Beanies and bonfires in Shimla

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As much as I enjoyed the craziness, chaos and colour of Delhi, it was nice to leave the city behind and head for the hills.

On Monday afternoon I met my Intrepid guide and travelling companions at our hotel in Delhi. There are 3 other women in the group and our guide, Uttam (a guy). The other women are all lovely, as is Uttam, and we’re getting along really well, having a lot of laughs.

Monday afternoon we explored Old Delhi. I’d already spent some time exploring there, however I hadn’t been to the Spice Market – wow, that was a feast for the senses! Especially the sense of smell! The aroma of the spices was overwhelming, and almost everyone there (not just the tourists) were sneezing, coughing and spluttering. I refrained from buying a gigantic sack of red chillies, but I did take lots of photos.

Tuesday morning we caught the train across Punjab state (which was lovely and green with fields of wheat) to Kalka, where we caught the narrow gauge “toy train” to Shimla. We arrived in beautiful Shimla Tuesday afternoon, after 5 hours on the train. The train was lots of fun – we had a lot of laughs with the other passengers, ate lots of snacks, drank lots of chai and took HEAPS of photos – the scenery was stunning.

Shimla is a tourist resort/retreat, and a popular honeymoon spot, but it’s not particularly touristy. At 2076 metres, the air is thin and in the afternoon and at night it’s cold. Last night we sat around a bonfire on the roof of our hotel and I had an opportunity to wear my Pies scarf 🙂 It’s nice to actually feel cold and breathe in the fresh mountain air after Delhi.

Last night and today we’ve spent time strolling along the mall, which is located on the ridge, with spectacular views. It’s closed to cars and very popular for strolling and meeting up with people and shopping.

We also went for a long walk to the Vice Regal lodge, which looked a bit like Hogwarts! Along the way we passed a government building and the army barracks, where there were lots of handsome police and army officers in their spunky uniforms 😉 We said hello but refrained from asking to have our photos taken with them 🙂 lol

Up early tomorrow and by car to Mandi, then on to Dharamsala. Not sure what the internet access is going to be like, but hopefully I’ll be able to get on the net in Dharamsala. Photos are still taking too long to upload. Phone reception is a bit flaky too – my home mobile number isn’t working at the moment, and the Indian number is a bit on and off.

Off now to have a quick look at a market, then it’ll be time for drinks on the rooftop by the bonfire – we sampled some Indian red wines last night and decided to do the same tonight.

Snowy peaks

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