VAEGABOND - Pakistan & India - anniversary & big plans
We're still totally blown away and still trying to process all these impressions and impulses! There were an incredible amount of changes again last month, which, of course, still concerns and amazes us! We'll try and put it into 3 simple sentences: 1. We're more than 3 years on our world journey by bike now - incredible! 2. We've crossed the border of Pakistan and India - in Country Nr.21! 3. We will realize our heart project soon - our first book!
But before that, we'll go back into our past days in Pakistan. Especially the North with its impressive mountains stunned us a lot. After cycling over the second highest high plateau in the world and the home of Himalaya bears, we went from Skardu to the beautiful Hunza Valles. There, we tried the best apples, pears and dried apricots in our whole life! The view onto the mountains all around was fantastic. Every now and then, there was a mountain, completely covered in snow, peaking through. The natives often laughed at us, when we told them, that Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze, is just under 3.000 meters high. In Pakistan, there's not only the K2 (highest mountain in Pakistan with 8.611m), there's also many other mountains beyond the 7.000 meters, that embellish the beautiful mountain panorama. Here, there are three massive mountain ranges meeting - the Himayalan Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram. The Islamic Bath and the Kashgar are connected by the 1.300km long Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Westchina and the the highest set paved street in the world. Cycling this street was always one of our dream routes on our journey. The feeling of actually being there, was tremendous, even immense!
Given the fact, that we were already in the area, we couldn't resist but make our way to the highest set border crossing in the world and at the same time to the gate of the silk road. This border from Pakistan to China is located on the Khunjerab Pass (4.800m). Of course we knew, that because of COVID-19 this border crossing was unfortunatly closed and we couldn't cross it. Therefore it was very convenient, that we met two sympathic bikers from Lahore, who then brought us there as pillion riders. A few day later we coincidentally met again and because this really couldn't have been a coincidence anymore, we decided to travel to Natar Valley together. This region is famous for its dramatic landscapes. Though, this time, without our bikes and with their two motorcycles.
When it comes to streets we did experience a lot the past 20 years and we really thought it couldn't get any worse, but what they called a "street" in the Naltar Valley was outrageous and up to this point one of the most tiring and most dangerous stages, that we've experienced. The asphalt went down the drain after just a few meters. Big rocks and boulders made up the way. Every now and then there were slopes coming towards us which made even the motorcycles give up and we had to get off and push them. Lord, were we glad in that moment, that we didn't go by our heavy tourbikes. Plus the journey obviously went back the same way. The terrain even got so hard to handle, that we had to switch to a Jeep with all wheel drive, because going by motorcycle became impossible.
But even with a start like that, all the way up, at the end of the valley, there was a big surprise expecting us: two marvellous seas. One of them sparkled in a shining turquoise blue. The other one shined in shimmering green colours. The perfect place to celebrate our anniversary! Because 3 years go, exactly on this day, we left all our families, friends, the comfortzone and everything else behind us, to dare the adventure of our lifetime. We just published our most touching, most beautiful and most influencial moments over the past 3 years of traveling the world in our short movie.
Afterwards we continued on the bumpy Shandur Pass (3.738m), where the highest set Polo Festival of Pakistan is held annually, through the Phandar Valley, through the beautiful high mountain valley Chitral and back over the Islamic Bath to Lahore. Not too far away from the city, we went towards the Wagha Border. The border crossing from Pakistan to India, which is famous for its unsual border ceremony. Then, the time came and after circa 1,5h of border bureaucracy, country number 21 welcomed us on our bike world tour. Namaste India! To be honest we were glad that we cycled through Pakistan before so we could already tune in a little. Dani has been to India a few times before, he lovingly called Pakistan „India light“. And really. The food here is even spicier, the smells are even more intense, the colours are even more colourful, there are even more selfies and there and the amount of people is impossible to grasp... When it comes to India you could put a „much“ infront of every word that describes the country. The traffic is very chaotic, so it's very hard for cyclists to get through safely. But what's the saying again: every challenge makes you stronger! We're just cycling through the region Rajasthan, where we've already visited a rat temple with over 20.000 little rodents, the pink city Jaipur and admired the Palace of the Winds and just going through the streets of Pushkars with Millions of indians, to celebrate the famous Camel Festival. It's actually a livestock fair where especially camels are being traded. Unfortunatly we can't see that many camels, because this year, there is a flu going around amongst the animals. On the other hand the festival is also a big cultural event, which not only has a lot of market stalls and street food to offer, but also ride attraction to attract visiters. We were lucky enough to watch a ceremony in which the indians go for a so-called holy wash to wash all sins off of them. Afterwards ther was an amazing firework which technically made up the end of the festival. We're still in a party mood, because how I've already teased, we are totally excited! Three years after the beginning of our journey, we were able to put a very touching and meaningful stage on paper. If everything goes right, we'll publish our book „Verreist, verfolgt, verheiratet. Eine abenteuerliche Rundreise durch Marokko“ this December! Find more information here: https://vaegabond.com/buch/ There you can also take a look into the book.
We're already thrilled, what's going to happen in India and we'll update you!
Best wishes from on the way, Melli & Dani
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