Temples, Heat and Magical SunsetsMarch 22, 2017 in India
German Version and more photos: www.cyclingfornepal.com
I had long considered, where I should start my 30-day stay in India. Due to the size of India, a month is just enough to travel a small part.
At first I looked dir auch ferry connection between Sri Lanka and India. The two countries are very close together. On the Internet I found out, back in 2012 a connection had existed. Thus only a flight came into question.
Two places in India appealed to me: Goa and Hampi. Goa is a state in India and borders directly on the coast. Hampi is a temple town, which is located in the interior of the country, about 350 km away from Goa.
During my stay I wanted to do two things in any case. Learn kitesurfing and experience the holi festival in Goa, which is celebrated in the middle of March in India and Nepal.
The visa required to leave the country by airway. I wanted to keep an open mind about the airport I was going to fly to Nepal. At the airport in Sri Lanka came the nasty surprise. My airline requested a departure ticket from India, otherwise they would not let me get into the plane. I had no choice. I had to book a flight ticket from Goa to Kathmandu/Nepal. Curiously, the visa officer in India did not ask for a departure ticket. Ultimately, the entry went without problems and I had arrived in Goa.
The first night I spent in Panaji, the capital of Goa. Even before my trip to India, I had the idea to change the bicycle for a couple of days against a motorized two-wheeler. More specifically, I wanted to borrow a Royal Enfield. The motorcycles are made in India and look just great.
I have to mention that I have been riding a motorbike, but I do not have a motorbike license. With the driving license, however, the Indians do not take it so accurately, so I quickly found a landlord who would have given me a machine for 12 euros a day. Since I was anything but in practice and I had a lot of respect for the Indian traffic and decided for the smaller version, the scooter. The motorcycle adventure I have to pick up for a later trip.
With the scooter I went to the north of Goa. I found a cheap hostel which also had a pool in the garden. As in Sri Lanka, accommodations and food are very cheap. For 10 euros a day, you can live very good in India.
In the following days I Drive to all the beaches of North Goa. Each beach has something else to offer. From party to hippie flair, or a quiet spot on the beach. There is something for everyone. I let the soul dangle and enjoyed the magical sunsets.
After I was fully rested, I drove back to Panaji, and started cycling towards Hampi. Before me lay about 350 km through a national park. There was also a mountain range to cross.
What made me particularly concerned this time was the very dry heat. From Sri Lanka I was used to hot weather. Although it had an average of "just" 30 Celsius, India felt much hotter. On top of that there was the wind, that pushed against me.
This time, I had to plan the route exactly, because on the way there were not many accommodation possibilities. Since I had no tent, I had to reach my daily goals. The wind was so tough. The circumstances made cycling a torture.
What always charmed me, though, were the people I met on the road. Two situations I will remember for a long time.
It started with a stop at a mini market. In front of the market sat an older woman and a few children. They asked me in bad English, where I came from and what I was doing here. More and more children and Teenager came from the village to see me. A girl told me, many children had never seen a foreigner from near. Accordingly, the children looked at me with huge eyes.
The second situation occurred on the third day of cycling. It was still 30 km to my day's destination. The wind was so strong that I was just as fast when I walked. I put my thumb up, and the first vehicle already stopped. There was a mini-bus packed with kids and adults. The bus had 8 seats. It is no joke, there were 13 people Sitzung in the bus. How should I fit in there? The young driver said: No problem, it works. His buddy and he fastened the bike on the roof, I squeezed beside the driver's seat. In the end, we were four people sitting in the front. The ride was anything but comfortable, but still better than fighting the wind. The people were incredibly nice and the ride was still really fun. The driver even drove me to my accommodation. The next day, it was again biting teeth and biking against the wind. In the afternoon I arrived exhausted in Hampi.
Hampi is a small village surrounded by temples. Since 1986, Hampi has been part of the Unesco World Cultural Heritage. The region is home to tourism, which means that one guest house is next to the other. Nevertheless, Hampi is not overrun, whereby a pleasant Flair prevailed.
On the third day it was time. I had eaten in a restaurant and half an hour later I had to throw up. It lasted all night. The next morning the worst was over, but I was exhausted and completely dehydrated. Bicycling was no option.
Every night, a night bus leaves Hampi towards Goa. I decided to take the night bus and then, in Panaji, I'd think about what to do next. The bus trip was amazingly pleasant and my stomach felt much better again. The bus arrived at 6am in Panaji. I waited till it was bright and then cycled to the village of Morjim, which is 40 km away. I checked in the Wanderers Hostel, where I spent a few nights at the beginning of the trip to India. I liked it so much, that it would be my base for the last two weeks.
Not far from Morjim is one of the few kitesurfing schools in India. Robin, the owner of the school, comes from England and has been running the kite school for several years.
This time, Robin did not teach me alone, but was supported by Jill, who trained as a kite instructor.
On the first day we started to get to know the material and how to control the kite. In the beginning, I imagined the steering much heavier than it really was. After a short time I felt very safe with the kite, so we went to the water the next day. But before I went on the board, I had to practice body-drag and starting the kite in the water. The body drag allows you to get pulled by the kite through the water without a board. This is particularly important if you have lost your board and must collect it again. On the next day was too little wind, so it went on two days later. Now it was time to take the board. Now, however, came the most difficult part in my opinion, the water-start. You have to fly with the kite a Powerdive. The kitesurfer gets a strong pull and rides away. It took me some tries, but finally I glided my first 100 meters over the water. It was great feeling. Over time, I got better and could go longer distances.
I took a two-day break with the kite surfing, because I got a visit. Adi, a close friend of mine, flew spontaneously from Dubai to Goa. He had only 5 days, but we did the best of the short time. We went bodyboarding, visited the night market, relaxed by the sea and tasted the nightlife of Goa. I did two more kite sessions, while Adi snapped photos of me. Again, it was a really fun time.
Slowly the time in India came to an end, but a surprise still awaited me. Mark messaged me, that he will also be at the Holi Festival in Goa. I had met him in Turkey, where we travelled for a longer time together.
Holi, also called the "Festival of Colors", is one of the oldest festivals in India. On this day all the barriers seem to be lifted by caste, sex, age, and social status. It is celebrated overtly and people throw coloured powder on each other.
Meanwhile, it was Mark and me the fourth reunion during our trip. To celebrate Holi together was something very special.
The good thing about a big country like India is, that it takes several trips until you discover the whole variety of India. I want to come back. Maybe again for a bike ride or even a motorcycle trip with a Royal Enfield. But then with driving license.
Cheers JanoschRead more