Our first week in India started in Kolkata, a place so close to my heart because I'm half-Indian and most of my Indian family live here. I was expecting jet lag and tiredness to last for a few days but actually we were lucky as it just lasted a day or two. Getting a day flight from London was a good choice for us and we arrived in Kolkata approximately 14 hours later (with a stop off in Dubai). It was morning when we arrived so we napped, went out for dinner later than evening then had a long sleep after we returned to the hotel. In the first week, we've stayed mostly in Kolkata and it feels so good to be back. I thought we might be hit by culture shock especially since it's my son's first time here but I think he's just loved all the energy and vibrancy India brings.
It's been lovely seeing my Indian family again, introducing my boy to his Indian relatives and all of his cousins, they all love him and he's been getting so much attention everywhere we go! Several times random people on the street or in shops have asked to take a photo or selfie with him. India is so different to life in the UK and you notice it more when you're travelling with children. People here love kids and are so much more engaged and open than back home. Plus there is so much to keep kids occupied, my son is mesmerised by how much cars beep their horns here! It's a non-stop chorus of beeps. One of the first things he asked when we arrived was 'Mummy, what's that beep, beep, beep?'
We've walked around the centre of Kolkata, including Park Street and the New Market. We've enjoyed visiting the restaurants and little shops and just taking in the atmosphere. There is so much colour here and things to looks at! It is monsoon season but has only rained a couple of times since we've been here. I actually really like the rain and prefer it to rain often as it's a hot summer and rain cools the temperature down.
We had a wonderful stay at the very comfortable Jameson Inn Shiraz Hotel in Kolkata. The staff have been super friendly and welcoming and I'll be writing more about our stay when we return to the UK.
At the end of our first week we travelled from Kolkata on a four hour taxi ride to Digha, a lovely seaside coastal resort in West Bengal. We went for a dip in the sea on our first day here and spent most of the day by the coast.
Digha is known as 'Brighton of the East' so particularly fitting for me to come here since I live in Brighton, UK. I can see the similiaries. There's a rocky part down to the actual sea then a beautiful patch of sand in low tide, just like the Brighton I know! It was much warmer than the UK version though and so lovely to go for a swim. There is a wonderful atmosphere here, so many people and families in the sea and sitting on the beach!
What started off with a good week has ended on a bit of sour note. My son hasn't been too well, his travel sickness from taxi rides has turned into vomiting after meals and he's got a case of 'traveller's diarrhoea' unfortunately. I wrote on Instagram that I've tried my best to prevent him getting ill by washing his hands all the time, avoiding all tap water and street food, watching what he eats etc but maybe it's inevitable in a place like India. I feel fine but my son's cousin has been a bit under the weather too. He's still active though and eating and drinking so fingers crossed he gets better soon. Our plan for the next few days is to spend a few more days here in Digha then return to Kolkata :)
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Have you been to India or travelled with kids? Would love to hear about your experiences.
Read more of my India posts:
India Diaries: We're going to India
India Diaries: We're going to India