I haven’t had any internet connection for a week, so Expect a spurt of blog posts / post cards that cover a 9 day ride through the Spitti / Kinnaur Loop in Himachel Pradesh – except that I’m doing it in reverse (Kinnaur Valley then Spitti Valley) and I’m not doing the full loop because the last section is off limits as the final pass, Khunzum La, is still closed, so, 3/4 of a loop then I have to reverse my steps.
Day 7: Manali to Banjar / Gushaini – 100 km approx 5hours.
One of the interesting aspects of this second part of my trip is having a guide who knows the area really well and can speak the language, so at lunch time when we pull into the side of a road, all I see is a general store, but Motti takes me down some steps into a local cafe, if I had been on my own I would never have seen it or known it was there. This will happen a lot this week, eating where locals eat, rather than where tourists eat. The food is simple, only a few dishes available, but it is tasty and incredibly cheap. And chai is always available, usually for 10 Rupees a cup – that’s ten pence! For a cup of tea. Ten pence.
Unfortunately the guest house we wanted to stay in was fully booked, as was the next choice. The manager of the second recommend a local home stay – as it sounds, this is an arrangement where you stay with a family I their home – some times in the same house, living and eating with the family, sometimes it means staying in an annexe to the house. The most interesting part of this stay was that in order to get the the house we had to cross a river by using a span – a cable stretched over the river with a cage hanging from it. It wasn’t the safest looking thing. Don’t adjust your sets… It’s a normal sized cage, just has a giant sat in it!
As part of my trip package I opted to save cash on hotels and have agreed to share a room with Moti, my guide. Moti has other plans though and tonight is the first time he tries to blag a free room his negotiations skills are second to none – suggestions he can give extra trade to the owners’ that he’s a smoker and I’m a non smoker so we can’t possibly share, he’s even said that I’m a blogger and that I write about where I stay, so if they want a good write up they should give me a room on my own! Whatever, it has generally worked all week.
Here is the young chap, Naresh, who runs the first home stay – which was nice and simple. (Sorry, I did promise to keep selfies to a minimum)
Day 8: To Sarahan – 190 km 7 hours riding
One of the highlights of today’s ride was riding over the Jalori Pass – at 3135m it’s my highest motorbike ride ever (but small fry compared to what’s to come). We are both convinced that we passed some Enfield Himalaya motorbikes on the way up – in the world of adventure motorbikes this is big news, maybe a world exclusive as the bikes haven’t been launched yet. Thankfully I have some footage from my helmet camera and I’m editing a video to post on bike forums. The bikes look the business, you read it here first folks:
The main attraction of Sarahan is the large Bhimakali (Hindu) temple complex in the town which we visited next morning before breakfast. Sadly photos aren’t allowed inside the temple (this will become a common theme…) so images from the fantastic doors will have to suffice. Strict entry rules are my excuse for the daft hat… being on an adventure is my excuse for the beard!
The hotel was nothing to write home about, apart from the view from the balcony – simply stunning.