My Trip to Shimla
It’s been 2 years that I have been visiting Shimla (or is it Simla) every summer. Though I don’t go for more then 2-3 days but even those few days spent in Shimla are like heaven. If you are staying in Delhi, you will know what I mean.
We were a group of 4 friends and started off last Thursday night. This time we had decided not to take our car as the traffic on the way back to Delhi is very bad. We had booked our Volvo bus from C.P / Janpath through Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department. Turns out that the bus we were supposed take was by RAO Travels and not HPTDC. I have traveled in Volvo buses before on my Delhi-Jaipur trips so i know how a Volvo rides and this Volvo was either a modified deluxe bus or a very low end model of a Volvo. The driver and conductors were not even wearing any company uniform and looked as if their precious job was driving a blueline bus or a Rickshaw. As usual the bus never left on time and when we finally moved from the parking, we landed at the nearest petrol pump for a refuel. Why were these people refueling at the expense of our time? This is their daily job and if there is less diesel in the bus then shouldn’t they get it filled before the passengers arrive? Needless to say that the service was very crappy from then on, we were not provided with bottled water till we reached the midway at around 1:30am in the night (we started at 9). The air-conditioning was on super chill and no one in the bus could sit without a jacket of shawl around them, unfortunately I had my jacked in the bag which was tucked away in the luggage compartment.
We reached midway only to find ourselves in a shady looking dhabha. Why would HPTDC’s Volvo service stop at a roadside dhabha? Beats me! The food was more expensive than a 5 start hotel while the state of the washroom is better left unmentioned. The driver and the conductor took an hour to restart the onwards journey. My guess is that they were busy counting their share of profit from the passengers who ate at the dhabha.
We reached Shimla at 8am and I that concluded our nightmare of a road trip. Since we already had out hotel booked, we proceeded straight to it (Willow Bank Hotel). I have stayed at the Willow Bank a few years back also… then it WAS a truly nice hotel. When they call themselves a 3 star hotel the services are not at power. We stayed in the Premium Rooms, with wooden floors and a balcony which had barely enough room to stand. There were 3 spiders out of which 1 was in the bathroom…eeks! Some of the furniture looked as it would fall apart anytime. Our package included breakfast and dinner in buffet which otherwise would have been Rs.500 per person per meal. Trust me on this, the food was worse then the Dhabha.
I can cribb a little more but the more I write the more I miss Shimla 🙂 If you are planning a trip from Delhi to Shimla, please do not use RAO travels buses. When it comes to a hotel, you can find better and cheaper alternatives than Hotel Willow Bank on the mall road.