I want to see mountains again, mountains Gandalf!
And mountains I definitely see here in Shimla. What a beautiful area this is! It was quite a journey to get here so let’s just start from where I stopped last time.
After spending a couple of days on the back of a camel I returned to Jodhpur where I stayed again a long time, almost 3 weeks! After those 3 weeks I took a ‘week off’ and looked around in some other places in Rajasthan. I first took the nightbus to Udaipur, which is a story on its own. Imran, friend and ‘manager’ of the guesthouse in Jodhpur brought me on his scooter to the bus stop. When we got there, there was no bus. Apparently the bus had already left, or it departed from a different spot. It didn’t matter, we had to go in pursuit of the bus! So after 15 minutes of driving including some parts on the highway we found the bus and I wasn’t ‘forced’ to stay any longer in Jodhpur.
Udaipur is a very nice city and the views are amazing. I wish I had spend some more time there. During the breakfast of my supposedly last day in Udaipur I met a guy from Equador who told me he and someone else were going to Kumbalgarh fort in half an hour and asked whether I wanted to join. Since I very much wanted to see that fortress I of course said yes, finished my breakfast quickly and unpacked my bag again.
After Udaipur I took a government express bus to Chittaurgarh. Chittaurgarh is also known for having a huge fort which was for me reason enough to go there. To my surprise I didn’t see any foreigners at all in the city, the fort or in the hotel I was staying. When I asked the staff at the hotel whether they have foreigners here more often, the answer was a no. I was apparently quite an exceptional case there. The fort was huge, and you especially realize that if you decide to go around it entirely on foot. I sure slept good that night.
Besides the fortress Chittaurgarh didn’t really seem like a pleasant city to stay in so the next morning I went straight to Bundi. Contrary to Chittaurgarh Bundi is quite a popular tourist destination, I think mainly due to the stepwells that can be found there. The town was as blue as Jodhpur, the stepwells looked pretty and the fort with palace was quite nice to see despite, or maybe actually due to the fact, that they let it fall to ruins. Apart from those things the town wasn’t special at all. Well, actually, maybe for one thing, which was the smell. As they have open sewers in Bundi, there was quite a bad stench. Nevertheless I had a good time there, I think mainly due to the people I met there. One interesting thing I learned, apparently New Zealanders call themselvese Kiwis.
Back in Jodhpur I had already booked a train ticket from Ajmer to Chandigarh. At the guesthouse someone told me about another route which indeed was way better. Unfortunately I was a bit too late for the normal tickets so I tried booking last-minute tickets, in which I was partly successful. It basically came down to that I had to wait for half a day in Delhi, which I hadn’t really planned. This however wasn’t bad as all as I was able to meet up with friends there again which was really nice.
That evening I continued my journey from Delhi to Kalka. Just before the train departed I noticed that, completely to my surprise, my ticket for Kalka to Shimla the next morning was confirmed. So, I took the night train to Kalka, where I arrived early in the morning. The train station was quite small and boring and the wait for the afternoon train to Shimla felt like forever. However, that waiting was worth it because the views from the Kalka to Shimla train were impressive. Unfortunately I was sitting at the wrong side off the train, and unfortunately there is trash along the rail seriously every meter you pass. But that couldn’t spoil the fact that it still was a nice train ride.
So, I am now here in Shimla, and like I said it is beautiful here. It is also quite chilly compared to Rajasthan, especially when they have no heaters inside. So I am glad it is getting warmer now. A thing that is not so nice about Shimla is the monkeys here. One of them jumped in my neck and ran of with my glasses as I was walking up a hill. I was glad I was able to get new glasses the same day. It’s relatively quiet here in Shimla and at the hotel, with few people around. This has its pros and cons. One pro at least is that I can work well on my thesis or project here. Quite funny, just as I am typing this, the first foreign tourist I’ve seen at this hotel is arriving