Beautiful chaos

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Jan 31, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of India  , West Bengal,
Thursday, January 17, 2013

My longest train ride but definitely not the most boring one. Was sitting with some interesting people and with a group of 14/15 year old students who were on an art trip from Kerala to Calcutta (approx. 2500 km!). So after this 28 hour train ride the train arrived at Howrah station.

Calcutta is India's second biggest city with about 14.7 million people! This former capital of British India is chaotic, and for a non-trained Indian eye poor. However for me it was one big interesting adventure and before I came to India I assumed it would be like this. People carrying stuff, buses and taxi’s everywhere, selling clothes on the street, dirty side streets where people try to make a living. Apart from the daily life there are quite some sights to be seen as the Victoria Memorial, Old Court, 2 churches and more for the enthusiast. I walked around a bid and took a bus from A to B and back and enjoyed Calcutta as well as doing the sightseeing.

Another great part is the food; one can get egg/chicken/vegetable rolls for 30 Rs or Veg/Chicken noodles for about the same price. I love it, good food (probably not the most hygienic) on the street for little money. On my second day I met up with Flavio, a 40 year old Italian who was traveling alone as well. We talked, walked around and played some chess (we both won 1 game) and grabbed a beer at night. While searching for a beer after 23 hrs we accidentely ended up in some Indian style strip club down the road haha… No take away beers so we decided to give up our quest for some alcohol.

Practical stuff

-          Stay in the Chowringhee since it is central and very interesting. I stayed at Pushpak Hotel where they have a 26 bed luxury dorm for 350 Rs. Best value in town but only men allowed!

-          If possible take a bus around rush hour (17 hrs), for me this was the craziest experience because everywhere the city is in a state of ultimate chaos which is a blessing for the eye.

-          Don’t try to arrange your tickets yourself at the railway station, it is simply to crowded so you can better pay 200 Rs extra to let some agent do it for you.
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