Thanks thediplomatichippo for sharing your travel experience with us.
1. But first, tell us about yourself. Where do you come from? How did you come to enjoy travelling?
I’m from the two tea capitals of India – Assam and Darjeeling. I was born near Guwahati, but practically grew up in the hilly town of Kurseong, near Darjeeling. I guess my travel story began on those long bus rides and train journeys to and from boarding school, sharing a seat or a berth with my mother. She always gave up her window seat for me so that I could watch out into the night sky on clear moonless nights or the rising sun one early winter morning. My dad was a traveler. He was practically looking for chance to run away ever since he learned to drive a motorcycle. I think I am a mix of my parents as an explorer – a shade of a maverick of my dad and a hue of responsible derived from my mother.
2. Tell us about your trip. How did you decide this destination?
We chose Mussoorie because it was the only hill-station close to Delhi. We wanted a chance to run away from the maddening April heat and did not have second guesses in deciding our destination. A seven-hour bus ride and we were breathing the the cool, calm air of the Shivaliks, leaving our troubles behind for those three days. Mussoorie was unexpectedly warm in receiving us, but comfortably cold in terms of weather.
3. What were some of your best experiences on this vacation?
The walking, not knowing where we were going! It was one of the trips where we just followed a road to see where it ends. We ended up having entire streets to ourselves and a hundred other birds chirping in the Himalayan breeze. The highlight was meeting dear old Ruskin Bond for a book signing. We managed to get two of his books signed by Rusty, in person! And the sunset over the mountains just broke our hearts; it was painfully beautiful.
The ‘don’t know where we are going’ walks, Mussoorie, India
4. How did you manage accommodation and food? Any places you’d recommend?
We booked a night’s stay in advance, and the hotel manager was kind enough to let us check-in early. It was a budget hotel and was manageable on our expenses. For our second day, we checked into The Rink Pavilion, one of Mussoorie’s oldest hotels, and was cursing ourselves for not staying there earlier. It is light on the pocket, with good, spacious rooms. A definite recommendation is in order here!
5. What was your impression of the local life at Mussorie? What will be your one big takeaway or takeaways from it?
Surprisingly, we were caught off-guard with the low tourist count that weekend – given that it was Easter and Delhi was burning. We loved walking the uncrowded, unspotted lanes up to Char Dukaan and Landour. The locals were friendly and always keen on helping us out. There are people from all over India and Nepal in Mussoorie and that makes it so much better, with the variety in food and culture.
A big takeaway would be to walk, walk as much as you can when at a hillstation. Not just because it’s good for you, or because you save a lot, but due to the fact that many people and places just blur past when you are in a vehicle. You miss out on knowing some amazing folks and seeing some places that you could have never imagined.
6. How did you feel on your way home after the trip ended? Did the trip add value to you as a person?
We were relaxed and depressed, both at the same time. We wished it never ended. We wanted a small cottage there, just beside a cafe where we’d have breakfast and finish writing our books. It was all true, all those Ruskin Bond stories about that place, all those testimonials on travel magazines and websites. Just being there on our last evening made us realize how badly we wanted something like those tales and how needlessly we are choosing to look away from them. So yes, it did add value in our lives. It made us more aware of what we wanted from it.
7. Where are you off to next? Any plans brewing?
Bhutan! A five day trip to the Dragon kingdom. We cannot wait to share our story from there.
8. Where can we see more from you? Blog, social media?
Thank you so much for this opportunity to write about our trip! Brought back a lot of memories.