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Published: September 7th 2018
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The original plan was to see the monsoon palace for sunset as advised by all the locals/hostels/guidebooks but given it closes at 6pm and sunset is at 630ish at the moment that was obviously not going to work.
We considered going by scooter but thought that a bicycle might be easier in the traffic. Unfortunately no where seemed to hire out bicycles - our hostel had no idea, the bicycle shop only does tours and other people we asked looked at us like we were crazy. Finally finding somewhere that did them we set off in the mid day heat wondering what on Earth we were thinking. Especially since today is a strike day in Rajasthan so we had no idea whether the palace would even be open when we got there.
The cycle to the entrance of the park the palace is in was very easy. The first part of the cycle through the park was quite pretty. It then started to go up, and up, and up. With no shade it didn’t seem like the best idea but after lots of stops for water we managed to get to the top where there’s a lovely cafe with
beautiful views to get a cold drink and sit down. The palace itself is rather poorly kept but it looks like they’re currently doing a lot of work to it so this may improve soon. The views are stunning. You can walk through the ground floor of the palace but no higher. Adequately explored it was time to leave.
By this point we were realising our ‘good bikes’ had not exactly been looked after. Theoretically there were 3 gears at the front and 7 at the back. In practice there were only 6 gears. They had disc breaks. Mine were very squeeky. Going down the steep zig zag I didn’t trust them and decided to walk. Stephen had a play with them, tightened the cable, was happy and so offered to swap bikes (im a bit of a wus cycling downhills anyway). All was good, we came down the steepest bit, onto a slightly flatter bit, and then as it got steep again Stephens brakes failed. Managing to steer off into the grass only to discover it full of boulders by some miracle he managed to slow down enough to have a relatively minor crash onto the tarmac.
Bicycle a little bent but Stephen pretty much in tact we were helped by a lovely passing Indian family. The cable had slipped completely so the brake wasn’t engaging at all. Unfortunately my small penknife didn’t have anything useful on it. We got safely down by walking, the front brake was sort of working so the rest of the cycle back into town was fine if a little hairy.
Back at the bike shop we complained about the condition of the brakes as by this time the fronts had failed as well. We were shouted at for not knowing how to correctly use brakes, for taking the (mountain) bikes up a ‘helicopter mountain’ (know in the uk as a hill - less steep than many of the Surrey hills) and for being too big and heavy! Despite the abuse we received we held our own and did at least get our money back for Stephens bike. I’m not sure the brakes are going to get fixed before the next customer though...
We certainly wouldn’t recommend getting bicycles in udaipur at present - which is a shame as the current fashion for tourists getting scooters everywhere cannot be good
View away from city
for the pollution levels in these cramped cities.
Back in the old city we bought our tickets for the sunset boat ride and went and sat in a nice cafe with milkshakes. At 6pm we meandered down to the Lal Ghat and where the boat departs from. The boat ride was a very enjoyable meander around the lake and back in time for dinner.
The family who had helped us after the bike accident had invited us over for tea. After dinner we went looking for their house but managed to fail to find the right place which was rather a shame. I just hope they weren’t waiting for us.
Tomorrow morning we get picked up by Krishna horse safaris for a 5 day horse ride on Indian mawari horses. We will be staying in tents so will be out of contact for the next few days.
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