Travel Blog by Carol Jackson of Julie & Kishore.
My books are loosely based on my life, that is, my marriage to my Indian born husband and the trials and tribulations we have faced, mostly when we first met.
I have been lucky enough to travel to India twice and I have drawn from my experiences in my books. The second time we were there, we had an amazing trip to Shimla, a hill station which was once a summer holiday destination for British India and is a popular place for honeymooning Indian couples.,/p>
It is this wonderful experience that I thought I would write about in this blog.
After hiring a taxi in Delhi with a driver who arranged to stay with us for the 4 days and 3 nights we were to be in Shimla, we began our 361km, 8 hour journey. We were a little stunned when the first thing he said to us was, “Do you know what a person needs to be a driver in India?” We all said, “No.” His reply was, “A good horn, good brakes and good luck.” This statement did not give me any confidence for our long drive ahead.
My husband, our two teenage children, and our luggage fitted comfortably in the car and our driver headed off into the colossal Delhi traffic. Once we were out of the city, the motorways were fairly clear and the travelling was good. We stopped along the way at various clean and modern cafes for drinks and toilet breaks.
The drivers words about having a good horn, brakes and luck were foremost in my mind as the most hair raising experience of our journey began, this was when we reached the bottom of the mountain and commenced travelling the windy road which leads up to the town of Shimla. With each turn of a corner the driver tooted his horn to announce our presence to other drivers. The sheer drop of the hillside terrified me and the windy bends had me closing my eyes in fear. Sometimes, when a car or worse, a bus was coming the other way the distance between us and the side of the mountain seemed like just inches. Looking out of the window, all that could be seen was the vertical drop below, no barrier was there to separate us or protect us. Higher and higher we climbed, it took three hours to get from the bottom of the mountain to the top.
When we did finally reach Shimla, the air was thinner, cooler and fresher but the view was incredible. We were 2025metres high and the mountainous scenery above us and the valleys below were breathtaking. The density of terraced houses jutting from the hill sides reminded me of Italy. We saw monkeys, some with babies on their backs on the road side and huddled on roof tops
We checked into our pre-booked hotel and the next day were refreshed and ready for another adventure. Our driver was to take us even higher into the mountains about20kms from Shimla to another hill station, Kufri. We stopped at a fruit seller on the roadside along the way and bought half a dozen oranges, which were given to me in a pouch made from newspaper. The vendor warned me to hide the pouch in my bag as the monkeys will try to snatch it out of my hands. I heeded his advice as I saw their watchful, naughty eyes upon me. Setting off again we soon reached a pre-arranged area where our driver told us that he could not go any higher in his car, the next part of the journey must be made by 4 wheel drive. Switching cars, higher into the mountains we ventured, until we stopped at an area to be told that we could go no further and we were to be taken the rest of the way by horse. Sitting astride the animals as they ambled along a dusty dirt track we rode even higher into the mountains until we emerged into a large clearing. A collection of vendors had set up stalls and were making boiling hot tea and cooking in frying pans were dishes of two minute noodles. Tourists were posing for photos while sitting on disgruntled looking yaks.
If we thought the views were amazing in Shimla, the scenery from this height was astonishing. We walked to a cordoned off area where you paid a few coins to look through telescopes at snowcapped peaks, these were the stunning Himalayan mountains, most notably K2. But even without the telescopes the scenery was picture postcard perfect
Julie & Kishore: Take Two –
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Kishore-Take-Carol-Jackson-ebook/dp/B014QQBZN4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26206015-julie-kishore
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/573461
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