The car smelt of incense, a smell I love. Pradeep performs his morning religious puja in the car. He greeted us with his usual smile as he helped to load our luggage into the car. Soon we were driving off making our way to Shimla, India’s honeymoon capital. Shimla was also the summer capital of the British raj and many of the buildings look like they would be more at home in England. While Shimla is only 145km from Mandi, due to the road condition, it took us about 5 hours to get there.
We stayed at Clark’s Hotel which is located on the Mall. The Mall is a road which runs along the ridge of the mountain and is closed to all motorised traffic. After a wonderful shower, we decided to head out and get some lunch.
Newly wed couples were strolling along, eating ice cream while families were enjoying the afternoon sunshine. We passed some very British looking buildings enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. We were walking when I felt something bump my leg. I turned around to find a baby monkey jumped on me. He quickly jumped back onto the fence. You have to look out for the monkeys in Shimla (and most other cities), as they’re quite sneaky and good at stealing food, cameras and pretty much anything they can get their hands on. We got stopped by a local taking his dog for a walk. He was interested in where we were from and hoped we enjoy our stay. Once again, I just love how friendly the people in India are.
We had a nice lunch and made our way back to the hotel. We decided to make the most of our luxurious accommodation and later that afternoon made our way to the bar where we had a drink and watched the storm coming in. Dinner was absolutely delicious and we got to enjoy a really good night’s sleep.
We had an early breakfast and said goodbye to the friendly staff at Clark’s in Shimla. Once again Pradeep was waiting for us, smiling as usual. We set off on the twisting roads, descending back towards the plains. I was feeling a bit off but figured it must be all the twists and turns making me car sick.
As we got closer to the plains we stopped for some petrol as they were striking in the next state and we weren’t sure if we would be able to fill up there. We seemed to attract quite a lot of attention; I don’t think many tourists go that way.
Soon we were back on our way heading for Dehradun. We were just spending the night there on our way to Rishikesh. As we entered the city we spotted about 100 army guys cycling. Pradeep told us they first get bicycles, and once they’ve mastered that, they move up to motorbikes, cars and so forth. It was quite a sight to see these tough looking guys all cycling across the road.
We arrived at our hotel late that afternoon and I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Our room was tiny, dirty and had absolutely no airflow. After a dismal late lunch we retreated to watch some daily dose of Bollywood. By dinner time I wasn’t feeling too well so we got room service. All I could manage was 2 bites of briyani before I had to make a run for the bathroom. Yep, whatever bug I picked up was still apparently thriving in my stomach. I spent the rest of the night hugging the bucket next to the bed. I tried some of the medicine we still had but couldn’t keep them down long enough for them to start working.
After a sleepless night we left as soon as we could and decided to forgo our complimentary breakfast. Pradeep seemed worried that I was still not well and we stopped yet again at another pharmacy and Hubby got me my second course of antibiotics for the holiday. We drove through beautiful forests and soon saw a glimpse of the mighty Ganga. As I wasn’t feeling well we headed straight to our next guest house hoping it was better than the place we slept last night.