Goodbye Glenburn!

“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward.” – Spanish proverb

This thought underlined our last day at Glenburn. There was nowhere else we wanted to be but here, surrounded by all things restful, all things beautiful.

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Dawn brought with it a gift that day – clear, blue skies and a view of the mighty snow-capped Kanchenjunga. It had remained obscured by heavy mist the last five days, but showed up to say hello before we returned home.

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The morning view from the window was magnificent, the landscape dramatically enhanced by the majestic crown of white over the brown mountains in the distance. The only sounds piercing the morning’s calm came from busy little birds flying in random directions, singing sweet, incomprehensible songs.

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A few hundred photographs of Kanchenjunga later, we had breakfast under the trees.

There are moments in life, which you know you’ll always remember. This was one of them; a picture-perfect day in the mountains, spending unfettered time with family and newfound friends, sharing stories over a plateful of delicious breakfast and a refreshing hot cup of tea.

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The morning disappeared all too quickly. Once we got the packing out of the way, we didn’t do anything much except hang out in the room, reading, and then walk around the Water Lily Bungalow, capturing the sights and sounds in memory – and yes, memory card.

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The Glenburn store offers exquisite Darjeeling and Assam teas apart from handicrafts and tea-related knick-knacks. We spent some time there before lunch, wandering around, picking out gifts for family back home, and of course, enough of that amazing First Flush Darjeeling tea to last me a few months. Our wallet was significantly lighter when we exited the store.

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Soon, it was time for lunch. Good thing too, because I tend to get hungry faster when I’m not doing anything in particular. The meal was served in the corridor of the Water Lily Bungalow and it was hot and wholesome and scrumptious. The freshly baked lemon soufflé we had for dessert was especially awesome!

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We had to leave shortly to catch the night train from New Jalpaigudi station, so we moved, bags and all, to the Burra Bungalow out in front. We made ourselves comfortable on the porch, taking in nature in all its poetic beauty for the few precious hours we had left at Glenburn.

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I’d been reading a James Patterson that I’d borrowed from the Glenburn library, but still had a few chapters left to finish. Our host, Jenni, very generously, gave me the book, saying I’d now have something to keep me happy during the train journey. I was, of course, ecstatic! And so it came to be, that ‘Sail’ was packed into my knapsack with gratitude and delight!

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The Glenburn staff packed a picnic hamper for us, for the 3-hour drive to the Station. There were chicken sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, juice and water. Food was, however, the last thing on our minds as we drove along the bumpy, broken, winding road down the mountains. We were pleased to enjoy that last bit of Glenburn hospitality on the train, though.

We reached the station at around 7.30 pm. What followed was a long wait for the train; the noisy, crowded station, the exact opposite of the serenity and solitude we’d experienced at Glenburn. But along with our bags, we’d brought along memories of the crisp mountain air, miles and miles of refreshing tea gardens, and the awesomeness of Kanchenjunga, all of which kept us, for that moment, cocooned in pleasant thoughts.

Back in Pune, I miss Glenburn. I miss waking up to the songs of the mountains and the overwhelming beauty of the place. I especially miss the luxury of not having to cook, clean and tidy-up. But home, however messy, however plain, has a charm of its own, and offers a comfort and freedom that no other place could possibly match.

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So I’m glad to be back home, glad to settle into my couch with a cup of tea and a book once again, but the call of the hills is strong and insistent. I will go back there, someday.

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Getting to Glenburn

Location: Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
(Altitude: Approx. 3,200 ft.)
Website: http://www.glenburnteaestate.com/
By Air: Daily flights to Bagdogra from major cities in India. Glenburn is a 3-hour drive from the airport.
By Train: Overnight trains from Kolkata to New Jalpaigudi station. Glenburn is a 3-hour drive from the station.

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