When does one glass of wine become one glass too many? When you awake the morning after and realize it’s time for dinner. We woke up just in time for a late lunch. I should now probably gloss over those next few brief & hurried moments of trials & tribulations that we suffered at the hands of each other and jump straight to our next pit stop: the Vagabond Cafe.
What we covered:
- Bhagsu Nag Waterfall
- Vagabond Cafe
- Shopping for roadside curios
- CarpeDiem Cafe
A secret hideaway in Mc Leodganj, that’s what Vagabond Cafe was. The signboard for the entry to the cafe is placed in such an obscure position that one would almost always miss it unless specifically searching for it. So remember to keep an eye out. The place is a cozy corner tucked away from all the noises coming from the bustling streets above. Clean, contemporary interiors with lots of books in different shelves is what caught my eye first. Menu option was limited at that time since there was a single guy who quite competently juggled the roles of a manager, a waiter and a cook. The hangover demanded a light meal and the strongest coffee that was available, so we had the Vegeterian Brekkie – Baked Beans, Grilled Tomato, Hash Browns and Mash with Buttered Toast and Eggs twice poached. Apart from another couple seated at a few feet from us, we had the cafe entirely to ourselves, which was definitely a plus.
After the short but comforting brunch, we headed towards Bhagsu Nag which is a 15 mins drive from the town center. The cab dropped us off at the base through which the trail to the waterfall and above, to Triund, started. Now I should confess, I had no interest whatsoever in the waterfall itself since I know how crowded with people such a place can be. So we started hiking upwards, leaving the waterfall behind, towards Shiva Cafe. No, I didn’t reach Shiva Cafe. Instead, I found my paradise just below it – an unobtrusive cut that led to an isolated patch of clean stream over the rocks, plunging down with the cliffs and forming the mouth of the waterfall. Apart from a lonely shack in one side and a girl in the other side smoking up joints, the place was utterly desolate with only a goat and a few Tibetan prayer flags for company. The water was clean and cool to the touch and the afternoon sun made us lazy. So we perched atop those rocks and just laid there, basking away at the soft warmth of the glittering rays that reflected back on the water surface.
It was supposed to be our last day in Mc Leodganj since we were leaving the next day for Bir – Billing, so in the evening we went shopping for curios, by the end of which we were officially done for the day. The unusually long trek (unusual for me) had made me hungry and tired. By the time we came back, night has already claimed the comforting warmth of the Himalayan Sun so we decided to learn from our mistakes from the previous day and hit a cafe early. We found ourselves in one of the more famous joints of McLeodganj – Carpe Diem – that was teeming with visiting foreigners. Over crowded and over hyped – that’s what came to my mind at first. After waiting for over a better part of an hour, we got a seat in a quiet corner and placed order for dinner. The table came with a glass top, inside which visitors had left their notes and photos as mementos; and as we explored the notes, we realized it’s not the food that draws the crowd to this dingy roadside cafe but rather the spirit of the journey that binds them together.