This morning I woke to a squealing pig which seem to be coming from the other side of the wall outside my window, it didn't sound happy. When I mentioned it at breakfast to the others, 2 of the girls said it woke them up too and it was squealing becuase it was being slaughtered ! they could see it from their window, I'm glad I was on the ground floor. So today was a trip to the Amber Fort. A private bus picked us up outside the hotel and took us to the fort. In the carpark where the bus dropped us off was a snake charmer and was quite demanding in wanting money so we ignored him. The fort looked quite majestic up on the hill and very pink and yellow. To get to the fort we had to cross over a bridge which had a lake one side and laws the other.
Snake charmer near Amber Fort
On the lawns sat ladies in their colourful attire pulling at the grass, I was wondering what they were doing then I realised what they were cutting the grass ! obviously lawn mowers hadn't quite reached India yet !! The winding cobbled road that lead up to the fort was dominated by brightly coloured painted elephants carrying tourists, at that point the way I was feeling I too wanted to be one of those tourists and hop on an elephant, but I chose to take the steps and walk up with the others. I was last to the top and puffing and wheezing, with this chest cold these hills were punishing. We gathered inside the courtyard to meet our guide who would be taking us around the fort. As the guide was trying to talk to us annoying persistent sellers were hanging around thank god they wern't allowed in the actual fort itself.
Ladies cutting the grass by hand outside Amber Fort
Inside the fort was a maze of red sandstone and marble buildings, walls were decorated with inlaid paintings and ceilings were richly decorated with gold leaf and a multitude of small mirrors. The archways and lattice windows provide good views over the city and lake. The nearby hill had a wall that ran its length so we joked it looked like the great wall of China. The fort is rather large and you need to give it plenty of time to explore at least half a day. On getting back to our bus a young boy was invited onboard with us by our tour leader. He entertained us with magic tricks so we all gave him some money and dropped him off at our next stop the Lake Palace. The Palace was out on a lake so it was more of a photo opportunity than a visit, a brightly dressed camel caught my eye so I took a happy snap of him.
The lake and Amber Fort
The sellers around here are as persistent as always they know tourists get off here so they hang around waiting for their prey ! We were finally dropped off in the city where we had free time, most of the group wanted to goto the money changer so we stood outside Thomas Cook waiting for each and everyone to change their money and its here I started to feel really ill. I was bending over near a tree wanting to be sick so the tour leader organised a bicyle rickshaw to take me back to the hotel. So my afternoon was spent in the hotel sleeping, I think the Amber Fort was the icing on the cake, I needed rest now to fight off this virus.