Thursday, 12 September 2019


Wednesday-Thursday September 11-12

Rest days in Shimla.

Shimla - the one time winter capital of India when it was a British Colony.

We've had two rest days here, just packing up now to get back on the bikes tomorrow for four riding days to Rishikesh. We've enjoyed the town. They have a large area in which cars are banned which means easy walking streets from narrow roads lined with small merchants to the ridge area with the Christ Church (British colonial influence) and other government buildings - a fairly large area where everybody wanders, enjoys ice cream, tries to avoid the monkeys (they apparently can be very aggressive and Ursula saw one swipe somebody's ice cream cone, and one of our riders had one swipe her Oakley sunglasses - she eventually retrieved them.

The outdoors in this town is smoke-free. Smoking might cost a fine of 200 rupees. Less then four dollars. In Canada, that means the smokers would hire lawyers at $400 an hour to fight it. Here it means there was no smoking outdoors throughout the entire pedestrian area.

The pedestrian mall is clean although outside those areas, there is still a garbage problem. At least they're making headway.

Apart from wandering the pedestrian areas, enjoying crepes or momos as appropriate to the hole-in-the-wall we happen to be at (gin-tonics too), we visited the railway museum at the end of the narrow-gauge railway that connects Shimla to Kalka - it is a UNESCO World Heritage site having made history opening in 1903 with over 900 curves, 800+ bridges and over a hundred tunnels in its 96 km overall length to Kalka where it connects to full-gauge normal rail system.

We've started to pare down the photos and sort them... too difficult to do and still get some sleep tonight, so here is a too-large collection, in no particular sequence other than that's the way the computer loaded them, of the scenes , the businesses on the street, the people, the colours, monkeys, etc, that we've enjoyed in the last two days.

Christ Church

Hairdresser - as soon as Ursula pulled out the camera, they all had to pose

Rae saw fit to help a local person help an older (maybe not older than Rae) person up the hill 

Christ Church

man's tailor shop

Hanuman monkey god

amazing the loads people carry through these streets on their backs

Just missed photographing him sharpening somebody's knives  

Indira Ghandi

schoolgirls in blazers

Gandhi statue on the ridge

the ridge

from the ridge, our hotel - our room is one of the windows on the top floor

traffic cop at an intersection that has only pedestrians - and he looks serious!

more heavy loads

these guys are carrying washing machines - and for the guy on the left, a flat screen TV as well

dogs sleep where they want - even when carrying a heavy load, you walk around them

everybody likes ice cream

the narrow gauge railway track with 'abandoned' shed at trackside

the narrow gauge station - a UNESCO World Heritage site

memorial to Indian Army soldiers - most of the memorials we've seen cannot
be photographed because they are in military 'no-photo' zones

school kids playing in front of the police station

you can still see old style pillar boxes

the large Indira Gandhi hospital

a refrigerator ! ! !

 Bedtime now. Tomorrow brings 110 km of riding with some serious climbing and descending, though not as bad as coming into Shimla two days ago. After so much time above 4,000 metres, it seems very low to be sleeping at 1500 metres tomorrow. To put that in perspective, we're still well above the elevation of Calgary or Whistler.
Four days of riding ahead to get to Rishikesh, most likely without good cellular of wifi during those days.