I arrived in Delhi, to find the disastrous commonwealth games preparations well under way, in that the city was a bomb site with rubble, deep holes, large pools of mosquito breeding grounds, part finished metro tracks/stations and lots of 'workers' sat round drinking tea, while large machinery sat idle. I'd been looking forward to it, as I hadn't been in Delhi for 8 years and it used to be one of my fave places to wander around. This was my first view of pahaganj!
Not as I remembered at all. Went to pick up my new bike the next day, and it turned out to be a bit older than I'd thought (should have asked really!) but still a great looking bike!
Trip back to new Delhi from old Delhi was a bit of a mare, everything in the wrong place, gears on the wrong side and going the wrong way, back break not where it should be, and it stalled at every set of lights and had to be kicked back into life in the heat of a Delhi day. Not a good beginning.
Sam arrived 6 days later and we picked up his rental bike, and prepared to set off the next day.
First stop: Shimla, in the foothills and once prize hillstation of the old British army days, where the entire Indian administration used to move to en-mass went the heat if the plains got too much.
What a shit-hole! I'd been years before but had forgotten how much I hated it. I have no pics as it rained for the first 2 days of the trip and I wasn't getting my DSLR out in the monsoon. This is sam not far outside if shitla the following day, we were both caked in mud for this entire day.
On to Narkanda, a hard days ride through rain clouds and mud. Visor up, too dirty to see through, trucks splashing thick mud all over us and into our helmets. A woman at one point decided to jump from a low wall directly in front of my slow moving bike, the result being me on the road, cuts and bruises and giving her evil looks. This was maybe the first time of very many that I had to man-handle this heavy bastard bike upright after it lay in the road, often with sam's help.
Narkanda was lovely but we over indulged in the local apple wine (himachal pradesh is famous for its apples).
The 3rd day took us to Reckong Peo, place of permits to enter the valley beyond, our destination Spitti valley, high in the himal and close to the Tibetan border.
Our first view of the snow capped peaks from Reckong P. We had a rest day here and (in theory) got the bikes prepared for the rough roads and high altitude to follow.
Sam waits for bike repairs/maintenance to finish.
All a bit hazy around here, Tabo may have been next, I don't remember. We were heading for Nako, that much I do remember. This is where the brown smelly stuff starting hitting the spinny wind machine, and shortly after Pooh (yeah really) we failed, or rather the bikes failed to climb a hill. We returned to pooh, in the poo. After failing to get the bikes fixed for a day and a half we took out air filters, cleaned plugs, cursed a lot and attempted the incline again. We managed to get to the top and arrived in Nako. A fantastic little Buddhist Himalayan village adorned with prayer flags, prayer wheels and walls, with a nice little gompa to boot.
Walls full of carved slates, Om Mani Padme Hung (praise to the jewel in the lotus) a Tibetan chant/ prayer referring to the buddha's rise from the shit of life to enlightenment.
Part 2 to follow soon.
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