October 7, 2013
Today we took a 7-hour drive from Jaipur to Udaipur to stay at the Taj Lake Palace, a hotel in the middle of Lake Pichola. Before we left, we were told that we would have to take a box lunch and that sanitary conditions would be such that there were no bathrooms on the trip. Hats off to Rita for “holding it for 7 hours”. The driver and I made it 5 hours, before we stopped and used the bushes along the side of the road. But, at the end of the road from Hell, there was heaven. Even Rita agreed. We were taken to the center of the lake by boat to an all white marble Palace to spend two days. This is our ONLY destination that was picked solely for a hotel, rather than the sights to be seen. The hotel in the middle of the lake had always struck me as beautiful so I had to stay there. The hotel was built in 1743 by a king. It was his summer palace. It really is breathtaking. The James Bond film “Octopussy” was partially shot on the island.
We felt like movie stars today upon arrival, first because Rita was greeted at the dock with a bouquet of roses for our anniversary….
(Yeah, Rita’s smiling, but all she is thinking is get me to the hotel so I can PEE!) and also because all these photographers and movie cameras were set up on the hotel dock and when Rita and I arrived, we were showered with rose petals falling from the roof. We thought it was odd and we had no idea why we were the center of attraction, but everyone turned out to watch us depart the boat and get showered with rose petals. We later learned that the hotel was shooting a promotional movie today and they used our arrival to test whether the falling rose petals would work, how long they would take to fall, and where they would fall. So, instead of being movie stars we were actually guinea pigs!
This evening we took an hour long cruise at sunset to see the hotel from the lake, the City Palace, which is the largest royal palace in Rajasthan, and several islands that the king also owns including Jag Mantir, where his son lived for several years. After the cruise, we watched local Indian musicians perform and sing along with local Indian dancers. Rita and I celebrated our 8th Anniversary together tonight. We had roses, cards and a cake which were all hidden by this beautiful umbrella. I don’t think we will soon forget where we were on this date!!
The chocolate cake was scrumptious!!
Love and miss you all!
Norm and Rita
Udaipur, India… Took quite a long road trip to get there, but really worth it!