My complete cut-off from technology for six days has made me lazy. Time to shake off the dust from the laptop and type.
Reached terminal 3. It is an absolutely stunning airport, hats off to the Delhi government. I was awestruck at the architecture and design. Boarded flight. Safe landing. Our driver and guide for the trip was already there. His name was Irfaan and I have never met a sweeter man than him. The trip was such an absolute success mostly because of him planning skills.
Left the airport. Had lunch which was tasty and surprisingly cheap. We then went to our rooms in the cantonment area. It was a Holiday Inn with pretty red roofs and a white picket fence. Beautifully manicured lawns surrounded our rooms. The brother and I had one room while the parents had the other. The rooms each had a cute little kitchen too. After dumping our luggage we went for local sight-seeing inside the cant area. A temple. A war memorial. A war museum.
Cannot post the pictures of the latter due to some security reasons which were not explained to me by the Army men there. Came back to our rooms tired and drained. Ate dinner and slept off wrapped in the warm cocoon of my blanket.
The second day was for the sights of Srinagar. It is an absolutely beautiful city with unbelievably good looking men around. The whole day we were surrounded by Bengali people. Seriously. Everywhere we went they were there. In herds. Moving on. Our first stop was an ancient temple that did not allow cameras or phones. These people are serious about their security. The temple was atop a hill and we climbed 200 steps to reach there. My legs and stomach died on the way up.
The next place we went is called Chash-me-Shahi. It is a place where natural spring water is found. The water is so pure and sweet, it is like nectar. Needless to say we filled up a whole bottle and enjoyed its every sip. I also tried my hand at photography and I am not good at it. Please bear with them.
My mother decided to skip out this day as the 200 steps to God left her tired and sleepy. My father, brother and I set off with the ever affable Irfaan drove us to Sonmarg, 96 kilometers away from Srinagar. Needless to say the drive was breathtakingly beautiful.
We reached. We were to go horse riding up the mountains to see snow and glaciers. It was a 14 Km ride, an extremely bumpy ride. The path was narrow, the wind chilly, the girdle hard and my hands were blue and freezing. It was a lot of fun though. Our guide and horse handler was hilarious. He kept us engrossed with local tales.
I felt like a Viking going to war. After the arduous and back breaking ride, we finally reached. The glacier was HUGE and dirty. I was too cold and in a foul temper as my father was relentlessly making us pose and click pictures. The ride back felt more treacherous and the horse carrying my ninety kilogram heavy father kept pooping all the way. It was not funny.
Now while the men were amateur horse riders I am considered the family equestrian of sorts. The horse handler-guide obviously sensed that and he took me for a gallop at the end of the trip. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life. We galloped , we ran, we raced. It was amazing. The cold wind beating down our faces, the girdle breaking my uterus, my finger on the verge of frost bite and the fast speed. What a day!
On reaching back home my bums and thighs were blue. It was a very painful night in bed for us three.
While we were still recovering from the aftermath of break-back mountain,my mother was bubbling with energy. Today we were heading to a place called Phelgam- Mini Switzerland. Dread pooled in my heart at the mention of another round of hill climbing on horses. My butt refused, my thighs screamed in revolt but I was determined to not show weakness.
This ride was through woods. Robert Frost worthy woods. The smell of pine trees, the soft sounds of a creek and brown needle carpeting the ground all made up for stunning visuals. It really was like Switzerland, if Switzerland was taken over by Bengalis. They were everywhere.
The last and the best day!
Drove up to Gulmarg, a two hour drive. Sat in cable cars locally known as Gandolas and were treated to a panoramic view of the valley. We had the best food and coffee at a height of 10000 feet. No horses. No pain. Only pleasure.
This was the trip finale.
No cell phones and no internet made us all bond together so well. Every family should ditch technology for a week. I wrote nothing up there because I was too tired in the evening. Yes, yes shame on me.
P.S: The photos are currently not getting uploaded due to horrible net speed. Shall be done as soon as this problem is fixed.