Another early rising in order to reach the site where Ann, Margo and I took our hot air balloon ride. The balloon ride was over the countryside south of Jaipur and was very nice. The people in the villages below us were so excited to see the balloons that the local people were up on their roofs to wave and greet us. From the air, the farm fields were symmetrically planted...we were surprised to see such precision. Our pilot Richard from Sri Lanka gave me his Skywaltz company ballcap as they had run out of stock...what a nice gesture!!! After the balloon ride, we proceeded to the Amber Fort to meet up with Aldona, Cathy, Pauline and Mike. Just out of sight, in the arid hill country surrounding the city, is the fairy-tale grandeur of Amber Fort, Jaipur’s star attraction. We ascended to the Fort via an elephant ride, a first time adventure for Aldona. Construction on the fort started in 1592 and is a spectacular fortress with an inner paradise located beyond the walls...What an impressive site! We made a quick stop at the Water Palace for some photos and then back into the city center for a visit to the Jantar Mantar, the Royal Observatory. The Observatory was built in 1792 and still maintains astronomical instruments for use today....we were quite surprised by the accuracy of the sun dial. We did a few minutes shopping outside of the Observatory and continued to the 5 story sandstone pink, Hawa Mahal Palace, a prominent landmark in Jaipur. We decided to return to the hotel early as everyone was tired from the early rising. I was so beat up from the two days of the safari and the elephant ride, I decided to have a massage...it helped me considerably. Enthralling, historical Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital, is the gateway to India's most flamboyant state and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. In the morning we are flying to Mumbai to meet back up with the ship...another early day! This part 1 of a 3 part blog.