|Our B & B, not surprisingly, included breakfast. It was amazing...such a variety of foods and they just kept piling it on our plates. An eclectic mix of Rajasthani fare and Continental. Once we waddled away from the breakfast table we were ready to start our sightseeing day in Jaipur.
The great benefit of having a car and driver is that when you want to go to a particular site you just tell the driver and go. No haggling over the cost, no worries about getting a ride back (or paying to have them wait) and best of all, A/C comfort to the site (particularly important when you are battling 40+ degree heat).(if this report is difficult to follow...cut me some slack, I am typing this at a railway station while sweltering in a so called A/C waiting room with a Hindi language TV program playing in the background)
We made full use of our driver this day. We saw:
1. Stepwell (I'm sure it has a name but...)- always fun to see, amazing geometric design that always reminds me of an Escher drawing.
2. Amer(or Amber) Fort - one of my favourite forts from our trip 23 years ago. Still has a certain allure that is hard to understand. Like most forts or palaces in India it is just a shell of what it once was. The buildings are still standing but the life has gone. The design of the fort and the sheer size and decoration do help to bring it alive. When we were in India last time we took an elephant ride up to the fort, however at the cost of 1,100 rupees per person it was a pricey expenditure that was easy to take a pass on (all of us having ridden an elephant last year in Thailand - and besides, the heat was brutal in the sun). Nevertheless it was fun to watch the people ride the long switchback ramp up to the fort as the elephants were all decked out and very colourful.
3. Jal Mahal (Water Palace) - not able to tour. It is set in a lake and very picturesque or at least it would be if the water levels weren't so low. Rather underwhelming due to water levels.
4. Jantar Mantar - the science of this place is mind boggling (at least to me). Imagine a sun dial that is accurate to within 2 seconds...they have it here! Huge constructions used for a variety of astronomical observations.
5. City Palace - after the Amer Fort it was not that amazing but did contain more artifacts to help give some better understanding of what the maharajah's lived like.
We also managed to squeeze in a visit to a jewelry making shop to see how they polish gemstones (mostly semi-precious) by hand and manufacture jewelry. Took advantage of the prices and picked up a nice set of earrings for Eleri and a necklace for Marlys. Very nice but also very inexpensive. "Don't like what you see...that is okay, we can make it on the spot and deliver it to your hotel before the sun goes down!"
We capped off a great day by having our driver take us to a kebab shop that was highly rated on Trip Advisor. It did NOT disappoint. So flavourful...even Eleri was able to do justice to the amazing kebabs of The Old Takeaway. We tried three different kebabs and a kebab wrap. Everything delicious.
What a great day!