Star of stage and screen, Claire Sweeney swapped the limelight for a two-week solo adventure through India with Just You.
Varanasi was without doubt the highlight of my Just You India adventure, it was the most spiritual and cultural experience that I have ever had, it was so organic, it just happened before your eyes.
My two-week, Spirit of India tour with Just You, began in Delhi, a city that is a real assault on your senses, the noise, the smells, the colours, the hilarious rickshaw ride, within minutes of arriving I was immersed in India.
This was the first time that I had been on holiday with a group of solo travellers, it was a real eclectic mix, with ages ranging from 30s to 80s, I could not wait to hear everyone’s stories about why they were travelling to India and where they had been in the past. Everyone’s reason was different as I found out, some were divorced, widowed, their partner did not want to travel and some like me, single and looking for an adventure. The one thing that we all had in common was our love of travel and seeking out new cultures and destinations.
After Delhi we moved on to Jaipur, home to the magnificent Amber Fort, and while we were in Jaipur we were hosted at the 17th century Sankotra Haveli. This picturesque family home was straight out of the ‘Real Marigold Hotel’, it was a truly magnificent experience, stepping into someone’s home, learning its history and being made to feel so welcome, you did not feel like a guest, you were almost part of the family, plus the traditional lunch was so delicious.
Ranthambore, considered to be India’s best game reserve, was a real highlight for the whole group. As we headed out on our safari, there was such anticipation and excitement, all of us wondering if we were going to get a glimpse of the elusive tiger. Then suddenly it happened, our driver spotted one, she came out on the road and was so close, she had no fear of us. It was thrilling, just one of those once in a lifetime moment. To see a tiger in its own habitat, walking freely was incredible, we all shared in a huge feeling of euphoria, and took quite a while to calm down.
Of course, the Taj Mahal was breathtaking, it was well-worth the early morning alarm call, the sight of this wonderous mausoleum surpassed everyone’s expectations, it was a real honour to be able to share that moment with the group.
Towards the end of the trip we arrived in the holy city of Varanasi. On our first night we watched over 2000 people praying in unison on the banks of the River Ganges, words aren’t enough to describe it, it was so emotional. The next morning, we sat in a boat on the river watching groups of children practising yoga as the sun rose, it was a very special moment.
It was a trip filled with memories and being able to share those moments with the group of like-minded people made it even more memorable.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Just You for single travellers.