We arrived from another sleepless night on an overnight bus near the end of our travels. India had exhausted us and we secretly needed a break. We arrived to a piece of Europe in the heart of India, society as we knew it, familiarity, street names written in French and architecture that would look more comfortable in Italy.
Pondicherry was a little hint of home just when we needed it the most. The streets were all in order, maps were easy to follow, things were where our travel guides said they would be, no one seemed after tips. We spend what was probably not long enough in a familiar place we had never seen before. We shopped in an huge second hand book shop filled with titles we could read and recognise. We browsed in a Levi store just to check it was real and walked through a park that could have been in a suburb of London.
Of course the novelty wore of soon enough after a few croissants and before long we were hunting down the local Indian shacks with the best food and spices we were now familiar with. Finding our way to the nearest temple to remind ourselves we were in a far off land and not in a country where the euro was common place.
And then like the dream we felt it was, we were back on another night bus off to our next destination and back to the madness, noise and chaos that we had got used to and the sights and smells that will forever remind us of the adventure.
And just like that, we had travelled back to the real India.