Roundtrip Ladakh (India) 17 juni tot 8 juli 2012    English

Day 1 Schiphol-Delhi
At five o'clock in the afternoon we depart from Schiphol to London, where we transfer to a flight to Delhi. The transfer time is very tight. Moreover, the flight from Schiphol delay. We get a special sticker that our priority yields at the security check and customs. We catch the flight to Delhi, but our luggage. We make the trip again with Shoestring tour. They provide a basic set of operation, local transportation, hotel accommodation and an Indian guide are included. Furthermore, you are free in your doings. A formula that pleases us. Moreover, their travel a few hundred dollars cheaper than the competitors.

Met deze sticker werden we als VIP's behandeld op Londen Heathrow.
Day 2 Delhi
Arrival in Delhi. It smells like India. Delicious herbal scents and incense alternate with waste and urine odors. In the afternoon we take a tour to Old Delhi. Visit the Jama Mosque Mashid, ride a bicycle rickshaw and visit the cremation site of Gandhi.

Uitzicht vanuit de hotelkamer. Heel Delhi is een vuilnisbelt. Voor korte afstanden wordt de fietsriksja gebruikt. In de smalle straatjes rijdt de riksja de veters uit je schoenen De crematieplaats van Ghandi.
Day 3 Delhi-Amritsar
Our luggage is 24 hours later in the hotel. Just in time. We are already on the way to the station as the redemptive call is that the luggage for the hotel stands. We return to the hotel and indeed there is a tuk-tuk to the bags for our group. A relief. It is 43 degrees Celsius and we have to clean clothes far. By train we leave for Amritsar. A trip of six hours. The care is like in the plane. You get to eat and drink. The train runs on time. In the afternoon we visit the closing of the border between Pakistan and India. (Daytime is the border open) The "event" has become a true spectacle. People sing and cheer on stands. On the side of Pakistan, it is a lot quieter. After much ceremony hassle just open the border and the border guards shook hands. The flags of both countries will be brought down. The border is closed until the next morning.

De tuk-tuk levert op het laatste nippertje onze bagage af. In de trein van Delhi naar Amritsar Tribunes vol Indiërs komen op het sluiten van de grens af. Het hek tussen India en Pakistan gaat even open. Indiase grenswacht in vol ornaat. De vlaggen van beide landen worden neergehaald.

In the evening we go to the Golden Temple. So named because the roof 750 kilos gold. It is the main temple of the Sikhs. There is a buzzing. Thousands of believers visit daily this temple complex. Pilgrims walk around the sacred pond. Others are sleeping.

De Gouden Tempel bij avond. Gelovigen Pelgrims overnachten in het tempelcomplex.
Day 4 Amritsar-Dharamsala
In the morning we go to the Golden Temple to also be seen in daylight. Everyone can get a meal. There is a huge kitchen where cooking is done on wood fires. There are 40,000 meals per day made. At weekends 100,000. Most work is done by volunteers. There are large carts with the washing of thousands of meals. Entire families like us in the picture. Children want to give us a hand. Many sticky fingers pass through our hands.

De Gouden Tempel bevat 750 kg goud. Sikhs nemen een bad in de heilige vijver. Hele families willen met ons op de foto. Het kleine meisje mochten we meenemen. Sikhs in gesprek. Kenmerken van de sikhs zijn o.a. dat ze hun haar laten groeien en een dolk dragen. Keuken waar de maaltijden voor de pelgrims worden klaargemaakt op houtvuur. Een gigantische afwas is het resultaat.

After visiting the temple we take two cars to Dharamsala. Our group consists of only seven travelers plus the guide. Actually we had a van expected, but apparently his two cars cheaper. We're well into the seven-seater Toyota.
Day 5 Dharamsala
Dharamsala is the home of the Dalai Lama into exile. Displaced Tibetans are collected here. Some come with frozen feet. Incurred during the weeklong trek through the Himalayas. There is a monument to the struggle of Tibetans displays. You can not for the memorial park. A thick bull uses it to check his afternoon nap. In the monastery, next to the residence of the Dalai Lama, monks discuss with their bargaining positions force to. (See video below)

De komende dagen reizen we met deze auto. Monument voor de strijders voor een free Tibet. Monument voor de strijders voor een free Tibet. Gebedssteen Er ligt een dikke stier op de plaats waar je niet mag parkeren. Discussiërende monnik.

Klik hier voor een filmpje

Day 6 Dharamsala-Mandi
Nice way to Mandi. Along the way we pass rice fields and tea plantations. As in many places in India live in Mandi people throughout the year in tents. Some even their lives. We wander through the city and see a Hindu temple. On the bridge monkeys sit together fleas.

Rijstvelden. Theeplantage. Sloppenwijk. Ingang van een hindoe tempel. Detail ingang hindoe tempel. De aap vlooien op de brug in Mandi.
Day 7 Mandi-Manali
We begin to gain some height. Manali is situated at 2050 meters. From the room we have a beautiful view over the city. The guide knows a shortcut to the city. However, we end up in a tent camp with large children crowd. We have also seen up close. In the 60's came in the summer here Western hippies to the heat of the Indian countryside to escape. Another side effect is that the weed plants just along the road.

Uitzicht vanuit de hotelkamer. Bewoonster van een tentenkamp. Kinderschare. Dorsen op de binnenplaats van een huis. Wietplanten in de berm.
Day 8 Manali
Free day in Manali. We visit the Manu Maharishi Temple, where again a big kitchen for lovers. A whole row of people sitting outside eating. We take a walk through the city forest. Women offer great white rabbits, where you pay in the picture may.

Vrouwen bespreken de euro crisis. :) Grote ketel met aangeharkte rijst. Heel veel curry. Gelovigen genieten van de maaltijd. Vrouw met konijn.
Day 9 Manali-Jispa
The real rise begins. In the coming days we will take in three stages 474 km. Jispa is 3320 meters. We sleep tonight 1270 meters higher than today. We veeeeeel rise too fast. Advice is to sleep with altitude 1000 meters per week increase. Here we do it in one day. The result is that we suffer from altitude sickness. Loss of appetite, headache, shortness of breath and bad (restless) sleep. Moreover, we are plagued by very active Indian intestinal bacteria. To force to the inconveniences, we six hours in traffic. The view is beautiful happy. We are surrounded by white Himalayan peaks.

Er zijn niet veel tankstations op deze route. Zes uur in de file. Besneeuwde Himalaya top. Onze auto's langs de weg. Er gaat wel eens wat mis. Hotel in Jispa
Day 10 Jispa-Sarchu
We go tomorrow, the second highest mountain pass (with motor vehicles to ride) the world over. You might say, "Keep going and back down. Ready to go." So easy is not it. The average speed on this mountain road is about 25 km / h. In the Netherlands, have you ever seen a piece of bad roads, here's the other. Occasionally a piece of "good" asphalt. Travelling takes a lot of time. There follows a night at 4200 meters. This time in a tent camp. We have a tent with private bathroom with marble floor. You feel well informed. Even the luggage to carry the tent and you're exhausted. René eat that night a cup of soup and a little rice. Helen would not eat anything.

Deze kennen we uit de Alpen en Pyreneeën. Steenbok met uitstekende schutkleur. Onze gids offert etenswaren in ieder tempeltje langs de weg. Tentenkamp in Sarchu. Tweepersoons bed in de tent. De wc met natuurstenen vloer.
Day 11 Sarchu-Leh
We leave the camp (which I've renamed to "The Never Come Back Camp Site") and pass the Taglangla Watch 5328 meters. Then we descend to Leh. Leh is situated at 3550 meters and it feels a lot more comfortable.

Koffietent. WC bij de koffietent. De Taglangla pas Bord op de pas. Wegwijzer. Man met gebedsmolen.
Day 12 Leh
Leh takes still a few days before we are accustomed to the altitude. The body needs to create red blood cells. That's not so fast. You get every day a little more air. That's what we need if we are in a few days the three day trek to make. Leh is mainly inhabited by Tibetans. Fled in 1956 when China occupied Tibet. There are also still refugees from Tibet.

Het hotel in Leh. Tibetaanse groente verkoopsters. Leh Palace. Timmerman in Leh Palace. Het paleis wordt gerenoveerd. Mooi versierde stupa's Detail van de stupa's.
Day 13 Leh
This day is dedicated to the Hemis Festival, the Hemis Gompa (monastery) is held. Three days are masked dances performed. We see only a few hours. The meaning of the rituals eludes us, but it is a spectacle to behold. We have reserved seats in the courtyard of the monastery. All this does not go smoothly. Where we are, we are sent out and where we are allowed to sit is a question mark. This is India. From a pitch still fun to take pictures.

Muzikanten bij het Hemis Festival. Blazers. Hemis Festival. Gemaskerde dansers. Gemaskerde dansers. Griezel met drie ogen en een doodshoofd. Gemaskerde danser. Gemaskerde danser. Klik hier voor een filmpje
Day 14 Leh
Free day in Leh. Lazy late breakfast in town. For less than two euros per person you will have a rich breakfast. A main course at dinner comes around two euros. Daily is several times the power. Many retailers have a unit to the power stand outside to catch. The street is blue exhaust. Internet is also regularly. Sometimes an entire day. We fill the day with a little shopping and walking around on the Tibetan markets Leh rich.

Aggregaten op straat. Vandaag geen internet. Winkelstraat in Leh. Markt van Tibetaanse vluchtelingen.
Day 15 Hike Leh-Likir-Yangtang
With a car we go to Likir. Here begins the three day trek. It is a barren landscape, but the colors are beautiful. The draw takes place at about 3500 meters. There's a truck with which our luggage, tents, cook and kitchen equipment transported. Also the dropouts thus transported.

We gaan op weg. Schitterend landschap. Heldere lucht. Dorpje. Na de wandeling is er thee in de eettent.
Day 16 Hike Yangtang-Hemis Shukpachu
We have a Nepalese cook. In Nepal, in the summer months is not much drawn, hence they try to earn some Ladakh. Clever how a burner and some pots and pans a three course dinner on the table. In the morning we get a lunchbox. Usually a couple of sandwiches, a boiled egg, fruit juice and a packet of wafers with chocolate. We are lucky with the weather. The sky is clear. Something in the summer are uncommon because of the monsoon air moistened. The monsoon is late this year.

Lantaarnpaal op  zonne-energie. Het tentenkamp wordt iedere dag opnieuw opgebouwd. De keukenuitrusting. Hier wordt op gekookt. Brander op benzine of kerosine. De maaltijd.
Day 17 Hike Hemis Skukpachu-Themisgam-Alchi
Third and final day of the trek. The wandelgoep is thinned from seven to four. The others have been injured or breathlessness. One disappointment was that the road between Themisgam and Alchi is blocked by a landslide. We have 50 km detour. This amounts to two and a half hour extra bounce in a taxi on unpaved roads.

De wc. Ook wel de Taj Mahal genoemd. Broer konijn. Heleen met de trekking gids. We geven een kaakje aan een schoolmeisje. Dorpje. Het geel op de voorgrond is mosterdzaad. De truck voor onze bagage. Tevens bezemwagen.
Day 18 Alchi-Leh
By car from Alchi to Leh. In the afternoon, a little reading and lounging.

Day 19 Leh
Last Day in Leh.
In the morning we walk from the hotel to the Shanti Stupa. Then we descend to Leh and stumble on a lovely rooftop terrace where we ordered lunch. We will visit an internet cafe. The generators are back on the streets running. We would without these devices are not connected. We will send a final email to the people at home. The emails replace the old postcards that arrived only if you have already returned home. The last night we spend with the group in the hotel garden. Rum and Coke is the favorite drink. The guide gets his tip and we exchange e-mail addresses.

De Shanti Stupa. De geboorte. De overwinning op de duivels. Boeddha.
Day 20 Leh-Delhi
In the morning we fly over an hour to Delhi. For the last time, we have a view of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas. Evening begins the monsoon. The residents of Delhi are happy. Finally free of the worst heat.

Day 21 Delhi
The last day in Delhi. The tuk-tuk to the Red Fort. An oasis in the busy city with veeeery veeeel honking. There is not much to see in the fort. It drizzles a bit. On the way back I let a tuk-tuk driver the card with the address of the hotel look. He wants to borrow my glasses to read. Unfortunately, he sees nothing through my glasses. Eventually he puts us off at a subway station near our hotel. Ongoing we find our hotel. Heleen shows a drawing henna on her hand.

Kantoor van de ING in Delhi. Drukte in Old Delhi. Blij dat ik hier geen elektricien ben. Hennatekening op de hand van Heleen.
Day 21 Delhi-Assen
Via London we fly to Schiphol. This time it goes well with the luggage. Hotel door to door we are twenty hours on the road. Even the train runs on time.

Concluding remark
We have a lot apart this trip. Especially the long days in the car (sometimes 12 hours) and the altitude sickness cost much energy. Despite all that we would not want to miss and look back on a wonderful journey.

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