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Binsar to Ramnagar, via Ranikhet

Day 51

overcast 14 °C
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Wednesday 11 March

Woke today at 6 am, warm under a hundred weight of blankets and extra duvets. Outside it is a lot cooler and damper than yesterday. The Himalayas completely obscured by cloud. So lucky we have had two days of brilliant clarity.

We enjoy our usual routine at the Government rest houses, Tea at around 7am, followed by breakfast of Omelette and toast with more tea at 8 am. Very civilised and most welcome.

After breakfast we are soon on our way to Ranikhet, a town two hours further South. As it is lower down the mountains, we hope warmer. After hours of winding roads and a ten minute stop for Chai at a roadside stall, we reach the town.

We were not aware that it was a Military base with Soldiers and barracks everywhere, even the Golf course, (the only one we have seen in India), had a live fire-range close by.

Our intended destination, the Chevron Ranikhet Club, advertises a Bar and free Wifi, (two items on our wish list today). However, when we arrive, this ex British Colonial building is now used as a Private club for Indian Officers, but is a little tired and devoid of any human presence. Although disheartened, we still ask to see a room and check on facilities. It is cold, the rooms are not well maintained and to top it off, as a military area, all Wifi and phone reception is blocked. We thank the receptionist and return to our car.

We are pretty disappointed at this stage, and having passed through the main town of Ranikhet, distinctly unimpressed. Another snap decision. Let’s carry on and travel the extra 92kms to Ramnagar, which is our ultimate destination in Utteranchand, before our return to Delhi for our flight home next week. Vinod is happy to continue. Bearing in mind that travel on these mountain roads mean average speeds of between 25 and 30kms per hour, it is a long drive.

Finally, we arrive in Ramnager at 4pm, we then have to persuade the Management Team at the Blue Orchid Hotel to honour our 4 night pre-paid booking, albeit two days from now. Remember, having cancelled our planned trip to Munsiyari due to bad weather, we are now ahead of schedule.

To our delight and relief, the Manager takes all of 20 seconds to reassure us that our booking can be transferred. The hotel is pretty luxurious compared to the TRH accommodations and we cannot wait to hit the bathroom!

It is a real Hotel. Satellite TV, Integral A/C-Heating, freshly laundered towels, toiletries and clean throughout. We drop our bags and go in search of a western style restaurant. After an hour walking around , we realise that Ramnagar is pretty much the same as other Utteranchand towns - still Low budget Indian Cafe/ street food, or Bars that you wouldn’t want to step inside.

We cut our losses and Flag down a Tuk-tuk to a sophisticated looking wine shop, which boasted a fine selection of wines and spirits at reasonable prices. To Leo’s delight, they also stock Pringles and Cadbury’s chocolate bars - fantastic! We then return to our Hotel.

We give our Driver Vinod, the rest of the day off after his mammoth mountain drive and realise that we no longer require his Services. He should be a happy man as he can go home to Rishikesh two days earlier than expected.

Dinner is ordered and taken in our Bedroom, as the main Dining hall has a kiddies party on, balloons and Unicorns swaying everywhere. So we spend our evening watching cheesy American films and enjoying our best Indian/ Asian meal since we reached the mountains. With a tipple, and chocolate, very nice.En route to Ramnager

En route to Ramnager

Mointain route to Ramnagar

Mointain route to Ramnagar

The highway ahead

The highway ahead

The Blue Orchid, Ramnagar

The Blue Orchid, Ramnagar

Hotel main entrance

Hotel main entrance

Posted by KellyDevlins 21:26 Archived in India

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