Checked out of hotel at 9.30am & back to Shimla station where I went off to meet up with the station master who featured in the John Sergeant BBC programme about the Shimla Hill Railway. Didn’t get to see his old Chai Wallah but had my photo taken with him & our guard, who later let us move from our crowded carriage into an empty carriage further down the train. Another amazing journey winding back down the mountains with terrific views all the way. Great fun at the stations on the way buying chai(tea) & local snacks of varying degrees of edibility. What an experience.
After a 2 hour wait at Kalka we were off again on the express train back to Delhi. Again we had marvellous service with snacks & a meal on the way. We also had an audience as we watched the photos of the last 3 days on my laptop. It turned out that a group of men behind us on the train had been at the monkey mountain the day before at the same time as we were there & they featured in 3 of our photos where they had been surrounded by a pack of monkeys. We ended up with three email addresses having promised to send them copies of the photos, which I did at the hotel late that night.
We arrived at Delhi at 10pm & to our great relief, again, our new driver was there to pick us up. I did have a discussion with the two porters who carried our cases from platform 16 to the car park but eventually they took the 200 rupees that I offered instead of the 400 rupees that they wanted each. That was the same as I had paid the one porter who carried our cases on the day we left so I thought that was fair. So we made it back the same hotel as before after another long day of travel but it was so nice to be warm again.
Earlyish start tomorrow for our trip to Agra, no time to rest. Sweet dreams!