India Part 6 – Sikkim, Darjeeling, Calcutta

Sikkim proved to be very restful, despite the cold. It also felt very remote, due to the small population, most of whom are perched on the side of mountains. On the Friday Dad and I took a jeep tour of Western Sikkim, the highlight of which was Khecheopalri lake. Legend claims that should a leaf land on the lake's surface, a bird will land to take it away. It was an incredibly peaceful place, prayer flags fluttering in the breeze.

Saturday I went for a hike of about 12 miles to visit the Rani Dhunga, a cave near Pelling. The trek was harder than I anticipated, and I was shocked at my heartrate for most of it. Much to my shame, there were people climbing the same trail with 50kg bags of concrete.

After Sikkim we returned to Darjeeling. The mountains there were still hidden by clouds and we spent much of the time resting. On Tuesday we took shared jeep down from the mountain then an overnight train to Calcutta.

Calcutta is a calmer city than I expected, and fairly easy to get around. So far I've visited the main museum (I am becoming a connisseur of bad taxidermy) and took an epic hike to the sculptor's district, walking back along the banks of the river. I'm here for a couple more nights then I say goodbye to Dad before setting off on my journey back West via Varanasi.

Having been away for so long, I'm missing certain home comforts. I was very glad to find Raj's Spanish Cafe, which serves pasta and pesto. It was so good last night that I'm going to have the same thing again tonight.

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