Shimla Travel Blog› entry 6 of 12 › view all entries
After an early start, passing spectacular sheer cliffs, deep valleys and grassy terraces, we arrived in Shimla around 4pm. The entrance into the area is impressive - the road starts to hug the mountain side and houses appear nestled far above and below the road. The traffic was terrible - it seems like there's only one main road for vehicles in and out. E had erred on the side of caution and booked us into somewhere with heating - Hotel Combemere, a well presented if unatmospheric place.
The novelty of Shimla's layout still excites me - the main area, a pedestrian-only road full of shops and eateries, is about 10 storeys higher than the vehicle access to the city, connected by many lifts, stairways and steep laneways (the hotel, of course, has its own glass elevator).
We walked a pleasant 4.4km the next day to the Viceregal Lodge, where 13 British Viceroys lived and governed and many important decisions were made. The "Scottish Baronial" style of the lodge is scorned by some, although I personally liked it (it had a slightly gothic feel, all aged stone and gnarled, leafless vines crawling up the sides).
We took a drive in the afternoon to Wildflower Hotel, one of the grand Oberoi chain hotels. The hotel is perched on a hill with lovely views, and still held pockets of snow on the lawns - remnants of a snowfall some 20 days ago. The hotel itself looked a bit Swiss chalet. We had a brief tour of the ground floor, including the massive child-size gingerbread house, and had tea and pizza in the warm lobby.
Back in Shimla, A, his dad and I went to a bar called "Fusion" - we were the only customers but the bartender had an old and interesting music collection. Another drink in the hotel bar, then dinner at the hotel restaurant (not the buffet ballroom like the night before), where we shared a variety of Thai dishes which were surprisingly good. We left for Mussoorie the next day, so didn't get the chance to really explore Shimla, but it's easy to see why it's a popular place for Indian tourists - the cool, refreshing air and clean, car-less streets were good for a change.