Udaipur - our first stop on the whistle stop tour of Rajasthan. It is an incredibly beautiful city, with its centre piece being a lake within which a former palace (now hotel) is situated. For the Bond fans, this one is for you: Octop**** was filmed here and the locals will not let you forget it! All of the profess to have been part of this momentous occasion in one way or another. Not only that but every cafe/restaurant/eatery in town shows the film without fail every evening! We decided to stay in 'Soni Paying Guest house' run by a very charming elderly couple. I wanted to adopt Mr Soni as a third grandfather! For 2 rooms, 3 beds and a private bathroom we paid less than 1GBP a night. Scandalous really. The guesthouse had a roof top view (as does everything in Udaipur) where you can see the lake.
Main attractions included the City Palace and a short boat cruise around the superb lake. Udaipur is also great for a spot of souvenir shopping, being known for its handicrafts. I therefore couldn't resist buying some jewellery.
Our impending departure -sad but necessary as the show must go on - was brightened by a morning's cooking lesson with Sushma. Am now desperate to have an Indian dinner party (girls - perhaps not quite as boozy as the thai one so people actually eat the food!) when back in Blighty. Sushma taught us how to make Indian Chai, a resident favourite among our trio. It is very sweet made with assam leaves, milk. sugar, cardammon and ginger spices and tastes delicious, especially during the long journeys when fatigue sets in. Further dishes included the omnipresent onion Bhajis, samosas alongside sag aloo (spinach dish - OE I think you like it?) paneer masla (paneer literally translates as 'cottage cheese' but this doesnt do it justice. It really is delicious, a sentiment expressed by many a meat-eater too. Sushma was most helpful in giving us print outs of these recipes so prepare to be wowed back at home by my skill!
Next stop is Mt Abu.