Dehra Dun & Shimla
I arrived in Dehra Dun on the 29th May. I found a posh hotel that was somewhat rundown and cheap. My room (ie the cheapest) was being cleaned so I was allowed use of a nicer room for the morning. The nicer room had a bath so I took advantage and sat in it for a while.
Dehra Dun is the state capital Uttarakhand but isn't very touristy. It is, however, quite a modern town and was a nice stopover point on my way from Nainital to Shimla.
There is a bazaar where I stocked up on my mangoes. India is the world's no.1 mango producer and I'm hooked. I'll miss them when I come home to unripe hard green mangoes.
Apart from the mangoes there's one main road with lots of shops and a few cafes. So I did some shopping and bought a t shirt and then drunk a good few cold coffees to try and combat some of the heat.
There was a midnight bus to Shimla so I went and got on it. I tried to sleep but, like always, could not. I was sat at the back by the window so I got out my mp3er and listened to some music and stared out at the moon (which was full).
By 4-5am, Dawn with her rose-red fingers creeping over the mountains was quite a beautiful sight. It's worth the non-sleep of the night buses for this.
We arrived in Shimla by 9am and I got a room in the YMCA. The YMCA is cheap and the room was quite big.
There wasn't much to do in Shimla but it was cooler than Dehra Dun and did still have a couple of good book shops and a few cafes for lazying around in.
I spent three days in Shimla reading and lazying around in cafes.
On the third day I was evicted from my hotel. Shimla festival was on that night and all the hotels were booked up. I booked my ticket for another night bus to Manali.
By the end of the night I wasn't feeling too well and the journey was pretty horrible. I arrived in Manali and got a cheap hotel and slept.