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... had lunch of samosas with a light vegetable curry sauce. Very nice. We got caught in the rain when they burst again and had to buy an umbrella to get back to the hotel. Very sociable sundowners with some of our fellow riders. Everyone is getting to know each other now. Seem mostly a good bunch. Dinner had a range of curries which were delicious. Another easy day but a good introduction to the real India, the drivers, the villages and the food. Tomorrow we hit the real hills. Bring it ...
... d guess 11ish, and she just wanted to engage with us and ask us questions about where we were from and how we were enjoying India. At the end of our wonderful conversation in which we found out that she was from further west than Shimla and at an English speaking school, she proclaimed "you are so cute"... I didn't think it was possible to be called cute by someone so cute herself. Great encounter.
We ended the day at at the national art museum, which ...
... stop - the engine had overheated. we had to wait an hour and a half before they managed to connect the replacement engine to the train and get going again. No-one on the train was too bothered as we all piled out onto the tracks and messed around. The other westerners on the train and I posed for numerous photographs with the locals.
Finally arrived in Shimla at about 8.30pm in the midst of a massive downpour so I joined forces with others on ...
There are two routes to the backpacker hangout town of Manali - the direct route north via Kullu, or the circuitous route to the east via Rampur, Recong Peo, Kaza and the Rohtang Pass. For the latter you need an "Inner Line Permit" for part of the route. The Rohtang Pass is still closed at the moment due to a late snowfall and won't open for maybe another two weeks, so I'll have to go to Manali direct - I've booked a bus for tomorrow - but I might decide to do ...
... I've "gone trekking" in the Himalayas. Oh yeah!
The following day we set out to the Institute of Advanced Study, a home originally built for Lord Dufferin, who was Viceroy of India from 1884-88. As Wikipedia says, "many historic decisions have been taken in the building during the Indian independence movement. The Simla Conference was held here in 1945. The decision to carve out Pakistan and East Pakistan from India was also taken here in 1947."