DAY TWENTY… 36.35 miles (58.50 km)
First light of dawn and we are eager to get on our way despite the loveliness of this palace.
There is a small ripple of activity. Ranu and Rahi (King and Queen) appear on the balcony, looking a bit disgruntled by the early hour and wrapped in lovely shawls. They tell me ‘Poha is coming’. They had to call a girl from the village as cook does not start work till 7am. But I’ve just spotted a girl coming in who I suspect to be the Poha cook!
Tim tells me the day is ‘up and down, then flat, then uphill for a while.’ As I’ve said many times before, take that with a pinch of salt. We spent much of the day struggling up hills. A tough ride but the scenery was beautiful… tribal villages with chicks scattering everywhere, beautiful hens and goats…..tribal children again fleeing in terror !
We arrived at Devla. A dusty little town, and attempted to hunt down a Bolero pick up for the last gruelling 22 kms of the ride along the National Highway. None to be found. Only jeeps (too small) and auto rickshaws (even smaller). In desperation I suggest to Tim that we can get two bikes and all our gear in an auto rickshaw. After all, if you can get two cows in an auto rickshaw, surely two bikes can fit in? And, apparently you can get 52 people in a jeep. Miraculously, it worked. We fitted in too! So we made our way bumpily, up hill to Gogunda.
Gogunda had a nasty feel to it. It began when we got ripped off for a Maaza drink. And we had the most disgusting chai the next morning, again exorbitant prices.
For some reason we were refused entry to the first hotel we approached. But thankfully were taken in by the second without question. The hotel was OK, friendly staff and even though we were the only clientele eating there that night, no ill effects.