India One More Time travel blog

Map to Darjeeling

Heading to our Darjeeling bound train

Our train compartment

Our destination ... Toy Train from here?

Toy train in New Jalpaiguri - which had no more room

Sumo ride to Darjeeling...cow in road

Tea plantations

More tea & toy train tracks in foreground

Bicycle transport

Restricted military base before we get to the climb

Harvested rice paddys

On our way up...tourist ad

Heading up there

Narrow road

Great poinsettias

Yup, that's the edge of the road

Yup, inches to spare!

That's where we're heading

Kids on toy train tracks

Tracks of toy train heading through village

First view of snow covered peaks

This is a plant person!

Prayer flag poles

Prayer flags holding back the mountain

Treed hillsides

Toot...toy train comin' through

Our Broadway room

Our balcony view in Broadway

Every road is either up or down here

A Buddhist shrine on our way up

Our close up view of 3rd highest mountain -

Buddhist temple

Joey, Daphne, and Bon just appearing

 

Kanchengjunga

Kanchengjunga

Joey is in love!

How about this football (soccer) field!

Here's where we made our fateful decision!

Kids on train tracks

Love these poinsettias

Bon and Daphne - thinking about decisions made and communications missed

Wildlife

Golden hour sunset on Kanchengjunga

Golden hour sunset

 

 

 

Morning view from our Broadway balcony

Morning view from our Broadway balcony

Looking down at street below Broadway - Bon heading down hill

Dinner at Dekeva's newly opened restaurant

Ceiling deco at Dekeva's

Street view of our Broadway digs - blue bldg.

View out our sumo's window leaving Darjeeling

Water pipes to each house...

Hillside living

 

Pass time in the mountains - watching the traffic go by

Cargo hauling

Joey and Daphne packed in the back of sumo


12/15

Our train tickets have us boarding at 11 p.m. on the 15th but we do not arrive in JNP train station for the 'toy train' leaving at 8:30 to Darjeeling until 7:30 a.m. on the 16th.

___

Later:

We paid 800 r, to stay in D & Js room until 10 p.m. when we went to the train station - 15 min. walk. It was very wise to hold the room since train stations in India are 'an experience' to be missed. Crowded, noisy, really uncomfortable seats, if you can find one, and at one time in the past they even let cows wander in and around - yuk! Luckily we were an hour early since the car we thought we were in was not ours so, although we had settled in we had to 'unsettle' and move to the correct car. Again, no issues there, I immediately went up into my sleeper bunk and locked stuff up. Being 2nd class there are no sheets, blankets, just a bunk. It got cold and lots of all night snoring, loud. The train left right on time, 10:55 p.m. arr. at New Jalpaiguri station around 8.

I had a nice chat with an Indian Army captain - 17 years - posted about every 3-4 years to a different location so he's seen a lot of India. He is presently (been there 3 months) in Silchar and headed home for 2 months in a village 3 hours out of New Jalpaiguri.

We had hoped to go on the 'toy train' to Darjeeling but bookings are made months in advance so no room in the 32 seat, 3 car train. Daphne had to do some adjusting since she'd been talking about the toy train much before even leaving Canada. B, M, & I went to reservations to book our tickets back to Calcutta but no room on the one D & J leaving on the 18th, so we ended up on one leaving 7:40 a.m. on the 19th getting into Calcutta at 8p.m.

We then arranged a shared taxi (a sumo) to Darjeeling which since we were willing to pay extra (basically covering the charge for the addl. 3 seats unoccupied) left at 10:30 a.m. instead of waiting until it was FULL (translation:PACKED/STACKED/SARDINED). It took half the ride just to get out of town (traffic) and through the huge military base on the outskirts. Then it was a switchback 1 1/2 lane road up up up with lots of traffic (see photos).

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Wiki Info on Darjeeling

When we arrived a tout at the taxi stand offered to show us rooms nearby. Since everything in Darjeeling is either up or down, his offer of a place 'one minute' away sounded attractive. Hotel Broadway is built like all the other buildings, 'on the vertical' plane up and down the hills. We took the two rooms (1200 & 1800rupees) which have a nice view of the valley but none of the mountains. Now Daphne's at 3 disappointments today, no toy train, no mountain view, and she left her favorite all purpose blow up pad in the taxi.

The remainder of the day we spent climbing to a 'lookout' for a panoramic view of the area. Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain, I began climbing thinking the others were/would be following. Bon came next with Daphne following. My assumption was wrong since Joey and Mare did not realize we were going up and up. The end result is Bon, Daphne, and I reached a lookout of sorts but upon our return, Joey and Mare were not where we had left them. After a bit of waiting we three went back to hotel and later to meet up a get the rest of the story which revealed that Joey and Mari thought WE had returned to the hotel without them so they went back...perhaps an hour before we arrived back. Group communication is so important to avoid wasting time waiting when unnecessary.

Dinner at a place called The Boss Restaurant...mediocre, although Bon said it was the best tomato soup she's had on the entire trip and my veggie soup was pretty good too.

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12/17

After all the hiking yesterday Bon & I slept late...Mare, Daphne, and Joey were up earlier and made a plan for the day. Go to the 'toy train' station and find out about services offered for travel from Darjeeling. I am suffering from a bit of altitude sickness, nausea and headache, also dehydration since I tend not to drink enough water when temps are cool, and it is definitely cooler up here!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darjeeling_Himalayan_Railway

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