We started on our trip to Palampur!
It took us about 30h.
First, we caught a plane from Bangalore to Delhi. Since Claudia and I had booked our return flight from Delhi, that meant packing everything. All the presents. All the clothes. I had my trusty seabag and a 60l backpack, and a number of plastic bags. We spent hours packing during the night.
On our flight north, we had a stop-over in Pune (I think?) We arrived in Delhi, took a cab to the train station, and left our luggage in the cloak room. I was a bit worried about our stuff getting lost, since the official policy is that you can only leave locked luggage. Fat chance with a backpack like mine. I had a lock on the seabag, however. The air inside the cloakroom was full of moskitos. There were lightbulbs burning overhead, but the corners where shrouded in shadows. It was crowded.
We left the station. We were hungry. More people, cars, honking, a traffic jam. Should we take a cab? Too many people! We opened our book, looking for a restaurant suggestion. They didn’t have anything near where we were. But since we had a few hours to spare, we decided to take the Metro to Cunnaughts Place – a large square only a few stations away.
When we got into the Metro, I was astonished. Everything looked so big, so clean – it was newer than the London underground, it could have been any European city with a new metro, except it was quite empty. And most European cities have old metros. There was a checkpoint where the police checked all our luggage. Alok said there had been bombs not too long ago. We felt uneasy after that.
We found a nice restaurant without our guide book after all, ate wonderful Indian food, walked a bit around, saw a rooftop bar from down below, took the elevator up, and found a bar for the rich and beautiful people around here. In Switzerland, I’d never go to such a place. The drinks would be too expensive, the people to alien. Too rich. But here, we decided that it was just right and I ordered some ice-cream. No risk no fun!
Later that night we went back to the station with one of the last Metros, got our bags, and made for the train platform. This was going to be an overnight trip.
I was surprised to find that the train was very similar to the one we had taken from Bangalore to Mysore: There are compartments à six beds each, but they’re all open to the aisle. Again, I worried about thiefs. And again, I was wrong. In fact, we didn’t get robbed at all in India.
Before falling asleep I noticed somebody across the aisle snoring like a lumberjack with an archaic chainsaw. It turned out that it was a woman (!) snoring. Oh well. I was tired. I slept well.