This vacation could so easily have not happened. The idea took birth on a whim, and took shape under encouragement from friends and the Guy.
I have wanted to visit Dehradun and Mussoorie ever since I was a kid and read stories by Ruskin Bond. We finally made it, and it was fitting that this was our longest vacation apart from visiting family. (All we've done otherwise are extended weekends.)
This was our hotel in Dun. Chicu referred it, and that was just the least of many things she did. She welcomed us generously into her home, cooked dinner for us (thrice!) and, most important, talked to us for hours. She was a large part of what made this vacation so much fun.
If you look closely, there's the Guy on that bench. This was Mussoorie, and we both sat there and read until the cold got to me and I had to get out of the meager shade that tree provided.
This was the view from our hotel in Mussoorie. Chicu informs us we were lucky: it's rarely clear enough to be able to see the Himalayas. As it is, the sight of those snow-capped mountains is something I brought carefully back home, to be brought out and remembered when I need some beauty.
That tiny figure in the red jacket is me walking away. I didn't walk too far: I turned the corner and waited for the Guy to catch up.
That's Humayun's tomb in Delhi, its white dome melting into the mist.
We got back on New Year's Eve. With all the problems we faced: a train being 10 hours late (with us in it for most of those extra hours), the cold up north that we're just not used to, a crazy taxi ride in Delhi when we were convinced we would miss our flight... in spite of all that, this remains the best vacation I've ever had. It was adventurous and peaceful, fun and romantic in the right amounts, and it was the best end to a difficult but exciting year.