Of course the title is cheesy but isn’t Darjeeling like THE honeymoon destination in India? And I totally get it. The mist, the hills, fresh air and winding roads make for some really cozy moments. Add to it the hotel rooms with no fan or AC and just 322 blankets and you have to perfect excuse to laze around and just be cozy in a cocoon.
We stayed in a hotel called The Traveler’s Inn. Of course it wasn’t the Mayfair but it had a clean room, clean blankets, room service and a view to die for.
I was actually miffed for a while since there were no fans in the room (yes I am the types who loves to sleep with the fan on, no matter what the season). However, as night fell and temperatures sank I was suddenly grateful that there weren’t any fans. Out came the woolen socks, the heavy sweatshirts and stayed on till the break of dawn which was pleasantly around 4 am. I am so gonna live on the eastern hills… day begins around 4 and is done by 6 in the evening – how perfect!
Since we didn’t have any time the day (evening) we checked in (thanks to T’s stubborn refusal to ask for directions), we had a hot dinner and tucked in. The dinner was weird. It looked great, smelled great and even had proper masalas but I couldn’t find any taste in it. It was really disappointing. The next day we left immediately after a pathetic breakfast of idli (seriously??? I traveled all this distance to eat the same old IDLI??? The one above does have a sense of irony).
We drove to the HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute) which also housed the Zoo. Though there were not many (or any) animals to look at, Pickle had a ball of a time running around. After the customary snaps, souvenirs and gobbling of snacks we decided to head back. the one mistake we did was take our own car… There are loads of one ways and turns and so when T tried to get the car back to the entrance to pick us he got stuck. We whiled away our time observing crazy people around (not crazy-crazy, just the touristy kind) and eating hot pakoras and home made buns. We reunited after nearly an hour and headed towards a parking lot. we had learnt our lesson and figured we rather park our car and carry on without it.
Strolling through the mall road was so much fun. I gave away more of our money to buy useless crap and then luckily found ourselves in front of Glenary’s. This restaurant or bakery is a heritage landmark in Darjeeling. Of course we didn’t know it till we walked in and read about it. Our rumbling tummies led us well. We finally tucked in and started our vacation properly with Chinese Chopseuy, Beef chilly and a smoking chicken steak, Pickle had to be content with rice and Dal makhani. I discovered the lip smacking delicacies of the bakery downstairs along with beef and pork pickles, yum yum!!!
After over eating and also packing up stuff we finally walked out and strolled aimlessly for a while before remembering that there were more things to look at. We hired a cab and visited the Peace Pagoda and the Japanese temple (the only ones on my list of to-see). It really was the ‘peace’ pagoda. The climate helped, with the mist floating around the temple and the pagoda seemed heavenly.
After our short sightseeing we headed back to the hotel. Though we wanted to dine at the famous Revolver hotel, they weren’t taking any walk ins due to a busy season. We quickly turned to trip advisor and discovered this adorable café called – Gaty’s café. Now it is so hidden that you won’t trip on it during your strolls. You will really need to look for it to find it. The entrance is a little dark and dingy but once inside it you will soon warm up. It is like being in the soul of a true roadster. The décor along with the food/wine menu felt absolutely perfect. We toasted with the Old monk and waited for our food to arrive. Pickle loved his Pita and hummus as we dug into the platter of super spicy wings!
The two day stay was too short but just enough for us to get addicted to this beautiful place. We missed the tea garden tours but our goose hunt around the hill station the day before made us feel like we had seen it all!