The girls had initiated a plan, and I was quite keen to join them, considering it was to a new place, new experiences and I knew I could carry my laptop and manage work… Only thoughts on my mind were “How expensive would the flight tickets be?” and “Would there be signal out in the waters?” [in case I needed to make any updates/edits]… We were 4 of us in all, 3 from Delhi and I was from Chennai…
The plan was 3 days in Sundarbans, and all 3 days would be spent on the boat in the waters.. The girls did not want to stay on the boat, did not think it would be comfortable, so we had asked Nithya [ the guide/boat owner] to organise accommodation somewhere. He did mention we would lose time if we were staying elsewhere, but well, we were all confident of rising early and being on the boat by 5.30/6am.
Since this was my 1st time to Kolkata/west bengal, I contemplated staying back a few days to explore the city. Plans were made, tickets were booked and we were all quite excited. Packing for a safari is the easiest – you just need a pair of comfortable T-shirts/tops and track pants, plus something to cover your head, face if it gets dusty, in this case cold & windy… [my 1st glimpse of Kolkata had been back in 2018, but that was just the sight of the airport, I was headed to Bagdogra and onwards to Sikkim. ]
Must share this titbit- When I shared my travel plans with the few friends/family- almost all immediately scowled and said “yew, Kolkata, why would you wanna go there, I have heard it is dirty and messy”… and this was from people who had either visited the city 2 decades back or never been there.. My response was “it is a new city, and I am curious to explore”.. So many misconceptions that actually stop people from visiting a place…shucks! And so what if that was the case, only when you visit, will you know what the place is all about right?
Anyways, after the Sundarbans safari, we were back in Kolkata on 13th evening around 7pm, I made my way to the Hotel, checked in and planned the 3 days ahead… I have heard a lot about Kolkata and its rich history & architecture, so I knew I wanted to explore all that was possible. Ever since I started travelling, I am a slow traveller, not the kind who wants to do hundred things in a day and tire self out. I pace myself, I take breaks, don’t mind sitting and reading a book or just observing people for a while. The one thing I do is meet locals, try local food, and walk as much as possible..
The weather was fabulous, chill and windy, so I loved walking everywhere, and it also doesn’t tire us out. I did spend some time in the morning and late evenings in the room, working and unwinding watching some TV.. The hotel I stayed at [Fabhotel Nest, though it is listed as FabHotel Park Street V] was just off Park street, and so was nice to walk, plus there was a tram track right outside, so I was fasciated watching the tram go by, and would wake up to the sound of the train..
Since I did not have a fixed agenda, I went with the flow, knew I would do some sight seeing, some local food and chill for the remaining time[ if any]. But the 1st thing I saw upon landing in Kolkata was the Biswa Bangla Gate enroute to the place we camped for a night in New Town…
St Paul’s Cathedral
Lunch was at Bachan’s Dhaba [Rash Behari]
Took a short tram ride [the train passed right past my hotel]
Met a food/travel blogger friend at Cha Bar [Oxford bookstore]
Walked around Park street
Back to the room.
Breakfast at China Bazaar
Kumortuli/Kumurtuli- Idol makers area
Jorasanko Thakur bari -The ancestral house of Rabindranath Tagore
College Street- Book stores
Kati Roll @ Kusums, Park Street
Coffee/work at CCD Square on Park Street
Vardaan Market – Dal vada, Puchkas
Bought sweets at Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick Sweets
Mallik Ghat – Flower Market
Walked along the Howrah Bridge
Breakfast at Flury’s
Checked out of hotel
Spent few hours at Starbucks, Park Street
Headed to Airport for flight back home…
It was one amazing trip alright.. Loved everything I saw, heard, and experienced.. So that is one more destination ticked off my list… Stay tuned for detailed post on all that I did…