Today started by waking up on the train around 6 am. It wasn't the best sleep ever, but certainly not the worst (and definitely better than our little stint in the bathroom). I was just happy that I didn't feel any creepy crawlers on me (although I came to find later that Larry had seen several cockroaches but kept his mouth shut- smart guy!!) We arrived at the Pathankot train station, saw our driver and headed happily up into the mountains of upper Dharamsala (aka Mcleod Ganj where His Holiness lives). This took another 2 1/2 hours (we're getting used to long rides by now) so we caught up on the rest of our sleep....
Being up in the mountains again felt so comfortable and although the monsoon is much more severe up here, it is well worth it.
The best hotel in Mcleod
Walking around this town was so much different than I thought it was going to be. I had thought about this place for years, read about in books and online and talked and talked about it with so many people....being here was completely different than I ever could have imagined. When you think about "Shangri-La" you don't usually include the endless souvenir shops and touts, but I have been in India long enough to not be suprised so once we got to see the real parts of town, we were hooked! After just a few hours we had found some spots that we'd come to love over the next 5 days and that started with our number one restaurant of the trip: Taste of India. This tiny eatery is located on a steep hillside, has just enough room for 5 tables inside and the kitchen area was a small alcove with a swinging door in which you could peek in whenever the waiter placed an order or talked to the one chef. It was the kind of place you'd never go in on your own but it was recommended in Lonely Planet so we felt assured. Little did we know that we had found a place we'd eat at almost every day in Mcleod. We took it pretty easy the rest of the day and were finally excited to be one place for a longer period of time, so we could actually relax on our vacation! Who knew!