We took an overnight taxi ride from Rishikesh to Shimla on Sunday night and arrived pretty early in the morning. The ride wasn't the most comfortable, so for the first few hours in Shimla we just slept to catch up. Shimla was really crowded with Indian tourists, there for partly the same reason as us, to get away from the heat of the plains. There wasn't a lot to see, but it was still nice for a couple days. The town used to be the summer capital if India, when it was still run by the British, until 1947. So because of this some of the buildings, particularly the town hall, are built in colonial British style. There is also the second old church in India. And a monkey temple, Jakhu Temple. We walked up a steep path for 30 minutes, seeing some monkey's on the way up and of course at the top where the temple is. The highlight was when of the first monkey's we passed started to run up to Tara, she had been holding a bag with some lychee in it. She got really scared though, and quickly through the bag off to the side sop the monkey would leave her alone. Outside of that we had no issues with them, it was fun to watch them run around the temple. The Indians would give them some food so they were quite close to us for most of the time, even though they scared us a little bit. There are signs saying to keep your glasses in your hands, but this was a little difficult for us, since we're both a little blind. Basically whenever a monkey came close to me I would reach for my glasses for fear of losing them. But like a true warrior I would keep them on to watch how cute the monkey's were.
That night we took a night bus north to Manali, almost at the end of the Kullu Valley, at an elevation of over 2000 m. The peaks of the Himalaya are around us, just beyond the hills of the valley. There is also the Beas river which flows through the town and is good for rafting (although we aren't going rafting here). We are staying in a nearby village named Vashisht, which is nicer because it's much quieter and less like a town. Vashisht is based around the hot springs which flow here, and there is a public bath at the end of the main road. However, it's still a little crowded and noisy for us, so we are heading in a couple of days to an even smaller village, where we plan on keeping this relaxation thing going, but mixing in a little fishing as well.
One interesting thing which we weren't expecting is the large numbers of Israeli's that are staying here and in the surrounding towns. Almost all of the tourists that are here now with us are Israeli, many of the signs have Hebrew writing on them, and all of the restaurants serve Israeli food (along with the other tourist food like Italian and 'Continental').
Thankfully the weather is in the 20's here and we are very comfortable and have our appetites back.