. Arion seems a little quieter now and I'm thinking he is going to change his mind as soon as it's our turn to hop on the elephant. As we get closer to the steps, there are hawkers everywhere trying to sell us souvenirs in every language imaginable, they are getting more clever now and also selling camera accessories in case you need more memory, have a flat battery etc. Our time comes to hop on the elephant and Arion is frightened and has walked away from us, I assure him he will be safe as I will hold him securely, he trusts me and we jump on our elephant named Ranu who is female. As Ranu carrie's all four of us up to the mountain, we can see the long trail of elephant's zig zaging their way to the top. Ranu starts to sneeze as she carries us along and sprays us quite a few times, it amazes the kids but it is accepted. We enjoy the bumpy but peaceful ride up the mountain as we finally reach our destination. This Fort is something special, it's design was ahead of it's time ensuring the Maharaja's had a comfortable environment across the 4 seasons of the harsh climate in Rajasthan. Afterwards, we visit a couple of other interesting sights in the city of Jaipur like the Palace of Winds, City Palace and Solar Observatory, it's almost lunch time and the temperature has heated up, so we go for an early lunch and return the hotel for a brief rest. In the evening for our last night in Jaipur, we try a restaurant just outside the old city recommended by our tour guide Vishnu, they have a live band playing complimented with Rajasthan dancing, which made for a great night. After a fantastic dinner we return to the hotel for a well deserved rest as we prepare for a long drive tomorrow to our next town Agra, the home of Taj Mahal.
The kids jump out of bed with excitement this morning, as we will be heading to Amber Fort in Jaipur. Why are the kids so interested in a 16th century palace situated on top of a very large mountain? The answer is simple, we will be riding on an elephant up the mountain as the Maharaja's once did. The forecast for today is in the mid 30's, so we decide to leave for Amber Fort at 8am when the weather will be more bearable and beat the large crowds that will gather at this popular tourist destination. As our car approaches Amber Fort , there is a large man made lake at the foot hills of the mountain, when we look up we can see two palaces, the main palace is open to the public and was used by the Maharaja, his 12 wives and 300 concubines. The second palace is much higher up and was used by the army to guard and protect Amber fort along a huge brick wall surrounding the area which was never breached. We line up in a queue that leads to steps where we will board the elephants, it looks like a 20 minute wait