India continued to please upon my arrival in Johdpur. I was thrilled to be there, especially because of the Umaid Bwahan Palace hotel. This hotel is an actual palace—the youngest in India to be precise—where Jodhpur’s current royal family lives. It is one of the city’s main attractions, even conducting group tours for non-guests. Chic. This Taj hotel is truly majestic, regal, and the incomparable service of the staff makes visitors feel like kings and queens. Jodhpur Fort, in my opinion, is the nicest out of the three I visited. While standing in the fort and overlooking the town from high above, it’s clear why Jodhpur is named the Blue City; houses’ roofs are painted different shades of blue. To get a glimpse of Johdpur’s everyday life, a walk through the Sadar Bazaar is eye-opening. Not unlike the market in the streets of Old Delhi, it’s chaotic, made up of bright colors, loud honking, and crowded pathways. As an outsider, I couldn’t differentiate one tiny shop from the other, but our tour guide immediately pointed out which little stand is known to be the best in its respective category. What appeared to be pure chaos to me was organized chaos to locals.
Again, I topped off my day by the pool with Daniel Silva and champagne. I’m really going to miss the fabulous palace.
On the ride to Udaipur I actually saw a family in a car riding with a goat on their laps. No joke. India doesn’t cease to amaze, that’s for sure. I also shattered my phone running up the stairs of the Jain Temple when we stopped in Ranakpur on the way. Slightly embarrassing for the high priest to see me eating the floor but I recovered well.
Udaipur looks like a dream. It has two large lakes, seriously enhancing the city’s enchanting vibe. My gorgeous Taj Lake Palace hotel—an actual prior palace like in Johdpur—floats in the middle of one of the lakes, along with another picturesque, man-made island. It’s difficult to convey the beauty of this place. Touring the town palace, temple, streets, and garden is charming as well, but the scenic view of the floating palace hotel while approaching it by boat can’t be beat. My only complaint is that I didn’t stay in Udaipur longer.
The final stop of my vacation was Mumbai. I didn’t expect the city to be as metropolitan as it is. The Oberoi, where I stayed at again, is amazing. Waking up to a view of the Arabian Sea under part of Mumbai’s skyline really puts you in a good mood. The city is filled with plenty of great hotels, delicious restaurants, and fun bars. Probably because I was getting seriously tired of heavy Indian food, Wasabi by Morimoto in the Taj was my favorite restaurant. Japanese noms—yum. Also, there’s a bar in the Stock Exchange, called the Bar Stock Exchange, where drinks are listed under their ticker symbols and prices actually move based on their supply and demand from customers. V cute.