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GCIRC 2011

The GCIRC Touchdown – The Final Days

Great Indian Circular Railway Challenge

We travelled over 12,000 kilometers; that’s 3,000 more than the Trans-Siberian. On 15 different trains; from general class, all the way to 2AC. To 12 towns and cities; the Easternmost, Northernmost, Westernmost and Southernmost railway stations of India. With 20 undeniably crazy people; from Australia, … Continue reading →

Notes from Darjeeling

Notes from Darjeeling

Wow! Darjeeling is absolutely nothing like what I expected. The 3-hour taxi ride from New Jalpaiguri station is a nail-biting white-knuckle ride along a series of switchback to 2,050m above sea level. And although Darjeeling’s hotels have aristocratic English names, like the Windamere, this high-altitude … Continue reading →

Busting It, Not Bursting It, Around India

Busting It, Not Bursting It, Around India

In my chilled hands is a searingly hot, seriously tiny cup of chai. How I wish I’d invested in a thermos that could satisfy my tea needs beyond two mouthfuls. Instead, buying a cup for each hand, I’m immobilised to do anything, except sip. It’s … Continue reading →

Close Shaves & Photos From an Indian Rail Journey

Indian Rail Journey

After travelling through 6 continents, on a range of budgets, in a range of styles, there’s nothing more thrilling, culturally immersive, and enjoyable, than a shave at a local barber. I had a shave in Ledo today, the Easternmost railway stop in India. A couple … Continue reading →

HOW TO: Choose the Best Berth on an Indian Train

Best Berth on an Indian Train

Remember I said, ‘the longer the train trip the better’? Well, we really tested that theory by completing a 39 hour train trip from New Delhi to Dibrigah. We caught this train to reach the Easternmost railway station in India, called Ledo, where we planned … Continue reading →

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge – Day 6 & 7

Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

After the near death of the GCIRC, we rested up in our new train berths onwards to New Delhi. Arriving in the early morning, Delhi was everything I expected India to be and more. There’s rubbish, poverty, and chaos everywhere, but once you look past … Continue reading →

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge – Day 5

Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

PSSSHHHHHHH!!!! Air screams from the train’s undercarriage as ‘someone’ (names redacted to protect the not-so-innocent) pulls the emergency brake lever. People all over the platform run to the source of the sound; they shout foreign words like gunfire while the conductor chases after them with … Continue reading →

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge – Day 4

Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

Bzzzzzz! Up I was at 4am. Okay, there was no alarm, but my internal body clock buzzed after I fell asleep at 7pm the night before. These trains really don’t help with jetlag, but the plus side is that I woke up nice and early … Continue reading →

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge – Day 3

Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

Ahhhh… Sitting back, taking in the scenery, chatting with my fellow trainophiles, getting some much needed sleep, eating some great Indian food, and hanging out the train door at 50 miles per hour… life is good. It’s the little things that tend to provide the … Continue reading →

Safety, Smells and Stares of India

Safety, Smells and Stares of India

Everyone warns you to be cautious. To always have an eye on your things. To be aware of your surroundings. And to be especially wary of men (if you’re a woman). But really, after a few days in Mumbai, I feel it’s not so different … Continue reading →

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge – Day 2

Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

I knew the Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge would be adventurous since it covers such a vast distance in such a short period of time. But I also expected us to waste away on a multitude of 10 hour+ and 20 hour+ train trips. You … Continue reading →

The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge – Day 1

Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

The raucous story-telling and laughter mysteriously descended into an awkward silence. We all looked away between scattered beer bottles, smirking with slight embarrassment, the way people do when they’re stuck for conversation. This time was different though; it wasn’t a lack of words or inability … Continue reading →