Day 4: Kolkata-Bandel-Kalna
Nothing like waking up in the morning and pulling the drapes to see what the morning brings. Today it brought laundry. It’s not every day you wake up to find people brushing their teeth, bathing themselves, or washing their clothes in the local river. But today we did.
Feeling rested and excited, we joined Sumin at 8 a.m. after a delicious buffet breakfast. Our tour bus followed some of the same city route we had covered in the dark, and it was very interesting to see a more detailed view in the light of day.
To be completely honest, today’s tours were somewhat interesting but nothing knocked our socks off. We visited St. John’s Anglican Church built in 1756 featuring the oldest functioning pipe organ in India, and we drove by well preserved Colonial era buildings. We later toured the magnificent marble Victoria Memorial housing the largest collection of British Colonial history in India and got a chuckle out of the nickname, “The British Taj” for their efforts to compete with the Taj Mahal.
Back to the boat for lunch and a couple hours of free time then back on the bus to visit the Hooghly Imambara, a famous Shiya pilgrimage center completed in 1861. We were forewarned that temple visits require that knees and shoulders must always be covered, and shoes must be removed. John and I had followed our pre-trip instructions, and both of us brought a special pair of “temple socks”, i.e., the oldest socks we owned. Eileen gave us the idea to pack them separately in a plastic baggie, and we thought we might conveniently leave them on the boat instead of taking them home. So there we were, feeling smug about our holey socks going to a holy temple, when the tour leaders showed up with oh-so-stylish neon blue plastic booties. Too bad we didn’t know to expect that. I could have saved the room in my luggage and built my entire wardrobe around a temple bootie theme.
We socialized at the Social Hour and met new friends for dinner. Eileen and Cindy have become quite the belles of the ball on this ship, and many of the other guests have reached out to get to know them and share their tables at meals. We have another rickshaw ride to look forward to tomorrow, so hope prevails that the terra cotta temples on the itinerary will be the ones to knock our temple socks/booties off.