Relaxed-pace India with Worldview

By Doreen K. Hornback
This item appears on page 30 of the April 2014 issue.

If your “get up and go” got up and went, travel still can be wonderful. My husband, John, and I are in our 80s and kind of slow, but we still haven’t seen everything. We would slow down a tour group, and we need extra time in the morning to get ready, so we have taken to traveling on private tours. 

We traveled through India, Jan. 6-27, 2013, with arrangements made by Nino Mohan, owner of Worldview Tours (US office in Newport Beach, CA; 800/373-0388). We spent two weeks in the Golden Triangle and one week in Cochin (Kochi) and the backwaters of Kerala.

The cost of our custom tour, $6,300 each, included two internal flights, two train trips and four days on a houseboat. International air was not included, nor were lunches and dinners except on the houseboat. It was a bargain, as far as I was concerned. 

We flew from San Francisco to New Delhi on China Air, with one stop in Taipei. China Air had the cheapest business-class airfare we could find. Returning home eastward involved two connecting flights and two layovers, taking much more time than it did heading west.

Upon our arrival in New Delhi, a greeter had our name on a sign, and from then on we had a driver and/or guide at our disposal all day every day in each location. The guides were wonderful. I could have never made it without their strong hands safely taking me up and down all those narrow, steep stairs (never a handrail) in all those palaces, forts and temples. 

By far, the most wonderful person on this trip was Ramesh, our driver for the first two weeks, in the North. He helped us more than anyone has on any of our trips. When we flew or took a train, Ramesh took our bags in his car. A greeter would meet us, and Ramesh would later meet us at our hotel.

All of our hotels were beyond luxurious. At our first hotel, John and I had a local beer and split an hors d’oeuvre; the bill was $45. So from then on we asked Ramesh to take us somewhere with air-conditioning and where the food was safe, not too spicy and reasonably priced. He knew just what we wanted. 

Each day after sightseeing, I was tired but not ready to go back to the hotel, so I would ask to go out to the country to see everyday life. We had tea with farm families, played with their children and babies and left them presents. We sat by lakes and rivers and watched so many things, including a festival being set up and people washing clothes in the river. 

One time we sat at the outdoor tea stand of a couple who had three boys, ages four, five and six. Whenever a customer came, one of the boys would take a clove of ginger and smash it for the tea.

The boys chased each other around, then played with a plastic grocery bag like a kite until it fell apart. The 4-year-old took the last scrap and put it in his back pocket. John gave each of the boys a page of stickers of puppies, kittens and horses. They looked at them for a long time, then the two older boys put the stickers up on the counter, while the little one put his in his back pocket. 

One day Ramesh just took us off on a dirt road to a beautiful spot. He brought out cookies and a thermos of tea and we sat on rocks all alone, soaking up the beauty.

One week into the trip, I realized I was missing an earring. Ramesh checked his car, then called a restaurant we had eaten at and contacted that day’s guide. After we flew to Cochin, Ramesh located the earring and had it couriered to our hotel!

We were completely taken care of, so much so that I didn’t even keep track of what day it was. I would love to hear more from ITN readers about trips for people like us.  


Los Altos, CA