April 04, 2009 GMT
arrival in Nepal
We arrived in Nepal at around 8.30pm after our plane was delayed from Bangkok for nearly 4hr. The Airport is deserted with only a few staff waiting.
Immigration and customs are straight forward and we are trough in no time at all. as we step out of the Airport the chill of the air and the rain hits us, its only about 10C, nice change from the heat in Bangkok. A mini van takes us to our hotel near Thamal ( city centre). This time of the night there is no traffic or people on the road, so its a easy journey everything is quiet and calm.
Diffrent story the next morning. Everybody is up and about, the town has become a organized chaos, Motorbikes, Cars, Trucks, Rickshaws, Pushbikes all bepping there horns trying to squeeze trough the narrow lanes of Kathmandu.
Makes Bangkok traffic look like a walk in the park!!!!!!!!
One of the boys from the Hotel takes me on the back of a mopet to get a jerry can full of fuel so we can pick the bike up from Cargo in the afternoon.
After hanging around for a while, waitting for all the paperwork to be processed we get our creat out of customs, put the bike back togheter and drive of in to caos called Kathmandu. Of course we get lost and have to hire a taxi so we can follow it back to our Hotel.
Our timing is spot on againe, the Pakistani's are having a long weekend holliday so we have to wait with our application until Tuesday. Good time to check out the sights in and around Kathmandu.
We start with Bouddhanath Stupa
followed by Pashupati a place of worship and also the place where dead people get cremated.
Next stop Patan Durbar Square
Ichangu the Monkey Temple
view from Monkey Temple
Bhaktapur a former kingdom of Nepal
Nagrakot a hill station at around 1600m where we hopr to see the mountains in the Morning.
With the Pakistan Visa in hand we leaf for Pokhara a trip of about 270km that takes us over mountain passes, along rivers,trough deep gorges and along rice fields always competing for a little space on the road with suicidal Truck and Bus drivers. There is carnage all over the roads, breakdowns, acciedents or a guy just stoped in the middle of the road to have a nap. There are running repairs made where ever you stop, broken rear axels, gearboxes that could no longer handel the load, and falt tyers gallor.
We arrive in Pokhara about 5hr later with our faces black from the fumes and dust.
Pokhara is a very touristy town on the shore of a lake, it has a good fell about ,
we check in to a hotel and I try to open a window to let some fresh air into the room. The window seems to be a little stuck so I give it some gentle wack and the whole thing falls from the 3th storie to the ground smashing into tousand pieces.
As we get up at sunrise the sky has cleared and all the mountains are visible. After a quick brakfast we head up to Sarankot a lookout above Pokhara.
Annapurna II 7939m
Annapurna I 8091m
Next stop Sauraha at the Chitwan National Park, Kanu trip down the River, the Elephant Camp with Twin Babies, Jeep Safari saw a few Rhinos , Monkey and lots of Birds .
After a few days we off to Butwal and the Indian Border, everyone ensures us the Strikes are over and the Border is open.
No problems on the Border one of the easiest crossings so far. Welcome to India.
Posted by Mark Allenspach at 08:53 AM
April 08, 2009 GMT
crossed the Border
As we crossed the Border, there were hundreds of trucks lined up on the Border, good for us put no so good for them. The Border into Nepal was only open for Tourists, I hope they don't have to wait to long.
Trucks lining up at the border
First stop in India ia Gorakpore, the Road from the Border winds its way through the countryside and villages. We find our way into the City and stop to get directions to find a Hotel.
The moment we stop people come from everywhere and gather around us, asking questions about the Bike. How many dollars, how many CC, how much petrol she uses, where you from....and so on.
I walk away to check a Hotel, by the time I come back , Mark is surrounded by about 80- 100 people.
We stay in a overpriced Hotel just to get off the Road.
Early the next morning we head towards Lucknow. We hit the "Highway"and the challenge begins. The most demanding Road we ever encountered, the whole Road is one big Roadwork site. We complained about Nepal's Truck Drivers, they are good compared to the Indians.God must be very almighty and powerful they all have death wishes.
spot the truck
And then there are railway crossings., the boom gate is down, instead of queuing up behind each other, they still overtaking, so by the time it stops we have 4 trucks,( 100 more behind us) 20 Bikes, 2 cars all next to each other at the gate and the same at the opposite gate.
We let you work out what happens when the Train has passed.
200km and 7 hours later we finally arrive in Lucknow, sweating, dirty, hungry and thirsty ( Its hard work this traveling).With the help of a tuk tuk driver we find a Hotel and collapse on the Bed exhausted.Lucknow to Agra the next morning a nice 2 line Highway in each direction.But you can always tust the Indians to keep you entertained.Trucks driving towards you with high speed, Tractors pulling out in front of you, cows are having a rest in the middle of the Highway, kids jump on the Road followed by their mothers, just crazy..........
Concentrating on the traffic so hard we miss our turn to Agra. The Road is starting to get Evey bad and we realize we are going the wrong way. We stop in front of a old timber hut with a coke sign out front. The Owner invite us in to sit in the shade and gave us 2 Cokes out of a cool box, within minutes we have the whole neighbor hood starring at us.
Back on the right road to Agra we come into the city past the big red fort and seeing the Taj Mahal in distance. We came to a huge intersection and ask for directions and in a few minutes we pull up at the Tourist Rest House, secure parking and a garden, what joy.
The nezt day sightseeing on the Agenda, the red fort, the outside wall are over 2 km long, inside there are 3 palaces, amazing. One can daydream what it would have looked liked in the high days, with carpets on the marble floors, colorful silk everywhere, fountains...........
In the afternoon we hire 2 Rickshaw driver to show us the town.They were very entertaining in the end Mark drove the Rickshaw its harder then it looks.
Taj from the river side
Laundry by the river
The next day the Taj Mahal, just absolutely mind blowing, so big and sparkling white in the sun light. Thousand of people there mainly Indians, sitting on the cool marble in their Sundays best, all the woman in colorful Sary's.
On Sunday we off to Delhi, they tell us there is less traffic on Sunday ( then we wake up) but the Road was good and we were there in about 4 hours.
The Brother of our Indian Friend Allen in Sydney is picking us up before we get into town.
So much easier to follow someone into a big city of 14 Million People.
He drove us to a Hotel, then we had a very nice lunch at his place and met his Family. In the evening we went to the biggest Temple we have ever seen, just like in dream land all lit up, they had a huge arena with a massive fountain where a musical fountain show took place, thanks Kenwal and Dad.
Dad picked us up from the Hotel and showed us around Delhi, he lived here all his live. The old palace ruins, the Parliament House, the big city arch, the Old Delhi, were we had lunch and Gandhi's resting place. Thank you very much for a great day.
Posted by Maggie Allenspach at 07:37 AM
April 19, 2009 GMT
on our own exploring the city
The next day we were on our own exploring the city.
In the evening Kenwal came to the Hotel with a few of his friends who wanted to see the Bike.
Indian Test Driving Team
In the morning we left Delhi very early to drive to Nainital a beautiful Hill Station. Very long drive with very bad Roads, and it really started to heat up around 10.00 am. Due to a thunderstorm the previos night and no drainige sytem in the country towns there was a lot of water on the road, at one stage we had to make our way trough 30cm deep mud and water churned up by trucks and cars.
In Hardiwar we met Kenwal's cusin who invited us to his family home for dinner.
BEST FOOD EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you very much.
The last 25 km to get up to Nainital were very good, curvy up the hill.
Looking around town a while to find a Guesthouse was a bit tricky, every one saying it is high season and the prices have gone up, so it wasn't easy to find a cheap, clean place, but we finally got one, with good parking as well.
The only problem was we had to get up to the Room on a chicken Latter very challenging.
The next challenge was to choose which Restaurant to eat, they had about 50 close together, all vegetarian, beautiful food, but no alcohol everywhere to be seen.
Nainital is a lovely little village with a nice lake and of course mountains all around. We hire a Boat with rower to glide across the lake, very relaxing.
The next day we thought we need to do some exercise, so up the mountain we went on a cable care ( Indian made, but was ok ). Another 4km hike up the Hill to the view point,it was worth the effort, beautiful view over to the Himalayas and down to the Lake. But then an 10 km walk down, back to the Village.
To say the least we were a bit week in the knee's the next day.
its much cooler in the mountains
We decided to move on to Kausani, ( the Switzerland of India ). Over hills and through valleys we go again, same thing very bad Roads, takes forever to get there, but we were not disappointed, absolutely beautiful view over the snow mountains and the weather was a beautiful, sunny 26c, very pleasant.
The Touts were fighting about us, soo many Hotels and soo little customers. We got a very good deal in a very nice Hotel and stayed for a few days just glazing at the mountains, reading our Books.
The Hotel had a very nice Garden Restaurant with very nice Indian Food, But the Beers were very expensive and had to be smuggled into the Room, because they didn't had a license, we only had 2.
Met 2 English people the next day, which were very entertaining, had some good conversation after a Bottle of of Indian Rum, which Leam produced.
Time to move again, over the mountains this time towards Rishikesh, we didn't make much progress and had to break the trip at Srinagar, a horrible, dirty town with crab everywhere. Early the next morning we continue , but we take a wrong turn, no signs in English everywhere , and end up on the worst Roads yet. Very scary, high up on the mountain on a small dirt Road with a drop over the side of about 2500m with no barrier.
Maggie met some local woman
Anyway with Mark's excellent riding we arrive soaking wet in Rishikesh.
Went straight up the Hill to look for a Hotel with views over the Ganges River.
We met 3 other Motorbike traveler. 2 Germans Mike and Susan, who traveled from Germany to India and now they are on the same way back as us.
Rowan from Prag on a V-Storm 1000 very well equipped on his way back to home.Had a great night taking to fellow travelers.
Mike Susan & Rowan
Mike and Susan Bikes
In the morning we went down the hill, crossed the River and did the sightseeing tour. Very exciting town, lots of holy men, yoga, meditating, ashrams, temples etc. Observed a religious ceremony in the evening on the River , lots of singing and chanting, very interesting.
Standing in the Ganges river
Its 8.30 in the morning, our son calls, he organizes a few parts for us to be send to India, the first question Mark asks , why are you not at work, Dom said it is Saturday Dad. Here we are we don't even now what day of the week it is any more and give him a hard time..
Posted by Maggie Allenspach at 08:31 AM