September 11, 2012
Reached Shimla at around 6:00 in the morning. Asked people for directions, and walked to the Railway station in about 30 minutes. Brushed my teeth at the station and was wondering what to do next. The Toy Train to Kalka was at 10:30 so I had about 3 hours to kill.
So I decided to head out again onto the streets. Everything was still closed for it was not even 7:00. I managed to find a small roadside hotel serving hot Poori, and settled down in there for a while. After roaming around the deserted town for a while longer, returned to the station. Sat in the waiting room and read a book, and did some time pass before the train arrived. I got in and settled in my seat.
I was expecting this train ride to be fun, and initially it was, but soon it got boring. Again, the view and landscapes were more or less mediocre and I kinda dozed off after a while. The view kept getting worse as we headed down the mountain range, and as we neared Kalka, there was nothing but garbage and filth next to the train track. It was actually pretty disgusting.
The train reached Kalka at around 4:30 PM, and my next train to Delhi was at 5:45. Did some time pass at the station and watched TV on the platform while waiting for the Shatabdi Express to arrive.
This train was very well maintained and one of the best trains I’ve ever been in. I actually felt like I was on-board an aircraft rather than a train. It also moved pretty fast. The compartment was pretty much empty and I therefore had the liberty to sit with my legs stretched out. They served some pretty good food mid way through and we reached Delhi earlier than the scheduled time, at around 9:30 PM.
I initially had a couch in Delhi, but the girl I was supposed to Couchsurf with had to travel on emergency to Mumbai. She said she’d be back in a day, so I had to again find a place for myself in Delhi for a night. This time around, I asked a rickshaw guy to take me to a decent place, where I could get a air-conditioned room for around 500 bucks. He took me to a couple of hotels but everyone quoted around 1000. Unable to find an A/C room in my budget, finally zeroed in on a regular room for 500 bucks in the better part of Paharganj.
I had a quick shower before hitting the sack.
Day 19: Dharmshala (McLeodGanj)
Day 21 – 23: Delhi