In the early morning in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, the majestic abandoned palace towering above the city was empty except for some bats that inhabited the lower floors. I quite enjoyed having the gorgeous palace almost to myself (I didn’t mind the bats). It has been restored, but perhaps not fully to its former glory: the guide pointed out that there were some embarrassing mistakes in the number of legs of some creatures on the outer walls.
There is an archeological museum in Gwalior, but I wonder if it ever gets any visitors (except me). It seemed much more abandoned than the abandoned palace, in spite of being full of the most amazing artefacts (not pictured here).
In Datia there is yet another ghost palace, not yet restored, so the resident bats have a great place to roam about. Already on the way up to the palace I was taken in by the lovely town. There was a spontaneous guide waiting, desperate for some people to show around. I was a little short of time, very unfortunately: this was a palace with a soul that spoke to my imagination, with its rundown, unlit stairwells, superb arches and the promising bright light at the end of the corridors …
Orchha also boasts an abandoned palace, where bats most certainly live. I didn’t see any though. However, I had some close encounters with the stern-looking vultures who have made this their dwelling.
To further enhance the spooky atmosphere, there was a morning mist and, as I was now getting used to, no other visitors. There were spider webs, bird droppings, empty niches, holes in the floor and blackened walls, but in the middle of it all some amazing outbursts of colour, allowing for a glimpse into a bygone era.
The December afternoon light in southern France is pure gold. You don’t believe me? Take a look and then tell me if I’m wrong.
There was certainly very little excitement during the hour-long walk this afternoon on the road from Vinsobres to Venterol (I walked only a very small part of the 8 kilometers, it takes time to take a walk with a camera in your hand when there are photo opportunities all around you all the time):
- I met one car with a wild driver trying his best to splash as much water and mud as possible from the only puddle on the road
- I met one “utility car” from the commune with a smiling driver behind the wheel
- Then there were two more cars, one in each direction
- I met a man on a scooter
- I met two very friendly ladies who wished me luck with my photos
- I heard a dog barking furiously from a distance. As I approached I saw a very friendly-looking tail-wagging little creature behind a fence. I would have liked to make friends with him/her, but the fence was in the way.
As I turned around to stroll back, a silvery tint blended with the gold.
It was a meditative walk.
Although I love warm weather, the sun and the beach, I very soon get bored and restless if I just lie still sunbathing. Luckily there are usually many things to do and interesting things to observe around you. In Goa, on Mandrem Beach, you can:
- take an early morning walk along the beach and watch the light morning haze slowly disappear
- watch the fishermen preparing their nets
- have your legs threaded – this means having them shaved with a thread (I didn’t dare though)
- look at the ever-present dogs frolicking in the sand
- admire the flowers that propagate over the sand before the sand stretch becomes a beach
- contemplate the impact of the waves on a recently built sand castle. If your restlessness is severe, I would suggest that you build the castle yourself. I just used an already existing one for my reveries.
- meet handsome Julia, one of the ladies selling clothes (nice stuff!) on the beach. Or if she isn’t on the beach, take a break and go to her shop for a chat. Warning: this may lead to some shopping!