donderdag 12 juli 2012

Katmandu to Spiti Valley, India HP

We had one day to spend in Katmandu so we went into town with a taxi. The Started in Thamel, the most visited part of town for backpackers. It’s a nice place to be with a lot of shops and places to eat. Marika just said that she would like to sit on a terrace for a cup of coffee, knowing, that that is something typical European when we saw one. We took place at a table where already two men were sitting and had a interesting conversation. One of the men was very charmed with Marika and the other used to be a guide in Katmandu. Both men accompanied us and gave us a private tour. I was not feeling very well, so we went back early to our hotel. I had a rough night, but woke up well, so we started our trip to Pokhara. To get out of Katmandu is a not the most spectacular thing to do: busy traffic with dirty trucks. The exhaust of these truck are black as the night and after just an hour we both looked like chimney sweepers. The road to Pokhara went beside a big river. Again a nice scenery!
We arrived in Pokhara and started looking for a place to stay, both very tired. We decided to stay another day and chose for a “ over budget”  hotel: Peace plaza. Such a beautiful hotel with rooms looking out over the lake. I ,must say, all the hotels and guesthouses we saw there were very clean, like that part of the village. It was a real treat. Our day off we spent with a nice massage (it is really something special if someone is just walking over you) a walk along the lake and off course nice food!

From Pokhara our goal was the Nepali Indian border. We knew we couldn’t make it in one day. TH trip was amazing, like in a African documentary. Little villages with small houses out of straw and the landscape around: riverbanks, woods etc. Really beautiful. I had the feeling that my journey had started that day. No rush, beautiful landscape and roads…….

In the evening we arrived Billaubang. A small and dirty village after Butwal, that actually is a really wealthy place. The room was ok and we found something to eat at a place were we back in Holland wouldn’t consider going even if we were starving… It is amazing how you change your borders that quickly!

The next day started not so heavenly as the day before. It was raining…… So with our rain suit on we left a , if possible, even uglier Billaubang. But after a while the sun started to break through and it changes everything. It was like the day before. I made my first films. When possible we are going to place them on this blog.
At about noon we came to the Nepali – Indian border and again everything went smoothly. Nepal is much quicker then India, but after not even 2 hours we drove on. A really strange scenery, the road between the Nepali border and the first India city. Again we found a nice hotel that was booked the night before by Indian politicians. What a mess they made of the place. I’ve seen that earlier when I was staying at the Ashram in Rishikesh. There was a conference going on for the national politicians and they also made a mess of the place. Unbelievable, what an example! We asked as ever for a save place for our bikes and then that happened what I saw at blogs from wordtravelers: we could park them in the hotel lobby!!!!!

The next day we drove to Dehra Dun. It was nice to come through Haridwar and cross the “ Ganga” again. The trip was not very special. In Dehra Dun I found out, that my laptop was not resistant to Monsoons….  When trying to get my dongle working again it crashed…. I also found out, that the guy I bought my sim cards from in Rishikesh rip me off. He didn’t send in the forms, so I wasn’t able to use both sim card (mobile phone and dongle) again. All the shops were closed at that time and I felt terrible. Maybe I needed this to just concentrate more on the trip then on the internet, but still it is a big loss. It was very convenient to write our texts for the blog in the evening and ones in a while posted them on the blog. We are totally dependent on internet café’s now. And in the north of India they are rare.

From Dehra Dun we traveled on to Shimla. We actually wanted to go directly to Rampur, but we were stopped at a police gate. The road ahead was only for Indian citizens. We had to turn around and take an other route. We were warned that the roads were bad, but wanted to drive over the pass. And Although the road was indeed bad it was a great route. Marika met friends of hers, that she knows from her work as a tourguide. I unfortunately missed them, but was very happy for her. It was such a coincidence to meet them.
The arrival at Shimla is something special. A steep hill full of colored houses…. Again we started our search for a hotel. We had an agreement to not go over our budget from 1500 Rps (about 22 euro)…. After inspecting some nice and expensive hotels and some grabby and cheap ones, Marika said she stayed at Wood Hill but didn’t know where it was. Suddenly I saw the sign and we went up the hill to look for it. A big mistake (for our budget) It was the most beautiful place in town. An old palace, art deco and it was so quit and peaceful….. and so expensive, but we stayed, both tired. What a nice bed, and hot shower……. At a 15 minute walk there was a market with lots off places to eat, but after 10 minutes it started to rain so heavily, that we had to hide. It didn’t look like it was going to stop raining for a while so we decided to go to the hotel on the other side of the street to have diner. Again a big mistake for our wallet, but the food was magic…..

The next day we headed for Recong Peo were we had to arrange our permits for the spiti valley. A nice place. We had to wait a while because of problems with the electricity, a thing that happens very often here in India. IN one of the offices I saw some old Indian numberplates lying in a corner and asked if I could have one. I said already to Marika in Delhi on the first day that I wanted to have one. The plates had to be exchanged into newer ones. The man behind the desk said that I had to ask the Magistrate and so we went to see him. A really interesting situation. Two women in motor pants and T-shirt, a bit dirty, that came in to his office where a lot of people were waiting, sitting. I went in and blondly asked if we please could have these licenceplates so that we had a wonderful souvenir from India. The people were looking at me as if I had said something totally inappropriate but the magistrate started to laugh. He said he would think about it and half an our later, the man from the agency were we arranged our permits (he was a good friend of the Magistrate) gave us the wanted plates!!! How nice!!

The next place to visit was Rampur. We found a hotel were supposed to be internet. We still have problems with our visa for Pakistan and Iran so we needed to get in touch with the agency and off course we wanted to place the already written texts on this blog, but we were deceived…. The internet wasn’t working. I also found out that my e-reader was crashed as well……..

We then continued our route to the Spiti Valley. After half an our we had to stop because of an earth slide caused by an explosion. They are working on the road. We had to wait for over two ours that we filled with talking to several people: soldiers, some guys who went for Kaza to pick up the bride from one of them (he’d seen her ones before and was getting married in a few days….) and two Israelites guys on Enfield Bullets.
After the roadblock we arrived in Pooh, found a hotel that was still not finished building but clean and nice. Our bikes could stay in the garage! There was an internet café at the other side of the street that was opened until 19:30 at least and I said to the owner that we would come after dinner. We came in time but the shop was closed….. Again no internet, again no possibility to get in contact with the visa agency.
A man heard of our problem and said to come by with his laptop and actually he did! We had such a fantastic and inspirational conversation. The very friendly man, Hishey Negi, is trying to build up his place, Pooh, to make it a real good stay for visitors, tourists, but also and meanly for the people who live there. Very fascinating.
His Laptop also didn’t work, but he send an email to the visa agency the next day on behalf of us. It was such an amazing

And then up to the Spiti Valley!!! The ride was amazing I saw the first white mountain tops. In the beginning the weather wasn’t so great, so I washed for the sun. I wanted to see the Himalaya’s with sunny weather and so the sun came. And it was beautiful The road sometimes perfect and sometimes really bad, but after two hours we reached Nako were we stopped for breakfast. Our daily ritual: eat some fruit, bananas and mango’s in the hotel room and then stop after about two hours for a real breakfast. There we met the Israeli’s and a Indian couple and had breakfast together. It is so nice to meet other motorbikers. After breakfast we headed on to Kaza. The road was getting very narrow…. And the conditions were like before, sometimes good sometimes really bad. We climbed up to far over 3500m and we were really frightened…. It was so narrow and beside us so steep down. You never know what you find after the next curve… I was afraid that I was the only one who was a bit afraid, but luckily Marika had the same feelings… In one of the curves I fell for the 3rd time NO damage to me, but again my blinker was damaged and the Pannier, but bno big trouble. Just before I slipped on a bridge because Marika stopped there suddenly and  felt and sided. Again no big problems with the bike and a nice bump and blue spot on my arm. Nothing bad. The closer we came to Kaza the broader the road were and it was so beautiful (I know, again), that we stopped several times for taking pictures! We will upload them an other time.

Kaza is a very nice village and because I had some problems with the height we decided to stay for an other day. And so we are now In Kaza Writing (it takes more then 2 hours to do this, including checking our mail swiftly).

Tomorrow we go for a pass: over 4500m!!!

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Dear friends, you don't know me but today I meet a guy who gave me your card. My name is Jesse, and I'm travelling from Bangkok to Barcelona in a small bike. I don't know if you have facebook group or page but would be nice to ask you so many things and also share your pics and everything with my followers. I writte you my blog here, is in spanish but there is a translator tool.
    Please contact me in facebook,

    Good luck for you girls, and GASSSSSSSSS!!!!!

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