Well, from 2hrs out of Jaipur, to Pushkar.
Today was awesome.
7am breakfast, 7:30 in the van
Cycling at 9:30.
It turns out india can be cold! I’m glad I’d read someone else’s blog about this trip, as she had suggested a bit of winter gear, and bib shorts with thermals was just right for the start! Unlike the cycle in Delhi this was almost all on empty back roads, the scenery was incredible, from desert to farm land and a general sea of green and grey, then all of a sudden bright scarves and headware in rich colours as you entered a village.
As we entered each village children would come running out shouting bye bye or ta ta waving and smiling,even screaming from the other end of a field, waving frantically!
The cycling group split pretty quickly and we cycled ahead to the rest stops on most sections. We have a van for the bikes and then a van for us, so one would go ahead and wait at the next stop for us. It worked pretty well.
I reckon Gregor and another guy on the tour, Dave, could have tanked the cycles in 3/4 of the time. Dave usually leads the pack! However there is another woman, Angela, though I dont know her age she has dubbed herself the grandmother of the group and clearly had a fair few years on her as she has so many stories of travelling the world, a lot by bike or foot. Shes the slowest of the group but just keeps trucking, shes incredible!
At one point I’d dropped back and was catching up with the boys ahead, Dave went past in the opposite direction (he’d reached the checkpoint and was heading back to join Angela for the stretch – he’s an incredibly good guy). I caught up with the boys and cycled along with them, at some point we stopped and we were wondering where the checkpoint was. They’d been told it was at a place with lots of cola bottles hanging up. Now. I’d seen a place ages ago, before I’d even joined the group, with crates and crates of cola bottles around it (hundreds) but I just assumed that it was too early, that there must not have been any hanging, I don’t know, but anyway, I don’t think I even mentioned it, and all the boys said they hadn’t seen the place we were meant to stop, so we carried on… And on… We eventually stopped as we’d gone further than the expected distance and felt that we’d just wait for the group and find out.
Whilst we waited two young girls came over and said hello and offered us a snack, sesame and sugar?, and we had a small chat. Everyone is lovely.
Eventually the bus caught up with us and so did Dave who said we’d gone WAY past the point! It was the bottles that I’d seen (but I didnt know at the time that it was a checkpoint) and the boys genuinely hadn’t seen it!! 🤣
As we entered Pushkar the scenery changed quite a lot, a few hills, and very dry. We were surrounded by camels and cars as we entered, and the whole town was filled with kites and music.
Today is the festival celebrating the first day of spring. They traditionally fly kites (and fight them) so it’s now often known as the kite festival. We sat by the lake, watched, listened and then seriously regretted the stop when we had to get back on the bikes! The saddles are pretty firm!
Genuinely, it has been amazing. I don’t think I can really put it into words. The people, the scenery, the cycling. Awesome.
Our hotel is beautiful, we had a little mosey from the roof top of Pushkar.
That evening we had dinner at a family’s house in the outskirts of the city, the meal was cooked by the women of the house and the children served the dinner practicing their English. I didn’t snap any photos as it didn’t seem appropriate, but here’s the menu:
- Veg pakoras
- aloo jeera
- baby auberjines
- daal soup
- cabbage (gregors favourite)
- rice cakes? treated like a bread
- then rice pudding after
Everything would arrive a small portion at a time on our plates and the food just kept appearing.
After the meal the younger boys sat with us and chatted away before we headed back to out hotel.