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Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kolkata: an Unusual First Trip to India

Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kolkata: an Unusual First Trip to India

Old Dec 12th, 2010, 01:24 PM
  #41  
 
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As usual, Cheryl's pics do a lovely job of taking us along on your trip (love the shot of the kitten on the walk to the bridge).

I enjoyed reading your take on Glenburn, having stayed in more than a few small boutique hotels in which I feel that I must fit in with the schedule and preferences of the establishment rather than the other way around. I try to handle it the way you did, graciously in spite of my irritation. I think a lot of people tend to travel more spontaneously and thus appreciate the help when planning their activities- I'm basing this theory on the rave reviews garnered by these pushy places. It's all part of the adventure I suppose.
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Old Dec 12th, 2010, 01:49 PM
  #42  
 
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Bravo Cheryl , for the photos to match Kathie's words!!
What a great travelin' team!! More comments after setting aside the time your photos deserve...over a cuppa home-brewed cardomom chai .
Thank you both so much for this report!!!!
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Old Dec 12th, 2010, 02:27 PM
  #43  
 
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Excellent, excellent excellent, both Kathie and Cheryl. You ladies add so much to this board. Thank you!
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Old Dec 12th, 2010, 05:42 PM
  #44  
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One of the many pleasures I get from travel is sharing my experiences with my Fodors friends. So I appreciate all of your comments.

Femi, your take on Glenburn is interesting. Of course, we all travel differently, and your thought that there are those who want someone else to tell them where to sit and what to do must be correct, otherwise these places would cease to exist.
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Old Dec 12th, 2010, 07:32 PM
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well based on this i can cross that whole area off any potential travel lidt, except for kolatta.

great report..
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Old Dec 12th, 2010, 07:33 PM
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travel list
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Old Dec 12th, 2010, 07:36 PM
  #47  
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Bob, you aren't interested in Sikkim? We loved it there!
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 09:19 AM
  #48  
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But thinking about it more, Sikkim has neither shopping or Italian restaurants (other than some backpacker places serving pizza) so perhaps it's not your cup of tea.
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 12:00 PM
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Great report, Kathie (and thanks for posting a comment on my Malaysia/Singapore thread). We had considered Calcutta for our last trip but Jeane didn't want to do another big city. Now I'm convinced that it is still worth a visit.

Shame about Glenburn - I don't think I would have been nearly as gracious as you were, especially if we were paying $500/night. I refuse to be pushed around by anyone while on vacation.

Now it's time to check out Cheryl's photos...
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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have not read about S other than here, but all the travel troubles would put me over the edge...

and you don't ever have to worry about me paying $500, unless it is for a week's stay at the oberoi... i already like that manageress--she knows exactly how you will have enjoyment and fun---

i think i am a city person with some rural stuff thrown in...

were there any mexican restaurants in S?
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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LOL, rhkkmk. Well, samosas are kinda like empanadas, si?
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 04:20 PM
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Lovely photos to accompany your travel writing. Was there a photo in Kolkata of a Parsi site? Looks like you did some ecumenical stops along the way there. William Dalrymple's latest book, "Nine Lives" describes some of the vanishing religious sects and practices in India.

The colors in southeast Asia are so vivid compared with American cities (she says, after just returning from San Francisco). Other than your bad experience at Glenburn, I'd follow your footsteps in a heartbeat! If you had it to do over, how would you handle the Nampa problem??
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 05:18 PM
  #53  
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If you go to Kolkata, day 2, photos 10-25 were taken at the Parsi site.

Yes, ecumenical is right - the Confluence of Cultures walk included a Jain temple, the Parsi site, the oldest synagogue, a Portuguese Catholic Church, an Armenian church...

What would I have done differently at Glenburn? I'm not sure. Probably not a lot. When we went to Darjeeling, I'd catch the driver before he bought train tickets and nix that. As far as dinner seating is concerned, that's the way it was done there. I suppose I could have fomented a revolution (and I could have had plenty of followers), but I think it just would have been unpleasant for everyone. In the larger picture, Najma was annoying, but she couldn't ruin our vacation or even our time at Glenburn unless we let her. I would just not return to Glenburn or a place with that kind of culture.
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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cheryl---fantastic pics...thanks
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Nice pictures Kathie and Cheryl!

Kathie - how would you compare Glenburn to the Tea Trails in Sri Lanka?
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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Tea Trails wins hands down. No question.

The food is better, wine and before dinner sherry are included in the price, they serve a beautiful afternoon tea. There are plenty of walking trails, and you can do the walks on your own, no guide needed. You choose the time for your meals, and you have a table of your own on the terrance. One night a week they do Sri Lankan food and it is served at the large dining room table, but no assigned seating. The staff at Tea Trails are more professional, and you are made to feel like a welcome guest.

The Tea Trails suites are lovely, and there are only 4 or 5 per house, so it's a smaller, more personal experience. I also loved that Tea Trails had quite a collection of books about Sri Lanka and about tea, so plenty of interesting reading material was provided.

And I checked - Tea Trails is less expensive than Glenburn - not by a lot, but still.

(No wonder they didn't want people talking about Tea Trails at Glenburn!)
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 08:31 PM
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i thought tea trails sounded fantastic after your visit and craig's.... i will expect a full discount by mentioning my dear friend 'kathie from seattle'
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 10:24 PM
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Months ago, the woman with whom we communicated re: Glenburn (when we were planning trip for next yr) is named Darlene Khan. She was most gracious and helpful vi email. I wonder if "your"manager replaced her?
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 06:59 AM
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Cheryl..great pictures. I love the color in the monestaries up in the mountains. I guess I was even surprised by it. The tea plantations in India don't seem as "lush" as Sri Lanka. Is it the climate or the time of year? The pictures of the sun comming up are excellent...Like having the top of the world at your finger tips. Thanks for sharing them, and Kathie for your detailed report. Loved it.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 07:27 AM
  #60  
 
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I finally have good net access again (after 3 nights minimal, 4 nights none at all!) and have really enjoyed catching up with your report. Sikkim is now definitely on my list of places to see!

Sorry you didn't enjoy Darjeeling and the toy train. I think just riding it to Ghum is a different experience than using it as transport up to Darjeeling. I'm also glad I paid a lot less to stay at the Windamere in Darjeeling than you did at Glenburn - I think I might have had "words" with that drill-sergeant manager!
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