Saturday, November 6, 2010

Darjeeling/Agra Day 1

It is Diwali, fall break this week. The kids are out of school so we took off to Darjeeling and Agra. Day 1 was the travel day: a two hour flight from Bangalore to Calcutta, a one hour flight to Bagdogra, and then a 3 hour drive up into the hills to Darjeeling.

Some travel days go well and some do not. Both flights were on time and we arrived at Bagdogra at 3:00pm. We got a prepaid taxi at the airport for 1750 rupees ($39Can) to Darjeeling. The drive was beautiful, starting out through the town of Bagdogra, and then almost right away into the tea plantations. It was flat for the first 45 min.and then uphill, winding back and forth for the next 2 hours, 15 min.

The road to Darjeeling is narrow and bumpy and I was surprised at how off the beaten track the it was. There was one other town before Darjeeling and little homes perched on the side of the hills all over. A very picturesque drive with the sun setting and the sky changing colors.

By the time we got to Darjeeling it was dark and for some reason we didn't have the hotel phone # or address. Our driver didn't know it so we had to keep asking where the Dekeling Resort was. We knew it was a little out of town. We were told to go up a long and very steep and narrow road but didn't find it so had to go back down. Then more directions and back up again and finally found it.

The only problem was there was no one there, it was completely deserted. Everything had gone so well up until that point. Now we had to find a hotel. We were very lucky to find a room on our second try - at the Viceroy. The rooms were nothing special but we were tired and just glad to have found a place.

The first thing we noticed was how cold it was and immediately got out pants, socks, and jackets. There was no heat - that's right - no heat in the hotel. However they did provide hot water bottles for the beds at night which work surprisingly well. We all had a great sleep until 5:00am when the clock tower went off and at 5:30am when the drummer strolled up our street...but that's Day 2...

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