B - strange reminders of the British Raj continued as we headed north from Amritsar to our first stop in the Himalayas, Dalhousie. We got here after an epic day-long public bus journey (uncomfortable seats, people squashed next to and all around you, luggage everywhere, v bumpy) which started in the plains of the Punjab and then slowly wound up through small hills, then big hills, then huge mountain roads that snaked up one side then back down the other of the biggest mountains I've ever seen. And these were still the foothills of the himalayas! They were beautifully green after the dryness of the plains which were scorched orange from the summer sun, waiting for the monsoon. Up and up we went until we were right up in the cloud.
Finally it was cool and wet, fantastic! I cannot quite convey how much of a relief it was. We stayed in a great chalet-style guesthouse ran by an indian granddad and a wonderful cook-cum-bellboy-cum-travel adviser man. There were views (when the cloud and rain cleared) down an unimaginably deep green forested valley. It was beautiful. There was not a lot to do in Dalhousie, it was a very small place, formerly a British hill station (where the Brits escaped from the heat of the plains), and quite odd for its 'leftovers'. There were 2 churches, looking v out of place next to all the indian restaurants and shops which had sprouted up to cater for all the indian tourists (there were hardly any foreign tourists there, but many Indians who demand lots of food and pedalos at every turn. It is also a big romantic honeymoon destination as well). We also went into a few shops and cafes and it was like stepping back into time, into a turn of the century England, with big old-fashioned cabinets up to the ceiling and posters advertising 'Cadbury's chocolate, Est. 1909'. Very odd. We rested there a while and did a few nice walks along quiet forested roads (we were advised against actually walking in the forest as the monsoon brings out the bears and snakes).