(Top photo: Rhododendron flower on a young tree)
Many of the cafes and shops in Mc Leod Ganj advertise their businesses with hand painted signs, very obviously created with a lot of pride. One cafe we stopped at for coffee allows travellers to paint on their walls, and the day that we arrived the painting below had just been completed. The photo next to it is the view from the cafe, which inspired the painting. And after that is the small jewel fly thingy that came and sat on Iswar’s hand while he was sipping his very first cup of decent coffee on this trip.
Every few metres in the market is a bakery with all sorts of freshly baked goodies – the usual like brownies and cakes and bread and also some Tibetan specialities. The photo below is from our favourite bakery so far. The stuff they make is really excellent, and they put up that little descriptive sketch next to each dish. Apparently the guy who owns the bakery used to be a painter, and so he decided to add this little personalised touch to the display of cakes and pastries. We tried the Yak Cheese Chocolate Slice from the picture – it was quite coconutty and not as chocolatey as I’d like, but yummy nevertheless.
One thing that’s striking about the landscape, besides the mountains, is the number of metal water pipes that run all over. Like all over. Through the roads, through passageways, through the forest, around houses, in houses, on top of houses. Every street has at least one or two leaky pipes which end up giving parts of the street that just rained feel. Or the feeling of there being a stream nearby. Some of the thicker pipes are embedded in the roads. Leaky ones end up making parts of the road bubble. It seems like a small hot water geyser.
The one on the left is a photo of one such bunch that runs by on the street near where we stay. The other one is from a small walk that we took. Sorry it’s a little out of focus, but you get the idea.
Speaking about walks. One thing about the hills, is that they are hilly. Profound I know. One is presented with a very simple choice. Where do you want to walk, uphill or downhill. But wait it’s not as simple as just saying downhill. What the choice really means is do you want to walk downhill now and uphill on the way back or uphill now and downhill later. That could be a good way of selecting which hotel or guest house you live in. As in do you want to walk uphill as soon as you get up and get going or have an easy morning and run downhill and save the climbing up for later at night. One thing is for sure, stopping and smelling the roses comes naturally here. Not necessarily to take in the surroundings but just take a breather.
Here are some photos from one such walk. The flowery one is the Rhododendron. We saw just two to three clusters of flowers on every tree. Maybe it’s not the flowering season. The younger part of the tree has leaves that all point to the sky, and as they become bigger they start drooping and just hanging.
Here is a close up of this prickly leaf that grows like a weed everywhere. Next to that is another leafy that grows everywhere. This photo was taken at one of the toy train stations.
And here is a photo of the most striking water for Birds thingy I have seen.
And finally, the view from our room – the peak is called Snow Lion 🙂