Having not got to bed until after midnight, and being woken up at 2.30am getting eaten alive by something in our bed (?bedbugs or fleas) with tiny bites all over my legs and arms…..the two Phenergan I had let me sleep in. Vince and I woke up at 12.25pm! I quickly dressed and went down to explain to our travelling companions, Claire and Emiel, who had been up and about for a while and already had breakfast. They said they planned to give us until 1.00pm and would then have come to check we were still alive!
It only took a few minutes for us to pack the bike and be on the road again. We paid the owner his 1200 INR for the room (with no shower/towels) and the 220 INR for dinner last night, he tried to encourage us to stay but our minds were made up from the moment we arrived last night. The loose plan now was to travel to Shimla itself, try to find a cafe with wifi, to have breakfast…..I was starving…..and check out alternative accommodation.
It was pouring with rain and the roads back up the hill were treacherous, the broken surface just mud slide in areas…..Vince had to use all his concentration to keep us upright…..but he got us to the top without incident. We made our way into Shimla dodging the local traffic, animals (mostly cows who have free rein here in India) and people. We were both soaked to the skin as we had sent our wet weather gear home from Austria. Shimla is a strange and colourful place that is set into the hillside…..you have to take two lifts to get up to the various streets, and one street in particular, Mall Road, where the eating places are. So the vehicles had to be parked at the bottom and we walked a short distance uphill to the lift station where we parted with our 10INR each for one way tickets up.
We found a nice cafe… but no wifi. We had a bit of a wait for a table as the cafe was very popular…..always a good sign….and had a lovely “Lunch”. Reluctantly we left the warmth of the cafe to return to pouring rain outdoors and made our way back down the lifts to the vehicles. With no way to search for accommodation, Vince and I were not keen to keep wandering the wet, narrow, busy roads in the rain so we decided to backtrack along the road we had just come to the Cedar Grand Hotel and Spa… which we had spotted on the way in. Although expensive (5250INR per night), it provided sanctuary on this otherwise miserable day and allowed us to get a good hot shower which was desperately needed. Claire and I had a massage at the day spa (3800INR for both of us) and it was just what the doctor ordered after the hellish place last night…..we felt somewhat human again. Whilst us girls had a much needed pamper the boys had showers and went to the bar….where we met them later. Dinner was in the hotel restaurant and an early night was in order for us all……it was like being in another world!