Mainly pastural scenery, generally fairly arid, especially with now being dry season - cotton, grain and chickpeas fields - some parts were well irrigated, some harvesting taking place.
The first day was 110 km with an overall descent for the day, mainly good road surfaces and a following wind, so a good average speed, in fact a spectacular average speed for me by the time we got to lunch at about 80 km - almost 25 km/hr including the first 6 km in convoy in Udaipur morning traffic. Slowed down a lot after lunch though.
|Heron landing in wet area adjacent the highway|
|in the same wet are, but I haven't identified either of them yet|
|Indian peacock in field beside highway|
|A common sight when we pass schools... all the kids gather and wave|
|Classic case of the first step being a big one - highway construction is resulting in those houses being very close to the precipice. We sincerely hope that a retaining wall is planned - can you imagine the effect of monsoon rains.|
|Black headed Ibis|
...on the short ride from town to the hotel...
|Oriental Darter (or Snakebird)|
|white-breasted kingfisher at the swimming pool|
|bar at the back of the museum... we had fun, danced to 70s music... and a few drinks too!|
|Our table just before dinner. That's real water in the middle|
|courtyard later that night|
|the town from lakeside|
|temple and garden offshore from the resort|
The following three days were a mix of roads, no dramatic changes of scenery until nearing Mandu when we go into a deeper valley before climbing the other side through fortifications dating back 500 years.
Alas, we're told that there will be no more overnights in spectacular forts and palaces. The day after the palace in Dungarpur, we're in Banswara and we're back to earth on quality of accommodation. This is a fairly typical with the shower and sink and toilet all in one tiled room with no separate shower enclosure.
What I find curious is the plumbing arrangement...
|That little black hole on the bottom right of the photo, adjacent to the floor drain...|
that's where the water from the sink drains
|Gergo, one of the TDA staff, riding sweep today|
Later, we saw about 100 bats emerge from a row of trees, fly around in a bit of a swarm until they had all landed back in the trees and were no more to be seen.
Ratlam, a fairly leisurely 80 km ride - we'll pay for that tomorrow. The hotel had the makings of at least once upon a time having been a five star place with all sorts of marble flooring, etc. A separate building in the back housed a squash court with glass back wall, sauna and steam room, and an outdoor swimming pool. I doubt that very much of that was functional now. The squash court housed half-a-dozen sleeping rolls and it appeared that whoever owned them also ate in the squash court. The swimming pool has no furnishings. Sad, but it shows how easy it is to build first class infrastructure but then fail to maintain it... something we need to heed in our own western societies.
The next day we left Ratlam for a 135-km day to Mandu.
|A greater Coucal in the parking lot, a heck of a lot easier to photograph that the one that tried to hide from me on the road a week or so ago|
|A lot of cotton growing in this area|
|Washing being done in the main street of a village.|
Not uncommon to see dogs sound asleep almost anywhere.
|Schools always seem to be well-kept, though not necessarily as nice as this private school|
|grain is all cut by hand.|
|Getting closer to Mandu, this is one of dozens of fortifications that date back about 500 years.|
A long ride, and hot in the afternoon, but we got into Mandu in good spirits albeit very tired, That was last night, the 15th. We had not had enough internet access over the past four days to do much of this blog entry, so it was all done this evening. That means our activities here in Mandu will come later. Good night all, hope you all had a happy St. Valentine's day.