Tuesday, November 15, 2011

India, 27-10-2011 - 05-11-2011

"Why nobody is helping us?!"
Very touristic, noisy, dirty and polluted - this was the image of India that we always had in our heads. That's why we were not so looking forward to cross India. During the first days there Johan couldn't stop wondering why nobody is helping us on our way. Of course, we were not anymore the local stars or road kings as we were in Iran or Pakistan. In India we needed to come down to earth - there we were just ones of thousands tourists and only our bike made us a little bit more special. We got really spoiled by attention of people in Iran and Pakistan! After meeting welcome and helpful Iranians and Pakistanis the Indians introduced to us as cheeky people who were just staring at us, didn't rush to help, but didn't feel any shame to sit on our bike or at least touch our personal stuff without asking. What a wild nation!
Except beautiful landscape on the foothills of the Himalaya Indian streets proved the image of a dirty country. The holy cows, wild monkeys and dirty street dogs have a tough survival battle in the mounts of garbage and it is obvious who is the winner.
Only in the mountains we could enjoy the fresh air and the quiet environment surrounding us. The rest of the time we wanted to stuck our noses because of polluted air and our ears because annoying noise on the road.
But holy India had some nice surprises to offer as well. First of all we couldn't stop enjoying Indian food which was cheap, spicy and so tasty that during ten days spent in India we became real vegetarians. Milda even had some thoughts about stopping eating meat, but as soon as we left India she changed her mind. The food sellers didn't try to cheat on us so often we were able to have dinner for one euro together.
The traffic was not so scary as we expected or maybe we had a good warming up in Pakistan. We didn't experience any hierarchy of vehicles that India is famous about and didn't feel small with our bike. However the roads in India were quite busy or in bad condition. This didn't allow us to drive more than 200 kms per day and made us the same tired as after 500 kms driven in Iran. Last days we got so exhausted of driving in India that the rush to leave the country caused our first small accident. Johan was overtaking a truck but didn't have enough time and space to do this, so he hit the metal barrier separating two road sides. Luckily only one of the panniers got damaged, fall of the bike and crashed. But this small accident was the reason for a big event in the town where we fixed the pannier and caused a traffic jam, so also a lot of noise. Suddenly the local men and kids forgot about their daily duties and came to see us and touch our bike! It was the moment we really got too much of attention!

Three Himalayan seasons
The nicest surprise of India was its beautiful landscape that we could enjoy as soon as we reached the foothills of the Himalaya. We were amazed about it!
We drove on narrow mountain roads and enjoyed summer, autumn and winter - all three seasons in one day! The nicest and the most adventurous drive was to the top of the mountains where the snowy peaks greeted us.
There we slept in the coldest hotel we ever experienced and had all our cloths on during the night. It was a short reminder about cold Lithuanian winters and provoked the nostalgia for our warm bed there!
We had a challenging goal ahead of us - driving the mountain passes which connect remote monasteries and have an adventurous mountain drive that we missed on the Karakorum highway. But after 30 kms on gravel passing amazing beautiful landscape it became clear that few hundred kilometers on this road was too far two up.
We turned back enjoying the snow and warm sun at the same time - it was totally not cold for us because of shaking on gravel roads. We were anyway very lucky to have this few hours long adventure as it was the last day that this mountain road was open for local and foreign tourists.
After tasting the cold we had a great warm bath in the hot spring pool in the foothills of the Himalaya. In some places the water was so hot that it was possible to boil a bag of rice sold by locals who make an easy business of this miracle of nature.

Spiritual commercialism
On our road through India we couldn't miss few spiritual towns which attract many hippie kind of tourists coming there to hang around, smoke good hashish (at least they say so) and drown into Indian incenses. We could feel a spiritual atmosphere in the streets mixed up with pure commercialism. The court yards of Buddhists temples which remind more cruise ships than holy places and the narrow streets passing through them are transformed into small markets where tourists can buy any kind of souvenirs reminding India. Many spiritual people walk there barefooted and dressed up in orange asking money for spiritual purposes which didn't sound so convincing to us.

Except its beautiful nature India didn't have any spiritual or emotional influence on us. Probably because we didn't have any close contact with locals.
Last days driving in India took so much energy from us that for the first time during our trip it was not sad for us to leave a country. And we don't need to come back there the coming time...

Some numbers:
KMs driven in total: 16150
KMs driven during this period: 1700
Money spent during this period: 180 euros


  1. Hi, guys!

    I can imagine what cultural difference can be just after crossing a border - same thing with Thailand and Malaysia! I will tell you my story when we meet! Can't wait to hug you guys! Stay safe and curious :)


  2. beautifull ! enjoy your trip and keep on informing us. India is one place I really want to visit, but I doubt we can do it with our kids. too risky,