The buildings of Gangtok look like a river of multi-coloured Lego bricks spilled down the mountain. Like many places in Sikkim, it has clearly grown organically down the slopes from a sleepy town to a large bustling city.

We were staying at a Bed & Breakfast, which sat just outside the city centre and on top of a local bookshop. There’s monasteries and sights to fill a couple of days here, but most of our time was initially spent in coffee shops and wandering the city. At 4500ft altitude, It was hard to differentiate the mist from the clouds which hung around us, and we were frequently joined by heavy downpours and fierce thunder throughout the night.

The sky eventually moved from ash coloured clouds to blue skies, revealing great views of the surrounding areas, with the snowy Himalayas peaking over the ridges in the distance. The streets meander down the mountainside, lined with stalls and shops selling the familiar groceries and snacks that you get accustomed to across India. Due to the proximity with Tibet, the culture and cuisines have spilled over the border so there are plenty of Tibetan restaurants to eat at.

Unfortunately on this occasion, the food was my downfall. I fell victim to Gangtok Belly (the Himalayan version of Delhi Belly), and proceeded to spend the following 36 hours expertly performing the bed-bathroom relay.

The following day, we would be returning the Kolkota via a 4 hour drive and then a 10 hour night-train. With the grim thought of myself building a long friendship with an Indian train toilet, I took enough Immodium to block the river Ganges, and hoped for the best…See you in my final India stop, Kolkata!

 

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