DAY EIGHTEEN… 43.68 miles (70.03 km)

We leave our little adobe hut at dawn, enjoying the morning light and the slight welcome chill of the air (only slight chill). It is a long ride (70km) today, and Tim breaks the news that it is uphill , or ‘bumpy’ (his favourite euphonism for hilly).

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Early morning wholesale vegetable market…it is getting cold, note hats, scarves, fleeces etc

We begin the ride on a pleasant, quiet road, but quickly find ourselves back on another dual carriageway. They are stressful because big lorries and other vehicles, cars, buses, rickshaws, tractors, are always passing and hooting. There is a general cacophony which reaches a crescendo in the towns or villages we pass through.

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Sensible advice for the highway & life

Tim thought we would soon turn off the dual carriageway, but it turned out to be 30 miles down the road. I have really had my surfeit of dual carriageways. Since we’ve been in Gujurat we have been very aware of all the road widening that has been going on. This often involves removing the lovely shade giving trees as they are in the way.

Our ride was heading into the Aravalli Hills, these were the “bumpy” bits. The landscape & people were starting to look distictly Rajasthani, with Marwadi turbaned & moustache wearing shepherds.

India Cycle Touring Gujarat
Marwadi turbaned & moustache wearing shepherds by the roadside

Our destination today is a wonderful Palace (Darbargadh Poshina). We arrive hot and dusty but are shown to a lovely room where we can refresh ourselves wonderfully. Tim and I decide we like it here so much we are going to stay an extra day and explore a bit.

The Palace is owned by royalty, as incidentally was the organic farm. The couple here are very welcoming and friendly, but there is a laissez faire attitude. No bags carried to room, solicitous bringing of towels and soaps, and demonstrations of how to turn the kettle on and off, that we are used to. In fact , at evening time, we were not told where our supper was to be served , so we waited patiently until Madam Queen (the Rani), who was called Rahi, told us to go the Dining Hall, which we couldn’t find and had to take a forbidden short cut through the palace kitchens !

Peaceful sanctury of Darbargadh Poshina)