Into the Indian mountains

The morning we want to leave Delhi the rain drops down from the sky like crazy. While we are having our breakfast we hope it will stop, but there’s more water coming down instead. So we stay one more day in Delhi, where the streets are flooded at the end of the morning.

The next morning the sky looks a lot brighter and through the old part of Delhi we leave the capital. Three days we cycle on big roads into the northern direction. It’s very hot weather which makes us even feel like we have to puke. With lots of drinking, resting in the shadow and a cold shower at the end of the day we arrive in Chandigarh.

After Chandigarh the flatness ends, we are going into the mountains. We ascend surrounded by monkeys, butterflies and beautiful green scenery. Our day ends in rain and the next day we see the results; a lot of rocks and even little landslides are making it difficult for the traffic to get through.

Just after Solan we encounter another road block and this time we can’t even pass. A demonstrating crowd stopped the traffic. At First the police thinks we can go through , but when we arrive at the men they tell Steven to stop and wait for two hours. … seems to be a protest against the Islam and it doesn’t feel very comfortable. People are telling us that there is another way, but too difficult for bicycles. We don’t want to stay here so we take the challenge.

After some steep kilometers on a small road we arrive in an amazing valley. The view is incredible and everyone we come along is greeting us. In a small village we are invited to drink tea and after some cups we continue cycling towards Shimla. It started raining again and we are very happy the moment we’ve arranged a room. We stay for a day in Shimla, but we don’t see much of the amazing views of the colonial town. The monsoon celebrates its party.

We head in the direction of Manali. These days our legs are tested all the time. Despite Manali and Shimla are almost the same altitude of 2000 meter, we have to descend all the way to 600 meter and start climbing to 2000 meters again.
The traffic gets less crowded, the nature is beautiful and we get rid of the heath. During the nights we start using our sleeping bags. Manali is a cosy town and here we are preparing our plans to cycle to Leh.

One afternoon we see a packed cycle leaning against a wall. We have a look and before we know we hear in Dutch: “You want to buy a bicycle?” This is how we meet the 50 -year old Arnold van der Lee who cycled in 3,5 months from Holland to here. His goal is Kathmandu and he raised money for the foundation of Peoples Trust.
We go out for dinner with Arnold and we are having a great evening. We decide to cycle the next coming days together. We buy food, polish and oil our bicycles and are totally ready to go into the Himalaya’s.

* Delhi – Panipat: 96 km
* Panipat – Ambala: 114 km
* Ambala – Chandigarh: 52 km
* Chandigarh – 14 km before Solan: 57 km
* Before Solan – Shimla: 70 km
* Shimla – Salapur: 102 km
* Salapur – Bhuntar:102 km
* Bhuntar – Manali: 53 km



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