It's almost a year since my India trip but each time I browse through my pictures, my heart still skips a beat. When I got back from my 25-day sojourn, I told J: "I am absolutely in-love with India." He looked at me with utter amusement and amazement. Until now, he cannot imagine I did what I did -- travel without a plan, carried only a small backpack, stayed in hostels -- considering how OC I could get about schedule, cleanliness, plans. It was also my first backpacking trip.
"After India," I told him, "nothing could ever discourage me."
Going to India was some sort of spiritual journey for me. I needed inspiration and it was inspiration I got. And some more.
I traveled with fellow travel blogger Marky, who I have known through Multiply many years ago. I've met him in person a few times and he traveled with me and my friends to Iloilo once, so I knew he'd be a good travel companion.
India has been in my bucket list for years. But I never had the courage to go because I felt it was too far and too big, I didn't know if I could manage going on my own. But one night, Marky messaged me over at Facebook about cheap airline tickets. That same night, without solid plans about the trip, we both booked our tickets to India. Well, if the two-way ticket is only P27, you really don't have to think about it. You just buy and go.
Our first stop was Kolkata. We got there towards the end of spring, so the weather was pleasant. We stayed in a small hostel that needed a lot of cleaning and lysol. Haha. But I was up for any adventure and new experiences. That was what I was looking for, after all -- experiences that will jolt my senses and find inspiration in the process.
Kolkata, indeed, inspired me. In fact, after day 3, I wanted to go home because I felt I had enough inspiration to last me an entire year.
The Victoria Memorial Hall, built after the death of Queen Victoria as a memorial to the Queen.
The city center was lined with charming old buildings.
Walking in the streets of Kolkata was like stepping into another time.
The Tagore House. I consider this one of my favorites. Found so much inspiration here.
Just a few steps away from the Tagore House is a scene like this --
quite opposite from the peace and quiet that fills the entire Tagore premises.
Mother Teresa's Tomb. I will always remember this visit. After all, it's not often that one gets
to visit the tomb of a saint. The entire place was quiet, too, an exact opposite of the life outside it.
Marky and I got lost while looking for the Marble Palace. And then we met this kind stranger
who walked with us all the way to our destination. It was a very long walk (it felt like a 5-km walk)
and he didn't ask for anything from us. We were so grateful.
Tired from all the walking that day, Marky and I rested in a McDo store,
had dinner, and at sundown, left for the train station to go to our next stop -- Varanasi.
On our first train-ride, Marky decided we try the sleeper class -- it's 3-tier bed/seating format, no aircon, no beddings,
and like our hostel, needed a good spray of lysol. Haha. Seriously though, it wasn't really so bad.
Six (yes six!) people stayed in this little space. Four strangers joined us here.
Marky took the upper deck and I took the lower deck. And if only I brought a jacket (it was very cold),
I could've slept like a log during the trip.
For more information about my Kolkata trip, please visit my travel blog -- Part one and Part Two.