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Whatever u decide to go from Calcutta DO NOT EVER THINK TO GO BY BUS OR CAR. It will be the. Worst experience of your life. The road are soo bad… I drove allot in my life and ive been in many different place but this road (main road, they call here the highway from Calcutta to Siliguri) is a nightmare. The holes in the road are so big sometimes that i can sit down in the hole and if you drive u cant see me inside. The traffic, the dust, the SMOG!!!! It’s official this driving day is the worst in my life…
We left at 5.30AM and stop for sleeping only half way trhu at 9PM. I was sooo tyred, headeache, sore trhoe, my eyes were burning from the dust and smog. In this tiny little car. Anyway avoid Bus, or car with driver. Best and easy option is to fly and then get the 4WD taxi, or if u dont fly u can take the train that takes up to 12 hours. U can book the tiket ant the international traintiket office. Its a bit hard to organize a tiket but eventually after few hours in the office where u fill up forms and wait and all the stuff. Anyway good luck with all your choice.
On top of that we stopped on the way to Sikkim at 9pm in a country town, we asked for a room and they sayd no room for international people !?!?!? WTFK i didn’t know if kick him in the balls or laugh…. And i chose for the second one….offcourse:) . But on my way out they called me back again and approved to have a “whiteskin” in theyr hotel. Room bit stinky linen dirty hahaha but it was only for the nite and anyway I always travel with a light sleepingbed.

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Ooooo yess finally after 2 weeks I’ve got internet and my Blackberry service on so i can update all my movement. Short story from the past days, landed in Chennai, 5 days around there then 3 days in Tiruvannamalai, 3 days in Bangalore, 4 days in Calcutta. And today on the way up to Sikkim. This guy that i have meet on Couchsurfing suggested me this other guy who sometimes is organizing tour up north. So after spending the nite at his house with his all family, we start our trip at 5.30 AM to avoid traffic jam. Is a warm sunny stiky day but after 4 days of Calcutta is nice to see some farms and green landscape.

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And finally is my journey is begun. At 21.15 on the metro from Brighton to Flinder street, then change train to Southern cross where with the Skybus I’ve reach Melbourne Airport at 10.40PM. Bit of waiting for the chek-in and then after walking around few shops in the airport we get trhu the custom and again waiting to jump on the plane and fly away…

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Getting ready

I’m getting ready and organising my bags and stuff to take to my 2 months in India. I will travel from south to north so I will have to take a different range of clothing from hot summer to cold mountain.
So far thats my list (just to give you an Idea of what is my travel list)
– 4 tshirts
– 2 shorts
– 2 hodies
– 1 long pants
– belt
– underwear

– thongs
– reefsandals
– shoes
– towel
– bedbag

– sunglasses
– suncream
– firstaid kit
– imodium and other stuff
– gel dryclean
– wettissue
– plastic portable knife-fork-spoon

– camera
– pc
– miniharddisk
– 8GB usb
– gopro
– mobilephone
– differnt chargers
– international power adapter
– torch
– ipod
– watch
– earplug
– beauty case

– LonelyPlanet
– folder with tikets and maps
– passport + photocopy of passport and photocopy of Indian visa
– passport photos
– Indian cash
– US $
– Neckwallet for money and Passport
– Travelcredit card
– Credit Card

and for the flyght…. 2maxi bags of Maltesers, 2maxi bags of Pods, 1 bag of Baiocchi. Yes ok I’m ready ahhahahaha

Those are the medicine I bought today… you know…. just in case 😉

 

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And now we are on the VISA section. I’ve cheked online few sources about Visa etc but then I’ve decided to go to the office who will organize the Visa for you. Here in Melbourne this office is in the city in Swanson street @ Part 4 Suite, Level 12, 55 Swanston Street.

India visa office Melbourne

So Tuesday 20 Sep. I went to this office to try to do the Visa, wait for 20 minutes my turn, I already knew that i could not apply for the visa because as soon as i get in the office Visa one big sign says ” We accept only Visa applications made via Internet ” … so I decided to do the queue anyway to have some informations.
I’ve ask how long it takes to get the visa because we have already booked the fly the for the 29, and the guy asked me what type of passport I have, and because I hold an Italian passport and not from the Commonwealth I have to wait from 10 days to 2 weeks, instead of 5 days like one Australian citizen. Noooooooooooo !!!!!!!

First thing i went to the Emirates office just around the corner on Collins st. and changed my fly to the 6th October, that was no problem, they changed my fly in 5 minutes easy, the problem now is AirAsia… no office anywhere, you can contact them only online…. or calling them @ 5$ per minute…..

Back home straight on the Visa website http://www.vfs-in-au.net/ and apply for the Tourist Visa fill up the Form prit it out the result.
The next day with the result of my form I went back at the office in Swanston street. Next to the Visa office is another sort of internet point, copy center etc who work primary with all the people who are there for Visa, Passport, etc. The documents you need to apply for your Indian Visa are:

– PASSPORT
– PASSPORT FOTO ( 1x)
– COPY OF THE RECIPE ( AFTER YOU LODGE HERE  http://www.vfs-in-au.net/ )
– PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR DETAILS ON THE PASSPORT
– PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR VALID AUSTRALIAN VISA  (if you are not resident …. off course 😉 )

I went to the office next door and they can do the:
– Passport foto – 10 $
– Photocopy of your details – 50 cent
– Photocopy of Australian Visa – 50 cents
– Print the Visa – 50 cents
If you need they have 10 computers and you can use for 5 minutes for free.

With all my papers I went back again in the queue (one tips, once you get there, before do all the paper copy, foto, printing, etc, get the ticket with your number at the main entrance first and then do all what you have to do so you don’t have to wait forever) and finally at the desk where i give all my documents to the lady, she put everything in one plastic envelope with one number inside, I’ve payd 110$ (better cash otherwise they charge you 5%) and the lady gave to me a docket with the information:

– REFERENCE NUMBER ( that you need if you want to check when your Passport is ready to be collected)
– WEBSITE http://www.vfs-in-au.net/ (where you can chek if the Passport is ready)  Personally ive used directly this link to check for my visa because is quicker Visacheck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as i did the payment i got one email on my Blackberry from the VSFinfo ( the company who organize the Visa )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All done, I tough I will have to wait at least 10 days for sure, so I was already thinking to go to visit some friends in Portsea and some others in Geelong, spending some time here and there. After one day I try to check this link that i got online, so I’ve put the code on my docket my date of birth and as results it says “Your application is under valuation”, well good someone is looking at it 🙂
The same nite at 11PM I was checking for some email and ended up checking again for my Visa, but this time the message changed to ” your application and Passport is ready to be collected at our office between 10AM and 3PM, thank you” ….. I could not believe that, after 24 hours I have already my Indian Visa!!!

The day after i went straight to the office and with my docket i collect my passport with my visa! Runed to the Emirates office and changed my fly back again from the 6th to the 29sept.

This is crazy but i got my Visa in superfast time…. probably they like Italians ahahhahahah

 

 

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Ok I’m still in Australia at the moment but I’m in a good poynt…

I’ve started 3 weeks ago thinking about where to go and when I cam in Melbourne to visit my friend Gus he gave me some suggestions and the most interesting one was India. So the same day I’ve tooked the Lonely Planet Book about India
Lonely Planet India

So happy for my new book as soon as I came up to Mt.Buller I started looking at the different region and places and maps and pictures etc.

Yes, it’s India i thoug! Soon i’ve started to look online as well, WikiTravel India, looking for some touristic group on Facebook, etc.

A friend of mine suggested me to contact the Indian High Commission in Australia and check their website.

I’ve even checked ” dove siamo nel mondo ” (where we are in the world) It’s one italian website from the Italian Foreign Minister where you can log in and write about where you are and where you will go during your travels.

Then I’ve checked ” viaggiare sicuri ” (travel safe) another italian website where you can chek all the information about problems natural emergency, wars, all kind of problems… And you even have all the informations about the place where you like to go.

After that the big step, looking for the flights and where to fly into. This is a long session, I spent nearly 5 hours on internet try to combine Airlines and place to fly into and price. Finally I’ve find a really good deal: Fly Emirates from Melbourne to Kualalumpur for 65$…. (65$ only for the tax, because I have used my skymiles so i fly for free) Then from Kualalumpur to Chennai for 98$ with AirAsia, total 163$ from Melbourne to India… not bad 😉
A good website to find flights is Skyscanner, tx to that i find all my flights to and from India.

Booked my flights, chosen my spot on the fly, checked in, I’m ready to fly… Thursday 29 September at 3.20AM from Melbourne and then from Kualalumpur to Chennai, arriving in India at 6.00PM of the 29th.

Then is time to looking for a place to stay and to visit once arrived there so I’ve start contact few people from Chennai thru Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is one of the best source for travellers you can find on the web, I’m member of CS since 2004 and I’ve uset it allot douring my travels, for find informations from real locals, for a drink, for a couch were i could sleep or for just using the shower 🙂 but always fantastic experiences.

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