Jaipor to Bundi via Tonk
To get there we followed another national highway but what a difference from the previous ones! No hard shoulder, just one lane either way and suddenly the caste system in force on Indian roads was very much in our faces. Literally. I lost count of the number of heavy vehicles hurtling past me with less than six inches of room. Was forced off the road a couple of times by overtaking vehicles, once coming a cropper in the loose sand that made up the verge. Not nice. The day was made worse as Mark had started with a p******e, and then had another one on the way. Later, just as we'd finished drafting (AKA slip streaming) a tractor and trailer for a few miles (as in the picture below) and started pedaling again Mark's chain snapped. Another halt was needed to effect repairs and to curse at the fact that he'd only just cleaned the damn chain the day before.
We made Tonk as it was getting towards dusk and started looking for somewhere to stay. The guesthouse we'd been directed to was full and we were told of a hotel, which proved to be very pricey (Rs800 for a regular double, Rs500 for a shoebox with shared bathroom). Too pricey in fact, so we went in search of another as the sun went down. We were pointed towards the Raj Palace by the bus station. Ah, the Raj Palace. Rs300 for a something that was a "**** hole even for rats" according to Mark, but more to our budget. All in all not the best of days.
Still, only one direction to go the next morning, onwards 110km to Bundi! The day started OK, but the cycling proved to be a drag as Mark wasn't feeling too great, meaning we had to make a few stops on the way. By the end I was starting to feel weak as well but we ploughed on, mostly fuelled by sugary drinks.
Worth it when we made it to Bundi though, which is a beautiful place and quite hassle free. What was going to be a one day stop maximum has turned into three days now. Got a nice hotel down by a water tank with a great view of the palace and castle which soar above and dominate the town. Excuse the poor quality of my night time shot below, really doesn't do it justice.
Had a nice relaxed time in Bundi, even going to a wedding last night but it's time to move on. I'm leaving the bike here for a few days and heading down to Diu in Gujarat for my birthday on Sunday. Unfortunately this means Mark and I are heading different ways now as he has to meet people in Mumbai and can't afford the detour, and I really don't want to spend my birthday on the road, wanting to spend it on the beach instead! To be honest, I'm contemplating sending the bike back soon anyway due to a mixture of time constraints (Helen is flying out in a month) and bad roads for cycling. I've pretty much done what I set out to do, cycle to India, and I'd been half planning to see India by public transport anyway.
I'll leave you with a photo from last nights wedding.