Thought of the day

To respond to violence with violence is to darken a sky already devoid of stars.

The Pink City Jaipur (AKA the slightly black, grimy city!!)

So we finally arrive in Jaipur,  I am eager to spot the Palace of the Winds and visit the Amer fort, but the weather has turned against us again!Thick fog rolls in and dismal greyness descends. Plus a local dignatory has passed away meaning pretty much every where is closed!

But later on it gets brighter and we visit the city palace complete with its beautiful ornate Peacock gate.

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Here’s the guard outside another ornate one.
There’s yet more pics of food too!

Pushkar, colourful camels and the pink City Jaipur

So we rolled onwards to Jaipur via Pushkar, home of the legendary camel fairs and Ajmer. No fair on in Pushkar sadly when we were there, but we still spotted a few brightly coloured specimens!!!

Pushkar means Blue Lotus in Sanskrit and is a sacred town for Hindus, situated 11 kms to the North-West of Ajmer.

Hindus believe that the gods released a swan with a lotus in its beak and let it fall on earth where Brahma would perform a grand yagna.The place where the lotus fell was called Pushkar.

Delicate blue temples line the hillsides down the the ghats where devotees bathe, watched by the cheeky monkeys that line the streets and swing from every house.

Cheeky monky!!
There are also fantastic, colourful markets to be seen (you may have spotted a favourite photographic theme of mine – piles of produce!!)

After getting snap happy with the food we were off again – Jaipur here we come!!!

The Blue City Jodphur, via Ranakpur

On route to Jodphur we visited Ranakpur, an ornately carved Jain temple. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same.

Then onwards we trundled, me, Neil and our ever cheerful driver. Towards Jodphur the blue city and the epic Mehrangarh Fort that overlooks the city.

The fort is situated 400 feet (122 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Here’s the view of the city sprawling below.

In the centre of Jodphur is the Clock Tower and Sardar Market. A bustling, polluted, frenetic place full of sprawling alleyways and market stalls piled high with every possible item.

Flattening yourself against the wall in order to avoid being run over by tuc tucs is inevitable, being curiously stared at by shoppers is another.

Neil braved the mobile crisp cart, where the seller digs his scoop into a mountain of crisps, pops them in newspaper and shakes some spices over them. Here he is serving them up!

Here’s just a taste of the colours and sights of the markets. They really are a must to get a real flavour of the way people go about their everyday lives. It’s noisy and very polluted though, I got a chest infection while here, not very nice!!

While in Jodhpur we spent New Years day on a trek into the Thar desert. Here we met members of the Bishnoi tribe, visited a pottery yard and spent time with a local family. Here’s some of the adorable kids at the potters yard.

Here’s one of the tribal elders taking his camels out for the day!

All in all another fantastic experience, but time moves onward and we had to be off to our next destination Jaipur via Pushkar/Ajmer!!!

India – Cross country car journey and beautiful Udiapur

So off we headed on the epic car journey from Delhi to Udiapur, stopping overnight in Jaipur where we would return to later.

We finally arrived, 26 hours later, just in time for sunset over the lake City of Udiapur.

Throwing our stuff into our gorgeous room at the Hibiscus guest house ( a stones throw from the beautiful lake views of the city palace and magnificent lake palace) we headed out to take some snaps of the setting sun.

It truly is an incredible place. Bustling, compact, crazy. We only wished we could stay longer. As the sun shed its last glowing golden light over the serene city place we could relax for the first time!!!

Udiapur is full of the most amazing art work covering every wall, while sacred cows meander the streets and ancient motorbikes lean against every building.

Here I am with the lake palace in the distance and some nosy locals checking us out!! Even though the journey to get here was hair raising, full of honking horns, thick fog and horrific roadworks, it was worth every minute.

We have the most AMAZING peanut curry on the roof of our lovely accommodation, lazing in cushion filled paradise – absolutely stunning, we had the most amazing stay.

The second day started off with a whistle stop tour of the gorgeous Jain temple in the town centre and a browse around the ornate lake palace before back in the car and on route to Jodphur, the blue city!!!

Incredible India – Delhi continued

Here’s even more colourful market traders in Old Delhi

Carrying on our second day in Dehli we headed to India Gate, the memorial which commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the British Raj in World War 1.

Clustered around the monument were people selling all sorts of things from flutes to ice creams, hot nuts to fluffy pom poms!

I loved the battered old tuc tucs they used as ice cream vans!

Check out the soles of my feet caked with the Delhi mud! Rather gross.

We were now meant to continue our journey across Rajasthan via an over night train to Udiapur taking 12 hours.

Alas this was not to be due to ongoing protests. People had ripped up train lines and were sleeping on the railway tracks. So became the epic 26 hour car journey cross country. . . .

Incredible India – Delhi

While I am on the topic of travel, I was fortunate enough to do some travelling in India earlier this year.

For my first ever experience of this country I decided to set us a punishing itinerary covering a huge swathe of Rajasthan then dipping into Kerela.

Flying into Delhi in December, we were head first into one of the wettest, coldest months they’d had for a few years – typical!

So with rain macks donned we were shown the frentic sights of  Delhi courtesy of a tour arranged by Delhi Magic – a fantastic company who I can’t recommend enough.

From the serene yet damp surroundings of Humayans Tomb to the packed streets of Old Delhi, we were literally head first into a maze of colours, smells and sensations that were completely bewildering, frustrating at times but always incredible.

Rickety transport!!

Tasty food at Pindis!

On our second day our assured little guide took us on the metro, whizzed us round temples and mosques. We encountered lots of interesting characters including this gentleman taking it easy!

Then we ordered  our first ever proper Indian Thali at Haldiram’s in Delhi. Very tasty!! (Apart from the dessert which was so perfumed it was like eating toilet cleaner!! – Not to my taste)

Next up were the amazing markets, full of hustle and bustle, food and socialising, take a look at some of the street food – fab!

Italian break coming soon

So having very nearly successfully completed on the sale of my lil house I am looking forward to a culture packed break in one of my favourite countries – Italy.

Flying into Pisa to do the obligatory tourist shot of the tower then heading off for the delights of the Cinque Terre for fours days before checking out Florence.

Here’s Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre where we’ll be staying for a few days and having some days hiking!!!!

I love Italy, already seen Rome and Venice, both of which are stunningly beautiful in their own different ways.

Rome is just jam packed full of art, architecture and pizza while Venice gradually and glamorously decays away in regal splendour.

Can’t wait to see how this holiday stacks up in comparison. 🙂