The dreaded “Delhi Belly”, “Karachi Crouch” or “Montezuma’s Revenge” has kept me up almost the entire night, so when my 5am alarm goes off, I’m seriously contemplating cancelling the hot air ballooning trip.

But bleary-eyed, and feeling rough, we set out for a trip into the country-side. I thought we would fly over the old city, but it was just over fields and a small rural village, which was still very impressive and good fun!

Quick photo opportunity at Hawa Mahal, (the Wind Palace) the facade used by ladies of the palace to watch life on the streets without having to engage. I guess it’s the first form of government surveillance.

A drive through the Aravalli mountains, and we arrive at the Amer Fort. Perched on top of the hill, it is indeed beautiful and imposing, with the connecting Great Wall of outposts across the mountain range. But the walk up the hill is tough with stomach cramps. We meet our charismatic tour guide, Singh, who takes us around the fort. During the tour, he tells us an interesting story about why Ganesh has the head of an elephant. As the legend goes, he has a large head as he is wise and knowledgeable, he has large ears so he can listen and learn, and a wide mouth which represents the desire to enjoy life. 

Part fort, and part palace, my favourite part is the Sheesh Mahal or Palace of Mirrors. Coloured rugs were laid on the floor and the reflections caught in the mirrors. 

From the fort, we pay a quick visit to Jal Mahal (Water Palace) built as a summer palace on a local lake. 

From there we visit a jeweller to see how they cut and polish precious stones.

Back to hotel and I feel awful. I can only handle a simple meal of dal and rice and I’m off to bed.

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