Tuesday, 8th Feb 1994
We boarded the 9615 Chetak Express heading overnight to Udaipur and it pulled out of Jaipur on time.
We ended up in an AC2 (air conditioned 2nd class) compartment with two Indian men. One of them explained that he was a doctor but the other one said nothing. The second one was very fat though.
The air conditioning in the compartment was working a bit too well. It was cold and we were without blankets. The attendant told us he had no extra blankets. We ended up sleeping together on the bottom bunk to keep warm.
Wednesday, 9th Feb 1994
We woke up and dined on the now familiar railway breakfast of vegetable cutlet with tomato sauce. We arrived at Udaipur an hour late at 1100am.
After finding the station superintendent to fix reservations on to Mumbai we went outside the station. We were met by the usual hoard of taxi and rickshaw drivers hassling for rides. We walked along the line and spotted one of them holding a notebook. We read the favourable reviews in the book and duly engaged “Tullu” to take us to our hotel and then take us around the city the following day.
Tullu didn’t seem to be disappointed when we told him that we had reserved the Lake Palace hotel and would be spending the next 22 hours there. He dropped us off at the jetty for the launch to the hotel and agreed to meet us at the same place at 10am the next morning.
We got the launch out to the hotel in the middle of the lake. We then checked in for what we hoped would be the highlight of the “honeymoon”; a night at the world famous Lake Palace hotel.
The hotel sits like a white ship in the middle of the lake. It has over 80 rooms and is deceptively large. Our room, 118, was even more beautiful than we had expected. We had a south facing balcony that looked perfect for sunbathing.
We immediately had a wonderful lunch of lamb, corn and curry with rice in the restaurant. The service was flawless and the place was spotless.
We then spent the afternoon sunbathing on our balcony, around the lily pond and in the swimming pool area. I managed to do the British thing and get both sunstroke and sunburnt.
We had a light meal in the evening featuring a delicious mushroom curry.
Thursday, 10th 1994
We had a buffet breakfast. I thought it was perfect in every way. My wife agreed but pointed out that there was no tea strainer.
The Lake Palace was one of the highlights of the Indian trip and was one of the most remarkable hotels I have ever stayed at (2017 it still is)
With great reluctance we checked out and got the boat back across to the lake shore. Tullu was waiting for us exactly where he had dropped us.
We discussed the things that the town had to offer with him and agreed on an itinerary. He was great and did everything we wanted.
He also took us to a beautiful elephant lily pond, to a puppet show – a very interesting show that featured a man changing into a woman – and then up to the top of the hill to see the statue of the legendary horse – Chetak.
We had a lunch of vegetable pakoras and ginger chai and then Tullu tried to scare the shit out of us by turning off the auto rickshaw motor and coasting down the hill, laughing all the time.
In the afternoon we went to buy some prints at a print shop and went off to see the beautiful interiors at the Grand Palace.
For dinner we went to the Parkview hotel and had a lamb rogan josh, a vegetable briyani and chana masala. It was all cracking stuff.
We bought some sweets for our journey and then headed back to the station for the overnight train to Ahmedabad.