Day 1 ,May 3rd – Flight to Chandigarh from Bangalore
After waiting for 4 months having registered for the expedition, convincing our managers to let us off with 15 days leave and listening to parent’s instructions on safety, health and food the previous day night, we finally were all set to board the flight to Chandigarh from Bangalore. It was all excitement at that moment. So here’s the group
- Madhuri (She already had reached Manali and was part of a 5 days cycling expedition)
Some of these guys are my closest friends. We’ve been travelling for 5 years now from my undergraduate days.
It was first time travelling in a flight for all of us except Achyut. Infact it was first time travelling north for most of us. The journey lasted for almost 4 hours with a long stop in Delhi. When we picked up our ruck sacks and walked out of the airport we were approached by Taxi drivers from all side. They demanded big cash for 13 Km ride to “Sector 42”. Advised by one of the security guy we took a Volvo bus to “Sector 42” by paying 18 bucks each.
With none of us knowing to speak Hindi fluently, we had some difficulties communicating to ticket conductor our destination and eventually had to use our fingers to let him know that we wanted to go to “Sector 42”. People in the bus had some fun time listening to us speak in Hindi. The conductor was a kind man though.
With some initial confusion on our hotel destination, thanks to the auto drivers who were trying to convince us to go to Hotels were I guess they were offered commission for bringing in customers, we finally reached the hotel where I had made reservations prior. Later we set out looking for restaurants to have dinner. After all the suggestions that each offered looking at the reviews in the web, we finally ended up taking an auto rickshaw going to a road side Daaba. Around 11pm it was when the dinner was done with and we decided to walk back 6KM to the hotel. Night ended with some crazy photo shoots with UV head torch.
Day 2 – Reached Shimla
Next day morning we started off watching “Rang De Basanthi” movie telecasted in one of the regional channel early morning. At 11:00AM we boarded the bus to Shimla. Took 5 hours to reach Shimla and the route beside the mountains was beautiful. Thoroughly enjoyed the journey. It was almost 4:00 pm when we reached Shimla.
We checked into Hotel Le Gourmet Residency who booked a tour package for us for the next two days. Evening was spent visiting tourist places in Shimla and also did some shopping too in Mall road. Mall road was crowded with Honeymoon couples for it is a well-known Honeymoon destination in the country. And having coffee in “Indian Coffee Shop” in Mall road is a must when you visit Shimla. By evening we had visited Vice Regal Lodge(Rashtrapathi Niwas), a must place to visit if you’re into Architecture. We had our dinner in Gourmet itself, but only between all the fun talks !
Day 3 – Visiting Kufri and boarding bus to Manali for the night
Jhakoo Temple, Amusement Park near Kufri and the uphill horse ride in Kufri were the highlight for the day. In fact we laughed our stomach out during the horse ride which was very bumpy and the person who owned the horses randomly gave us movie character names when asked for the Horse’s name. Fun time!!
Reverse and forward flips..
We had checked out from the hotel the morning itself and our cab driver was kind enough to drop us off in the local bus station where after lots of confusion, thanks to the bus to Manali that I had booked the ticket for prior, which was cancelled due to fewer number of ticket bookings, we finally managed to get our tickets transferred to another bus. I had booked the ticket for a deluxe bus initially but then later we managed tickets for the “Express” bus which had no luxury but the ticket was cheaper. And so began the 7 hr journey…..