It´s cold and ice is covering the tent again. Slowly the sun is shining on the plains and we enjoy our breakfast. Slowly we pack our bags. Fast isn´t possible here. We are at an altitude of 4900 meter and we can feel it.
Steven slowly puts our mattresses in the bags and I put my clothes away. I feel a little dizzy in my head after this little movement. I have to sit up straight and take a sip of water before I start packing the next things. When we are finished packing we look satisfied at each other. Ready to start another day of cycling trough the Himalayas, a special day, because today we climb one more time.
At the end of the plains we can see the pass. We are looking at the road which leads us to the top. “We can be there at 2 pm!” says Steven and I agree with him. It doesn’t look too steep and although we have to cycle 18 km we are both optimistic. We start the ascent and find a nice spot in a dry river bedding to make a cup of warm soup. The water boils in a whim and with good views we enjoy our cuppa.
The climb to the second highest pass of the world is harder than we thought it would be…..the lack of oxygen at this height is a fact and we have to stop often to catch our breath. Steven recovers fast, but I don’t and I stay short of breath.
“I can stop a car if you want!” I hear Steven shout while he is waiting for me. “We are almost there, I will make it!” is my response while I look at the next curve. Just a few curves to the top, it look so easy, but it’s going so slowly. Another deep breath and then on the paddles for the last meters. We are going to make it, we can see the prayer flags. The last couple of meters are feeling great and I don’t feel short of breath. After all the meters through the Himalayas we reached the top and we are standing at an altitude of 5360 meter! The sign `unbelievable is not it` is right there. I take a seat and Steven is feeling energetically and makes pictures.
It’s already 5 pm and it’s very cold at the top. Before we start our descent we dress ourselves warmly. The bad road makes place for a beautiful layer of new tarmac and this makes us even more happy. The smooth road doesn’t last long and soon we are bumping ourselves a way again through the big potholes and mud. Hands close to the breaks and sometimes a foot on the ground to keep the balance. It starts to get dark when we reach a big, white tent. We try to find a god place for the tent, but we aren’t lucky. We decide to sleep the night in the dhaba. After some hot noodles we park our bicycles in the tent. The beds are made on big stones where we put our own mattresses on top to make it a bit softer. With our own sleeping bags it makes a beautiful place to sleep.
We wake up early, because the first truckers are knocking on the door to have breakfast. We leave the dhaba at 6.30 and we are going down hill. We arrive in small villages with traditional houses. People are working in the fields and the harvest is transported on the backs of horses. The mountains are rocky, but because of the river the valley is beautiful green. We enjoy descending after all the climbing and soon we are cycling along the Indus in the direction of Tikse. The last kilometers before Leh we have to go up again, but as soon as we reach Leh we find a very nice guesthouse.
Leh is a nice town. The people are very friendly and everything goes nice and slowly. We have a nice time here. One day we cycle to Tikse where we walk to the monastry on top of the hill. Leh is having its annual summer festival which goes along with a lot of folklore. The local people are enjoying the festival as well, which is nice to see. We visit the pologames a few times. It’s a great game to watch and you have to be careful that you are not hit by a polostick when they all comes close to the audience.
In Leh we make the desicion about where to go next. With all the unrest in Pakistan we decide to go back to Europe. We book tickets to Barcelona and we will cycle in Spain along the coast. This jouney through the Himalayas has been an incredible beautitiful end in India.
Morey Plains – dhaba 5 km before Rumtse: 42 km
Rumtse – Leh: 84 km
India Total in 2008: 2247 km