Manali was great except that it was raining most of the time so we couldn’t do much. Din still had his clients over there, finishing their bike tour so I spent those first two days (night and half a day) with them. They were French and although I don’t speek a word in French, I had quite a good time. Beer eliminates all the gaps and differences between people😄
One evening the weather got better so we went for a short bike ride around Manali. Roads were good and views were amazing – clouds very low, floating slowly between the trees and nature around bursting with life. Sometimes it even seemed like it’s all arranged – perfectly mowed grass with small bushes and stones all around the roads, like it all was designed by a garden architect.
I also tried Indian street food for the first time. I already forgot all the names but everything was delicious and I had no stomach problems afterwards (and I’ve been fine until now, fingers crossed).
And because it was raining all the time and weather forecast promised rainy weather for the next days as well, we decided to take a bus to Leh.
Bus was supposed to pick us up at 4am, it came at 5am (I’m slowly getting used to this) and the whole journey took more than 18 hours. We arrived to Leh after midnight on Friday. Bus wasn’t as comfy as the one from Delhi to Manali – regular seater and not much space for legs (my knees are still pretty bruised up) so I couldn’t sleep at all. However Dinesh slept through most of the ride which I just can’t understand – I mean, the roads were sometimes so crazy that the bus was jumping from left to right, up and down and I was barely holding myself to not fall off the seat and then I look at Din and he is sleeping like a baby next to me. Incredible.
The views were amazing though, totally breathtaking. We also managed to cross 4 high passes (three of them above 5000m). I had only mild headache but some people didn’t feel good at all – huge headaches, vomiting.. Completely understandable if one was never that high before.
So now we’re at Leh (pronounced ‘Lay’), at around 3500m above the sea. The town is very ancient and dry, with small oasis of greenery here and there, giving me very relaxed vibes. You can see Royal Enfield bikes everywhere since this is the starting point of many bike tours which you can take here. We were on one mini tour already (lasted two days) – driving (me sitting in the back of course) from Leh to Pangong lake (4200m), through Chang La pass (around 5300m). It was almost 200km to get to the lake and it took us 6-7h on a bike 🏍. The lake was gorgeous – crystal clear turquoise water surrounded by 6000m high mountains, stretching from left to right as far as one can see. The lake even continues to China and since Chinese borders were so close, Indian army was very present all around us.
We slept in a tent very close to the lake. But it wasn’t normal tent as we know it, it was super luxurious huge tent with attached bathroom (with western toilet, sink and shower) and normal bedroom with proper, ultra comfortable bed.
Just imagine going out right after waking up – all you see is the lake, mountains and beautiful sunrise right in front of you😊
Then we rode back the same way because the other road to another destination was blocked and today we were just chilling, getting ready for our 6-7 days long Markha Valley trek which starts tomorrow. Bags are packed, supplies bought (some Indian snacks for Din, cookies for me, and Czech salami and slivovice for both of us😎) because non of us has any idea how it will be like during the trek there. We will be crossing two high passes – Ganda La at 4900m and Kangmaru La at 5280m. Hope I’ll manage😆
Btw, the internet in Ladakh is almost nonexistent and although I have an Indian number and phone says I have 3G available, I don’t. And hotel/restaurant wifis are pretty much the same so I really can’t upload any pictures yet. Will try later on😉