Posted by: roamingolivia | August 11, 2010

First few days in India: Delhi and S(h)imla

Well, we made up a new itinerary, although it is still in a state of flux. In fact, a few minutes ago we thought we had an itinerary, and then the website for Indian online rail bookings wouldn’t work, so now I think we are back at Square one and seriously considering flying to Chennai, or Kolkata, or really we have no idea.

Our two days in Delhi were more or less dominated by running back and forth to the world’s most annoying travel agent. Actually, he for sure wasn’t the most annoying travel agent (he would have some stiff competition), but he was definitely annoying. Everything was promised “soon” or “tomorrow morning,” and appeared to be contingent on whether we wanted to hire his driver to go to Rajasthan. We didn’t really want to do that, but we still wanted train tickets to and hotel in Shimla, or Simla (as it was known until recently and is still called about 50% of the time). Anyway, we visited his office three times in two days.

Otherwise in Delhi, we ate tasty meals (no pictures – Indian food doesn’t photograph really well but I’ll try at some point), and wandered around in very hot, humid weather, and saw a couple of friends we knew in Sri Lanka, and met my friend’s husband for dinner. Overall, it was fun and pretty relaxing, but we did precisely no sightseeing.

Shimla is an old Raj resort town, and it has some cool 19th-century architecture, and a range of hilariously written guide books (I forgot them today but will bring them tomorrow and quote liberally). To get here from Delhi, we took a 4-hour train with AC and a 5-hour train with uncomfortable seats and no AC, but it was in the hills so much nicer temperatures. Making this 9-hour trip even more fun was a pretty severe stomach problem I had, and have nothing specific to blame it on, but it made the day pretty food-less.

Today I feel great, and it’s raining (it’s monsoon season), although not currently really hard, and we are trying to book the rest of the holiday. Tomorrow or some other time I’ll return with more amusing stories, but wanted to say hi and that I am safe.


  1. Wow, that train ride sounds lovely. But at least the food (when you can eat it) is good. I will pray to the travel gods that you get to go somewhere fun soon, other than the agent’s office.

  2. I vote for Calcutta. Vikash and I had a great time there a few years ago. There aren’t a lot of tourists, though, and a good driver would be a must. Some great Raj-era architecture, and a few fun temples, including the Jain temple. Also, not that hard to get out to rural areas of Bengal, too, which I recommend. We took a ferry across the Ganga – Vikash would be the one to ask for details.

    He had fun at dinner with you guys, though he is a bit ill, too. I heard it was a posh place outside of the city – clearly, there’s really no avoiding it.

  3. […] was hilarious because we were supposed to go to Kashmir and there were riots and flooding, but then we went to Delhi and Shimla or Simla (where a monkey ate my notebook) and then to Rajasthan (Jodhpur and […]

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