Out of the frying pan and into the fire came to mind when I looked out of the car window at the thick smog of pollution as we headed into Ahmedabad. The traffic was much worse than Anand, and the drivers seemed crazier somehow.

Our hotel was in the thick of it, located on a roundabout opposite a famous mosque. Driving through the gates, however, you picked up an immediate sense of calm. It was a beautiful building, a former palace that had retained it’s glory.

While we waited for our room to be ready, we eagerly sought out the swimming pool, unfortunately the water was freezing cold – not that it put Ethan off, he was desperate for a swim. We had to make up some excuses to tear him away from it.

Opening up the doors to our room, my jaw dropped, it was palatial. A grand room with a huge mirror propped up against one wall reflecting a vessel of water and flowers, an ornately carved swing in the bedroom and a bathroom with a modern walk in shower.

The hotel guide informed us of a few walking tours of the city taking in historic monuments. If it wasn’t so polluted and we didn’t have Ethan, I may have been interested in them but as it was the best option for us was to head to Kankari Lake which had various attractions dotted around it.

But first, food! I noted that the price of a thali at the hotel was an extortionate 1000 Rupees each – after paying just 70 rupees in Anand, we couldn’t justify this massive increase. So I asked one of the hotel staff where he would recommend nearby and we headed there.

Located just across the road from the hotel, it was a pleasant surprise to find the price of a thali reduced to around 200 Rupees. The restaurant was unique in that it was built around a tree, a great big trunk arched it’s way through the floor and up out of the roof!

Tummy’s satisfied, I bartered a rickshaw and we headed to the lake. Unfortunately our rickshaw was as old and rickety as the driver and what should have been a 15 minute journey took well over half an hour.

There was a mini train that went around the lake – you can imagine how excited Ethan was! We’d missed the train departure so decided to head to the zoo and come back for the train the next day.

The zoo was nice enough, the toilets were horrendous so drinking water was de-prioritised, a decision that would haunt me later. Heading back to the hotel, I called a cousin who lives in the city to see if she and her family were free to meet. She kindly offered to cook us lunch the next day which was a real blessing as Ethan was struggling with the amount of salt and spice in restaurant food and hasn’t eaten properly in a couple of days.

So we spent the next morning on the train around the lake, stopped at a soft play and then headed to my cousin’s house where she had cooked us a delicious feast.

Her neighbour had twins Ethan’s age who came over to play armed with toys. I was grateful for Ethan to have some interaction with peers. So far we had seen very few kids his age on this holiday.

We spent the evening packing and getting an early night, we had to be up at 5.30am for our next flight.

That night was the longest night of my life. I suddenly became very unwell, I was freezing cold and my joints aches and I woke up a few times to use the bathroom. Having experienced gastroenteritis a few times in the past, I knew where this was headed….and right before a flight! Talk about bad timing!

I took some medicine, crossed my fingers and managed to make it through the flight to Delhi where things went from bad to worse….

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