We left Delhi on the overnight train to Udaipur.Got to the station far too early so had too hang around.When we got on the train we were treated o a floor show.We were in a 4 berth compartment and had established which our berths were when this Indian couple arrived complete with most of their relatives and about 15 suitcases. They tried to leave them right in front of Fran - she was not having this.
It turned out they had just married and these were all their wedding gifts.The solution was to put them onto one of their berths while they shared the lower one.The husband then got lots of 'advice; from his new bride about how to stack them, what was breakable, what they needed access to during the journey. I gave him a hand lifting some of the cases at which point Fran joined in giving him advice - poor guy I ended up feeling sorry for him. Some things are the same the world over!!
Next morning we got to Udaipur and straight to our hotel - a restored haveli where we have a lakeside room.It's simple but very pleasant and all the plumbing works!Whilst we waited to get into our room we went for breakfast and were met with a breathtaking view over Lake Picola and the Lake Palace hotel.It is Fran's birthday and this got it off to a wonderful start,
In the evening we went for dinner at the Lake Palace hotel (famous as part of Octop**** film).We took a tuktuk to the landing stage which was amazingly palatial - canopies, wicker chairs and a fleet of vintage American cars for the hotel guests,The boat took us to the island where we had diner at an exorbitant price (about 10 times our norm) - but the setting was amazing.We overlooked the lily pound which was lit with candles and oil lamps.Fran couldn't get the grin off her face.
The following day we went sight seeing round the Maraharaja's city palace, a little Haveli and a temple.The finale was a ride on the lake at sunset including a trip to another island palace which was wonderful.Diner was at the hotel on the terrace overlooking the lake - everything was lit up with some fireworks starting (it is the Indian new year Devali on Friday).
The next day we hired a tuktuk to go round the other sites and went up to the Monsoon Palace - his lodge in the hills with great views over the hills and lakes.
The last night in Udaipur gave us an opportunity to see some of the celebrations for Devali (Hindu new year and festival of lights).We went downtown to the main bazaar area where it was highly decorated in lights and garlands with people selling garishly coloured stuff and sweets (the traditional gift).Everybody seemed to be cruising up and down the main drag on motor bikes and scooters - quite often a family of 4 on one bike.
The whole picture put the Christmas lights in Tun Wells to shame.On top of this, there were fireworks going off all the time.The Indian prefer the bang over the 'ahh' factor so there would be a bit of colour then an enormous explosion.Sitting on the rooftop having diner it felt like we were in Baghdad - the explosion echoed around the old town.
Udaipur has been magical - two downsides - there is lots to buy and Fran has started shopping and I hope the other places we go live up to it!