Woken by the sound of rain thundering down on the tin roof of the charming English meets India-style, country cottage. Ventured onto the terrace where we sat in comfort, under the shelter and sipped on g&ts whilst witnessing the angry skies thunder around us and the brilliance of the lightening showcasing the surrounding hills, standing stalwart against the onslaught of the storm’s magnificence. Dinner, conversation, a little gossip perhaps, before retiring for the night, appreciating the relative chill in the air and snuggling down under the watchful countenance of Lord Krishna, India’s god of love, compassion and tenderness.
A refreshing morning, breakfast outside, gazing upon the flashes of colours of the myriad birds flitting between the trees and the occasional gentle grumble, and pleading gaze from one of the family dogs reminding us that they are around too.
Then off on a journey, two firsts in store, an old smugglers route and a dolena. Does anyone know what one of those is without looking it up on Google?
The smugglers route was from the McKenzie and McKinon distillery in Mussoorie down to Dehradun. The reason? This distillery, whose ruins are still visible today, produced beer and a whiskey so fine, that it is said, the Nawab of Lucknow would make the 790km journey on horseback to Mussoorie to enjoy it in its home surroundings.
The last 800m to our destination of the dolena, was off road where, amidst stories of leopard and Himalayan bear sightings, a ghoral or mountain goat leapt across our path. Lunch was enjoyed in a pristine forest, before heading back to Walterre, and another afternoon nap in preparation for the evenings’ sundowners.
All in a day’s work.