The weather continued to be overcast and somewhat rainy this morning, which is bloody frustrating and we couldn’t decide whether to leave for Ajmer/Pushkar today or go to Amber to see the fort here. Luckily, we decided to do the latter, and have now vowed ‘if in doubt, do it’.
After breakfast, a car and driver organized by the hotel arrived and we headed for Amber, about 11km away. The driver’s name was Om, a nice bloke and probably the most careful driver we’ve ever had in India – he slowly negotiated his way around potholes and even allowed trucks to overtake him!
Amber was the ancient capital of Jaipur state and the fort/palace was begun in 1592. It is spectacularly perched on a hillside with a lake below, and the hills around have fortified walls following their ridgelines. A beautiful place and once we were past the taxi area, very little hassling – the crap-sellers seemed to concentrate on the tourist bus groups and those riding elephants up to the fort. We walked.
We spent a couple of hours wandering the walls and rooms, taking lots of photographs; despite the lack of good weather the fog clinging to the surrounding hillsides gave the whole area a beautiful atmosphere.
Om dropped us back at Jaipur and we had dinner at a flash (in comparison to our previous Indian experiences) restaurant called Niro’s. All for about $16. Then we walked back up the road to Thomas Cook (unsuccessful attempt to make a phone call at the GPO en route – bumped into Tim again) and K changed some more money. It certainly is cheap to holiday in India!
At the nearby bus station we got morning tickets to Ajmer with a surprising minimum of fuss. We’re both feeling far more relaxed now I think and going with the flow a lot more. It was only coming up to 4pm but we’d done enough for one day – now back at this wonderful hotel.