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An Alien in Spain - Visits India (Udaipur)

Next morning, the drive down the mountain, was no better than the drive up for Kay, however, the rest of us enjoyed the views across the plains and were happy to once again be able to shed our woolly jumpers as the temperature returned to normal. The drive to Udaipur was a good road and we made reasonable time, however, on arrival we found our accommodation was within the walls of the old city which meant our car was not allowed in so whilst we stopped outside with the driver and luggage, Denise, Kay and June headed off in a tuck tuck to inspect the accommodation I had booked that we had been told would not be suitable for old people with trouble getting up stairs?????

After a while the girls returned with the bad news that they had blown out our hotel but had booked rooms in an hotel also in the old city but better suited to our need.

Two tuck tuck rides later we were ensconced in The Minawa Hotel which, has a rooftop restaurant overlooking the water (with a lift) and good clean rooms at reasonable prices and we all settled down to a roof top meal. After the meal the hotel owner, Deepoo, managed to get us front row seats at the Folk show at Bagger Ki Haveli which was really good however the only drawback was we couldn't take pictures. That night I set about trying to get the plastic I had been reunited with to provide me with some much needed currency but I was again left disappointed and all I could do was send emails in a desperate attempt to get the cards unlocked.

Next day after a bad nights sleep, (do the dogs in this country ever shut up at night)? I was not in the best of moods and so after the Tuck Tuck driver who had been hired to take us around the sights within the old city where our car and driver were not able to go spent an hour outside the city taking us to, first, Sehelian Ki Garden

Then second, to a spice market outside the city and third to a Shipram ( arts and crafts Market) outside the city I finally lost it and in a few spicy words of my own informed him what was going to happen to him if he did not take me back to the hotel immediately as the tour was over. A thirty minute sulk around the lake and we were back at the hotel where I informed the hotel owner we were not amused and would do our own tour on foot within the city after which I thought it best I spent time on my own and set out to visit the City Palace.

The entry fee for foreign visitors is 300 INR and 100 INR for the camera and I spent about three hours looking around so got my money's worth.

After I left the palace I returned to the hotel and busied myself trying to get my cards unlocked which did not prove successful until after a number of emails and a 20 minute mobile call to London. Solvent once again I was happier and we all set off to Ozene Restaurant to enjoy a meal while watching the James Bond (Roger Moore)"Octopussy" Film which was made here in Udaipur and was shown in the restaurant every night.

The third day we had arranged for the car to take us to see a fabulous Fort about 100 Kms away and then to go on to Ranakpur to see one of the famous Jain Temples.

There is a saying I quote quite a lot that says "it is not the destination, but the journey that matters" and this was one of those times that proved oh so true. During the day we travelled through some very pretty countryside, met some interesting people, got some great pictures and eat at some good food stops

When we arrived at the Fort we found that there was a very controversial director who had recently made a film in which he had altered Indian folklore history and the Indian people were up in arms about it - so much so that they were almost rioting at the castle it had been filmed at, that we had travelled to see and all visitors were being turned away for their own safety.

After a moan we did what all good Brits do and stopped to have a cup of tea at a local hotel and refreshed, moved on to Ranakpur and the Jain Temple. So, from the outside, nice temple, locals entry fee 30 INR. - foreigners entry fee 500 INR, Audio Guide 200 INR and IPad Tablet 300 INR - repeat after me " you can stick your ........ temple up your .... !!!!

The girls shared a camera and went in to look around while the guys hung around doing selfies with the locals ( Pictures of temple courtesy of the girls)

So, as our driver said when we got back "250 Kms journey not see anything, Not Good" and with those words of wisdom we decided to take the drivers recommendation for our evening meal which was not sure only an excellent meal but served in an outside courtyard with folk dance entertainment thrown in.

I had in my wisdom left everybody to do their own thing with instructions to be back by 1.30 pm and we would all go off sightseeing together for our last day in Udaipur. After two wives and a long time live in lover you would have thought I would know better than to expect women going to get their hair done to be back on time wouldn't you? So we started late that afternoon but Kay and Denise had very nice hair OK. Nuff said!

First stop the Moti Magri gardens and monument to the most famous of Rajasthans warriors Pratrap and his horse both of whom had served the maharajahs most faithfully and bravely back in the day.

As we left the park we saw the opportunity for a boat ride on one of the lakes but as John and June had ready done one and the girls wanted to go on another lake Jon and I crept off for a 15 minutes round the lake 200INR - Bargain.

For those aficionados of James Bond films - Octopussy (Maud Adams) had a private Island in the lake where only women stayed whilst Khan the villain had the Monsoon Palace perched high on a hill overlooking the lake where Roger Moore was held captive. I mention this because our next destination was the Monsoon Palace which is a favourite locals place to watch the sunset. I think we were all disappointed again at the way the building has been allowed to fall into disrepair which seems to be the fate of all buildings in India and after a up of chai we made our way back to the city.

Whilst Jon, John and June decided to take a break I rushed off to see if I could get tickets for a boat ride on the lake where the Octopussy Island was situated but missed the last tour by 20 minutes. As I was breaking the news to the girls, a young chap I had been speaking to earlier told us it might be possible to get a boat via an hotel on the lake edge. We were in luck and managed to acquire a boat to ourselves for 2,500 INR with cold drinks and a pilot / guide who took us around the lake close to the Island, The Octopussy boat moored full time on the lake and pointed out all the other sights and we managed to get some great pictures even though I had no flash.

Happily we made our way back into the side streets of the old city and bumped firstly into Jon, out on the prowl for food and then were "captured" in a shop by John and June. After a couple of failures to find a suitable restaurant we ended up back at the "Ozene" for a second showing of "Octopussy" this time with Portuguese subtitles and a very enjoyable meal before bedtime and a move next day to a place I know very little about other than it is a midway stop to Ranthambhore and our Tiger Safari named Bundi?

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