Day 3 Wednesday 4 July. Srinagar

We can see the old fort on the hill from our houseboat so we decided to cycle to that side of town. We also needed to get to an internet café to let everyone at home know we arrived here safely. It was a hectic day. We continually got lost in small back streets that wound around in circles. When we stopped to ask for directions everyone was helpful but we received conflicting information. “You need to go up there and turn to the right” as his hand indicated up there and to the left. “No no certainly if you want Residency Road don’t listen to him. Go back the way you just came and turn at the next road to your left” as the other man points back up the hill and indicates a right turn.

Amazingly we did find the internet and we did find our way back home. We also met some interesting characters. One man bought us six cups of chai, cake and snacks from a stall while he babbled on about life, religion and other things I have no idea about. He had the ability to talk non stop in English while breathing through his nose. When we left he shook our hands. “I wish you the goodness of all mankind, womankind, children kind and the safety of Jesus’s Mother Mary, Mohamed, Krishna and the Queen of England.” India is a powerful stimulant affecting all your senses all at once.

We can’t stop without being the centre of attention. People want to know where we are from, our names, where we are cycling from and how much our bikes are worth. Usually in that order. We cycled around Srinagar for eight hours and came back to our houseboat exhausted. We swam in the lake, went for another paddle in the shikara and went through our gear. Habib offered to send Alan’s bike bag to the GPO in Delhi which will save him a lot of hassle trying to forward it to a hotel we would have to ensure we got to in three months.