Lake Picchola

Had a great day today, we woke up at 8.30 all feeling much better and went up and had some breakfast, a bowl of banana and honey porridge and toast and jam each and I set the kids onto some work. We spend at least 3 hours going over what they have already learnt in science and discussing the structure and differences of plant and animal cells. Looking through the books we have brought with us they cover similar stuff but as Ali is at Key Stage 3 his work is much more in depth so I pitch it at his level. Maisie seems to be lapping it up and when I test them later does really well and remembers almost as much as he does.
They then do some literacy and write a formal letter to Tony Blair asking him for money to provide education and condoms for young adults in a remote village, with high rates of HIV infection, I can see a big improvement since they last practiced letter writing and its very satisfying to think I have taught them this.

We are going to visit the city palace and Lake Pichola, it isn’t far from where we are staying so we walk there. When we get to the ticket office we can choose to visit various sites of interest and we get tickets costing about 10 quid in total. These will cover us for entrance to the palace and museum and a boat ride on Lake Pichola.

We decide we want some lunch first though and choose the most expensive looking place, well worth it though, we have club sandwiches, fries and baked onions and they’re yummy! After the last few days of sickness none of us want Indian food today and I am not being too fussy about what we eat.

We catch the boat and have a half hour ride around Lake Pichola, we go past the floating palace where much of Octopussy was filmed. It is now a hotel and although it from a distance it doesn’t look anything special, close up it does look nice and for over 400 US dollars a night I guess it must be ok.
We of course opted not to stay there on the basis that we wanted to experience more of the real India.

We then wandered around the city palace, this is a truly amazing place it’s like a maze with lots of tiny corridors leading up and then down narrow winding staircases, these then open out into rooms which are all decorated differently. Some rooms are themed with colour, pale china blue bedrooms with tiny brass beds and floaty curtains and a dark red balcony overlooking the courtyard. Other rooms are huge with intricate inlaid jewelled walls and ceilings and big imposing portraits of royalty. We also visited the palace stables and the kids went in a portable tiger cage.
We said it would be a great place to play hide and seek although I don’t know if you would ever find each other.

The weather is lovely here, hot with clear blue skies and a warm breeze. Now I’m feeling better I can appreciate Udaipur and for me it has definitely been the highlight of Rajasthan. Surrounded by mountains and with the clear calm lake it is as lovely as the guidebook says. Since our arrival we have slept much better and the noise levels are bearable although it is quite lively here.
We end the afternoon with a beer and puddings for the kids on Sunset Terrace. This overlooks the lake and the floating palace and the perfect location for a cold Fosters and a few crisps.

Simon spent the morning sorting out our tickets to Mumbai and we catch the bus at 3.30 tomorrow afternoon. I am scared about this but trying to stay calm and keep thinking even if it’s really horrible it’s only 16 hours and anyone can get through that. Also from then on we only have to catch trains. We should be arriving in Goa in 6 days time – hurray! Really looking forward to this, we had a lovely holiday there a few years ago and I can’t wait to get on the beach and do nothing for a week or so.

I’m feeling very happy tonight and lucky. Travelling is wicked, so far I have absolutely loved everything about it and even though we have some interesting experiences over the last few weeks I wouldn’t change a thing. Not sure if I will still feel the same after the bus trip but I’m fairly optimistic and I hope so.