We arrived into Old Delhi train station early in the morning and were met by a Rimo representative who took us to his car and drove us the 1km to New Delhi train station. After we had confirmed that yes we could get onto the train and find our seats by ourselves we were left to wait the 2 hours for our train. While we were waiting a guy came over and started drawing a picture of Amy, adding huge boobs and writing "I love you white girl" underneath it. Then he tried to charge us Rs100 for it. Ha! Our train arrived and we found our seats and settled down for the trip to Kalka where we transferred to a narrow gauge train that wound its way up the hairpins (yes a train track with hair-pin bends!) and through 108 tunnels giving us awesome views of dramatic scenery before reaching Shimla. As we rolled into Shimla we saw a man with a sign with our names on it and followed him to a car stuck in the traffic jam that is Shimla train station. We escaped and drove across town to our palace that will be our home for the next 2 nights. It was very grand and very English country housey. We were shown to our choice of suites, past photographs of Maharaja's, princesses and hunting scenes, where we showered and headed down for tea in the restaurant. The food took ages to arrive but we weren't particularly hungry so enjoyed chatting to an Indian family on holiday while we waited. Then it was time to explore the corridors and landings of the huge building, finding huge Bison heads, tiger skins and lots of pictures of film stars and other famous people.
After a breakfast of stale cereal and omelette we met our guide who took us to see the viceroy's lodge; the building from where the whole of India was ruled from during the summer months of the British Raj. It is a huge, beautiful building which looks like a Scottish castle with towers and carved stone work. We had a guided tour of the ground floor of the building (which is now used as the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies) and as we walked in the entrance way we were greeted by surprisingly plane wood pannelling which stretched up 3 floor, with balconies running round at each level. We were shown the novel sprinkler system where, if there is a fire, the wax on the nozzles melts and the water starts flowing from tanks stored in the highest tower. Pretty clever. One room had a lot of photographs of the building and powerful people from India's past and another was now a library, although you could definately see it was once a ballroom. After we had been shown around the lodge we headed across town to the military museum as Shimla has a strong military presence and supports the smaller bases closer to the disputed borders with Pakistan and China. It was quite interesting and explained about the long military history and how the fighting code has developed, as well as some hilarious outfits and a whole wall of guns. After the museum we met the Rimo boss for the area who checked how we were doing before lunch at a nice restaurant 2 doors down. Then it was up the hill (in the car - we aren't allowed to walk any more) to the monkey temple, dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman, aptly named as it is surrounded by aggressive monkeys. Luckily our guide had a stick and we looked around unscathed. We studied the dioramas on the walls, crafted from the great Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, before going to feed the monkeys some blessed nuts. We were dropped off in town after persuading our guide that yes we can walk and no we wont get lost on the way back to the hotel, and did a spot of browsing before walking back to the palace for dinner and bed.