From Delhi to Shimla
I’ve had a crazy few weeks and no time to update on here. I’ve finished in Thailand and had a brilliant time. Then I went to Vietnam and hung out in Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City – honestly the food in Vietnam was absolutely incredible. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. I had a few days in Singapore and now I’m in Delhi, India – ready to explore a country I’ve been fascinated by for years. I’ve heard mixed reviews, so now I’m here to see for myself.
My taxi ride from the airport to the train station was crazy. There were cars darting in and out of impossibly small gaps, people riding decorated horses or walking on the same dirty, polluted road as what seemed like thousands of cars and bikes. There were marriage ceremonies, large temples, people fighting, people celebrating, and finally an area so scummy I wondered how anyone could possibly live there.
I’d stupidly already booked a train out which I couldn’t change, thinking I wouldn’t like Delhi, so I need to come back at the end of my trip sometime to see it more.
At around 20 minutes past midnight the train rolled into the station and I found my sleeper berth. It was surprisingly comfortable, with plenty of room. At about 7am I made it to Kalka, where I got on the connecting train to Shimla, a hill station in the north of India. This was the best train ride I’d ever been on!
They call the train a ‘Toy Train’ as it is smaller to fit on the lower gauge railways and climb the mountains to Shimla. My carriage had 20 plush seats and was full of Indians either going to Shimla for work or on holidays and honeymoons. Shimla is a very popular Indian holiday spot as it is a lot cooler than other parts of India.
The train ride had spectacular views and I loved watching the mountains go by. Houses are perched precariously on the side of mountains and many people waved as we went by their small settlements. The railway line is on the edge of huge cliffs and just keeps going round and round the mountain as it gradually climbs higher. There are over 100 tunnels on this stretch of railway and it is 110 years old.
The train ride was my first experience of long distance travel in India and it was great! I’m now in a homestay in Shimla, worn out, but ready to explore tomorrow. Stay tuned!