Zoe and Ed's Travels
We have decamped to Rajasthan in search of some warmer weather. Well, that's sort of true anyway. We were beginning to get a little restless after nearly 10 very relaxing days in Himachal Pradesh doing very little except eating lovely food. We are now firmly back on the sight-seeing trail, and have been in Jaipur for the last two days. We came here on the sleeper train from a small junction town (read Royston Vasey) called Pathankot, which we came dangerously close to being stranded in for the night after we turned up too late to book a sleeper ticket on the train. However, so horrible was the prospect of having to stay over that we decided to get on the train anyway, with only an ordinary ticket, and faced with the prospect of spending 15 hours overnight on a hard seat. However, when we got on the train it soon became apparent that this would not be the case, as all the seats were taken! In the end, though, we managed to find the conductor and pay for an upgrade to sleeper. Phew! We actually got a pretty good night's sleep, in spite of my being placed next to a group of rowdies! Anyway, back to what we've been doing in Jaipur. The first day we saw the Jantar Mantar which is an ancient observatory all of whose instruments are giant masonry constructions (as seen on Around the World in 80 Treasures, for those of you who watched it). We also climbed to the top of a minaret for views over the city. Today we started off by visiting the City Palace, which is the former home of the Maharaja, and contains a number of museums as well as being a fine building. After that we got a bus to Amber Fort, which is just outside Jaipur, and which is an old fortress and palace on a hill. There were many beautiful buildings and courtyards, as well as painted elephants. To add to the spectacle it was being used as a film set, and there were dancing girls round every corner. We have booked ourselves onto a bus to go to Jodhpur tomorrow morning. The journey is seven hours, which is the longest we'll have done on a bus, but apparently it's a deluxe bus, so it should be OK. Having said that, the word 'deluxe' is used with alarming frequency in India, so we're not holding our breath. We're going to try and make it to Jaisalmer for Christmas - not sure why but it seemed like a good idea!