The next morning we checked out and walked,in the style of the tin man (stiff legs), to the next village, Bhagsu. We bought some renowned Bhagsu cake - similar to caramel shortbread, but as Hugo said, the shortcake was the consistency of dried sand. I must also mention the banana muffins from the Tibetan bakery in McLeod Ganj - equally as good as the English version and something we did not expect to find in India! With a few hours to spare before the bus, we went to an Italian restaurant and met our first English tourist! A middle-aged man whose ethos in life was to do as little work as possible, and seemed proud to tell us that he had only done 3 months work this year. He seemed to be having a spiritual mid-life crisis and the was hoping to find a Tibetan tattoo artist that afternoon. We shared stories about being ripped off in Delhi, booking trains, and he recommended some sights in hampi. He also recommended a local bakery so we trundled off to get some cake, where we chanced upon our next lot of English tourists, two girls who were volunteering in a veterinary clinic vaccinating dogs against rabies. We arrived at the bus station early and began looking for our bus. Hopeful that the plush Volvo coach was ours, our hopes were dashed as what can only be described as a tin can on wheels rolled around the corner. We sat down in our seats which had less legroom than a coffin and prepared for our 10 hour journey. The bus stopped about every half an hour, be it for tea, toilet, or no reason whatsoever. They seem to like playing games, such as how many people can you cram on, the hokey cokey getting on and off again, and hide and seek with the driver. Dad Abbott, you have competition for your ralley driving. At one stop, two tyres were changed - they say anything is possible in India, and this is an example. Armed with only a torch on a passenger's camera, a spanner and a giant cranker wrench object, all the men on the bus got out and stood round to watch a man jump on the giant wrench to tighten the metal nuts. Keen not to miss out on the action, Hugo joined in by offering his torch. And back on the road we went. After 12 hours we arrived in manali at 4am, and were offered a room at a hotel by a man at the bus station - turned out to be not 'very clean, good price' but it was too early in the morning to care so we had a lie in till mid day and promptly checked out! We headed to old manali, which was much nicer, and checked in at the backpacker hostel, Drifters Inn, before browsing the shops. Hugo bought a cool top - we were starting to fit in with the hippy crowds! We went for lunch at a chilled bar by the river, and had some trout fingers! The food in himachal is much more western, and we were quite grateful after daal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That evening we ate at the hostel - they had an acoustic night so we chilled and listened. It was weird being somewhere people smoke inside, and not just cigarettes ;). Hugo had the spiciest chicken wings known to man, and I opted for a pizza and brownie. The following we headed to new manali and ate at a very disappointing Chinese, lp you let us down. We experienced the culinary delight of crispy noodles - not to be repeated. After being offered saffron and foot massages by almost every passer-by, even by kids that looked no older than 8, we boarded our 'deluxe' bus for shimla, which by English standards was sub-par, but was luxury compared to the tin can. The conductor looked like an Indian member of dad's army, with his khaki suit and glasses perched on the end of his nose. On our way through the mountains, we experienced the best sky we have ever seen - we saw the milky way! It was one of out best moments of the trip so far. We also saw more apples than we have ever seen before combined - starting with small apple stalls by the roadside, our drive took us past an increasing volume of apples, to the point of sprawling industrial apple wholesalers, who were sorting their apple mountains under glowing tents, and packing them off on big lorries. We were convinced that this was the capital of the global apple market. Arriving into shimla at 5am, we decided to find out own hotel. After trying two hotels and both being closed, we approached a third, along with the pack of stray dogs we reluctantly adopted. Success! A room with mirrors on the ceiling and wooden panelled walls.