Thursday, September 11, 2008

Planes Trains and Automobiles-Literally

Shimla a small town in Northern India was the destination. After several phone calls , e-mails and coffee with our friend Ajay we got the trip planned. First we will fly to Delhi overnight there and then take the train to Kalka get into a rental van and drive to Shimla and return the same way. Sounds reasonable right?

We headed out to the new airport and checked in - no problem. We all boarded the flight to Delhi and Tom was lucky enough to sit with Kay. Sue was double lucky because she got to sit by herself. The flight to Delhi was the bumpiest flight ever. They brought the kids food first and just when they brought the adults food the turbulence began and so did the throwing up, by Kay. Fortunately Tom had a couple of coffee cups because there were no air sickness bags and for Tom no dinner!!

We arrived in Delhi and made our way in two separate equally decrepit cabs to the hotel. The Ginger was nice and it's best feature was the cafe attached. Tom and Kay had a bite to eat then all got a good night sleep.

The train ride was awesome. Being able to see all the different towns and villages along the way and having high tea at the same time. But alas we were in another moving vehicle and right after Kay ate you guessed it. We have now decided that no food for Kay while we are in a moving vehicle.

We reached the train station and then loaded ourselves into a van and begun the ascent to Shimla. Then after one and a half days of travel we reached..

The place we stayed was called The Chalets Naldehra check out their website. ( www. was beautiful. We had the family suite which had two separate rooms a larger living room and a full size refrigerator!

The pack deal came with a buffet breakfast and lunch however there were only three or four families staying there so we got to order what ever we wanted off the menu!!! The food was awesome but the local wine was well, apple or plum, not the best!! After touring the grounds having a great dinner and playing with the other kids the Loudamericans plus one were done.

The following morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then horse back riding!! What a blast. Jimmy fell in love with his horse and horse guy and had a ball. Billy and Kay were no less keen and they all managed to have fun as well. The lower Himalayans are quite impressive. I mean just seeing them was cool. The afternoon was spent with us in the pool and then a nature walk to a lovely meadow where there were ladybugs galore.

Tracy decided that we all needed the local hat of Himachal Pradesh, the state where Shimla is and was bound and determined that we get them and here is the proof!!

The only downfall was that this area which is plush with strawberries, the strawberries were out of season. Kay was so excited because she was going to eat strawberries just like Violet in that Willy Wonka movie. It was a good thing they were out of season with the way she was hurling every other day.

We then rented a van and went to the bottom of the valley to a place called Tattapanni and experienced the "hot springs". They were no springs as such but a trickle of water coming from somewhere however they were HOT. So hot in fact you could not even touch them! The kids played in the river and we had a nice time. Lunch was a long drawn out affair at a " Chinese"place but for the most part it was cool.

That night we watched Sound of Music and had the most amazing cauliflower with honey, awesome. The mutton and roti were and are to die for.

We ended our stay at the Chalet with yet another horse ride. We have a family tradition so to speak where on Sunday mornings we take a family walk around Palm Meadows. Jimmy is very vocal about his dislike of this activity. He however has decided that if he had a horse he would be OK with the family walk because he could take, his horse!

From the hills of Naldehra we headed to the actual town of Shimla. It is located basically on the side of a mountain, literally. I was concern about falling into the center of town it is that steep. We had to take a lift to the steps which ascended to the main or "mall" road. I am sure this road drives my Indian friends crazy. It is a beautiful paved road with nice food, book,clothing vendors all along however no moving vehicles are allowed!! A road such as this was meant to be driven on, ask any Indian they will agree.

From Shimla we headed back to Kalka to catch the train to Delhi. What would a trip through the foot hills of the Himalayans be without " Hey Dad look a McDonald's".