Day 292: Rishikesh
We take advantage of our last day of rest to not do much in particular.
Day 293-295: Rishikesh > Phool Chatti
After our breakfast in the same place as usual, we take our mounts to our new home. Eight kilometers separates us from the ashram. We pedal while taking advantage of the valley where very little pollution gives us a splendid view. It took only about twenty minutes to get there, from the asphalt to a dirt road where many rafting cars pass.
We meet Patricia who guides us to your rooms where we put our suitcases. We discover the place, close to the Ganges but still with the sound of the horns of the cars passing just behind. It’s barely noon and we’re already on the agenda! On the day’s menu, vegan lunch, yoga, meditation and singing to finish with a well deserved rest.
Day 296: Phool Chatti > Moradabad
Rebelots for the rest of the day but with waking up at 5:30 am (it’s good, I don’t like to sleep) for a meditation in music for something related to the mantra and other things, to follow up with a vegan breakfast, a session of good karma with the chance to clean the toilets, a two-hour walk by the river, another lunch, more yoga and that’s it!
Luckily there were already dogs, two German shepherds and the Men In Black dog (much bigger on the other hand) to keep me busy (and I had to be careful with one of the German shepherds because he was “DANGEROUS” but I had absolutely no trouble with him). A nurse was also present in our group who gave me a splint for my finger (which I still have pain).
Because yes, in the end the sessions of yogas, silent walks or meditations are not for me at all. I’m not the kind of person to stay put, not talk and not laugh. To keep myself busy during my last few sessions of “torture”, I did what I usually do: to be stupid. That’s why for the first walk along the river I was “cuckoo” to all the people who rafted while making pyramids of pebbles, and for the second walk towards a waterfall I was the only one to run and jump everywhere. In the end I got so tired of it that I put my headphones on and I couldn’t stop dancing, whether it was eating, meditating or something else. Anyway, I lost 200€.
We leave (because Imad too was fed up with the ashram for the same reasons as me) so on the third day to head to Roorkee hoping to find a train for Nepal (we were more on edge after the ashram than before) so as not to drive even longer in India. We pedal on a path close to the Ganges, much calmer than anything we’ve ever experienced before. We arrive in Laskar, a station that allows us to get closer to the southern border of Nepal. After quite complicated exchanges, Imad managed to get us tickets for Moradabad the first city “stage”!
After having waited 40 minutes (we were lucky at that point), we find ourselves in the disabled compartment right next to our bikes in the company of a man who shared his weed with me by making me smoke through a tiger tooth (or equivalent), the handmade bangs from here in short, while offering me a large pockettar (a good big 100g at least), which I refused (simply not to finish)
After 5 hours of driving (which was really pleasant), we meet again during the night in Moradabad where we learn that we have to wait for the new train the next day, because only one train makes the journey Moradabad to Raxaul per day. So we take a hotel and spend the night quietly.
Result of the day: 71 km
Day 297-298: Moradabad > Raxaul
We wake up early the next day, having understood that it is necessary to be at 8 o’ clock in the morning to take our tickets and hope to have space for our bikes (the train making New Delhi to Raxaul, it is often full long before then), we leave early and we try to understand how it works. We have to wait 13 hours in the station for the train to arrive. We meet Manisha who has shared many hours of her time with us while waiting for her train. We let her leave around 5 p. m. (his train was supposed to arrive around 2:30 p. m.), we both leave. We walk through the different offices of the station (such as the command post or the transit station) allowing us to do almost anything we want. It is 11 p. m. and here is our train (with 2 hours delay). We load our bikes into the fully loaded luggage compartment and put our buttocks down (well, no, because the train is armoured with passengers that force us to stand upright).
Imad wanted a little more comfort, so he went to look for better seats in the sleeper cars, which was the last time I saw him until the finish. Being alone with all my saddlebags, I made my MacGyver by hanging some saddlebags on the high luggage racks thanks to my tensioners, which impressed the people around me.
I find myself lying on the floor with many Indians for a few hours, I remember sleeping for an hour before waking up and before it gets dark (I don’t want to wake up and not have any more luggage). The Indians being for the most part quite happy when there are foreigners (who want my chibre I have the impression above all), some leave me their place so that I can be seated. At each stop, many “shopkeepers” walk into the wagon, walking on everyone to sell their food or something else, providing us with a disgusting train quickly because everyone throws peanut shells, bags or something else on the ground. Some people sleep on the overhead luggage racks, while others sleep on the floor where there is a large floor.
Many people talk to me and are often impressed by my journey (I don’t find anything fascinating about it for me), but it allows me to pass the time. At one point, another man sits on my chair (they like to be 7 on 4-seater benches) and starts to be a little too tactile by starting to sleep on my knee and shoulder, so I’m forced to release him gently because he’s not my type, I prefer it more when it’s the shape of a woman.
I smoke a few cigarettes from time to time through the window (this is forbidden but since everyone does it, I don’t see why I couldn’t do it, knowing that unlike them I smoke towards the window, my head outside with no smoke in it). Controllers also pass by from time to time (well, just twice), giving me a bit of adrenaline since Imad is on my ticket. The first one passes and doesn’t see me (I am invisible to many people), unlike the second one with whom I started to confuse myself to tell him that it is my comrade who has my ticket but I don’t know where he is.
25 hours later, here we are in Raxaul and it’s just midnight. We find our bikes not necessarily to the best of their shape, since Imad‘s tent has been torn apart (at least the bag around it is fine) and a tensioner is missing.
We are looking for two good hours for a hotel to sleep in, because the border only opens at 6 o’ clock, but most of them are full or don’t take strangers. I also did an undercover mission to the ninja by entering the closed border post (the guards sleeping right in front of the door) to try to recharge my phone but in vain (I did enter the compound, but no take was working). We then meet at the station where I was able to sleep 2 hours on the ground like many people present here too.
This train trip was the most difficult for me, but we had to test the rail traffic from here, known all over the world for the unnamed mess it is!
Day 299: Raxaul > Hetauda
After the perfect night (I’m kidding, follow!) it is 5 o’ clock that we are already moving at the border. It only takes a few minutes to have our passport stamped by Indian immigration. In less than 20 minutes we are on the other side, in the Nepalese immigration post this time. Since we are talking about going back to the country, it takes a little longer. We get to know Hervé, a backpacker who has been traveling through Asia for a few months after staying 2 months in India. The visas being paid (25$), we give our first efforts to our new conquest: Nepal. At first glance, the country seems as dirty and noisy as India, but once far from the border, we discover a wonderful country.
On the other hand, just before I went out, I already had my first contact with a kid on a bike who pedals and watches. It made me even more fragile my front bag and I had to stay 10-15 minutes on the spot trying to fix it, with the crowd around me making me lose my temper (I have hot blood h24, maybe that’s why I survived last winter) and telling the whole population that it’s not a amazing show.
We pedal a few kilometers before stopping at a family restaurant where we stay 1 or 2 hours. The sky comes to make its appearance after 3 weeks without seeing it, the heat is much more suffocating than lately. My bike also starts to leave in all directions with the crutch which no longer holds but also my saddle which unscrews it very quickly.
We set off again and we drive on for miles without tiring (despite the lack of sleep) while making our first real climb for almost 2 months now! We decided to take a hotel 60 kilometers from the border to spend two days and rest a little. We bumped into a perfect hotel in downtown Hetauda! Cheap (well, not too expensive) with a movie theater right next door that obviously we tested by watching the latest Thor! Once out we ended up in a bar at the bottom of the hotel and in less than 5 minutes we found ourselves dancing on the dance floor.
Once back home we had a last beer, which was excellent!
Result of the day: 64 km
Day 300: Hetauda
Today is the day of rest. I am up at 7 a. m. (only 8 hours sleep) and I take advantage of the free time to make this article but also to send requests for partnerships to some companies like Castorama or LeroyMerlin for the van which I intend to buy very quickly once back in France!
Because yes, by the way, the last time I wrote I wrote to you I wrote the different possibilities available, so we opted for the first one since we are in India. However, I intend to stop in Kathmandu for several reasons:
- My bike is starting to cost me a lot of parts and I’m losing it every day;
- I lost a little bit of my motivation while riding in India;
- My finger still hurts;
- But above all, I have my van to buy!
Because I have enough money left to go home, buy my van and fit it out (at least a big part of it), and I don’t want to take another plane that will cost me even more later on.
Do I plan to continue cycling? The answer is yes, but on little trips!
If not, you can also follow me on my new blog that I’ve been preparing for several months now, more focused on travel in general and where you will have more precise details on some places and others: www.chasinglifedreams.fr
We plan 2 days for Kathmandu (we could do it in one) to take advantage of the new landscapes too, knowing that we will also have big climbs to get there (2000D+ in total).