s cooking, playing with the kids, cosying up in my ‘room in the trees’ and just chilling and gossiping with my ‘sisters’ was going to be hard to pull myself away from. You can read all about why I love Goa so much HERE.

But at the same time though, I was super excited to get going, to move forward into my adventure. I knew it was time to leave.

Indian train travel is something that has been on my bucket list for a very long time and after the first disastrous attempt, many years ago, with all my children and when I was so naive and knew zilch about travelling in India, I have been dreaming of the day I could get going with it again.

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A fantastic read and highly recommended!

 

I had recently read a book by Monisha Rajesh titled Around India in 80 Trains. It’s a humorous and informative account of her travels for three months across the length and breadth of India with her friend, by train only! 80 of them! The book inspired me no end. You can check it out HERE.

 

So, after some big hugs and a few tears, I said farewell to my lovely Goan family and me and my backpack went on our way to Madgaon Station, the main station for Goa situated in Margao, South Goa. I’d already booked my 2AC ticket about a week before so I was all set and I knew as soon as I arrived at the station that I was in for an adventure. I was very excited! And hungry.

Madgaon Station.

It’s clean, well organised and when I was there, not too busy.  There are plenty of places to grab some snacks and a large restaurant where I had time to eat.

A bottle of water, chickpea curry and two parathas cost me 80 rupees. That’s around £1 UK.

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Very spicy & completely delicious station food!

The train stations in India can get exceptionally crowded as in, ‘no room to move an inch’,  and the trains can also be extremely long! ( The longest one I ever counted whilst waiting on my scooter at Margao train crossing some years back now, had no less than forty-four carriages!) That’s crazy right! But, I guess they travel vast distances transporting thousands of people on each route, so they have to be large! Anyway, they have a great system running which organises things brilliantly.  A new post about how to navigate your way around finding and boarding your Indian train will be written soon! In the meantime, check THIS POST out from Trip Savvy to help you on your way. 🙂

My carriage was due to stop fairly far away from the main area of the station and it was raining pretty hard so I had to make a dash for it to the undercover bench area where I received lots of stares from, well, everyone! Whats new??!! Check out my post about how I deal with those Indian stares!

Bye Bye Goa!

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Finding my seat was super easy because every seat is numbered. I shared my carriage with a woman on the lower bunk opposite me and her husband on the lower bunk by the other window. They were both asleep, the large man snoring heavily but the woman woke up as I took care to chain my pack to the underside of the bunk. She just couldn’t take her eyes away from every move I made! I smiled and she gave me a shy smile in return, never once taking her eyes from me.

As I made myself comfortable on my bunk, I took care to keep my ‘essentials’ bag tucked closely behind my pillow. There are some items I’m not prepared to risk loosing.

The sleeping man awoke briefly and turned to engage in a short discussion with his beautiful wife on the seat opposite me before turning back around and resuming his snoring. She sat up and stared at the back of her husband. She stared long and hard, and not with affection. I watched her whilst she watched him. I think she hated him. Her face told a story of such idignation and bitterness.

As I settled down beneath my blanket and leaned back against my pillow with my book, I wondered what her life was like……..what her story was….

……soon, the rhythmic rocking of the train had sent me to sleep…..

 

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