N 028° 54.640 E 079° 58.316 ->
Today: 98.6 °F (
31 Mar 2017
Now we are down at the plans since a couple of days and it is hot as hell. It is okay during the day, but is the evenings and nights that are unbearable. Last night we had +32° C in the car. That is just too hot during the night. We are longing for mountains and cool hill stations again. Just a week ago we were freezing cold up in the Himalayas…
Truck Stop, India
N 029° 37.137 E 077° 05.717 ->
Today: 98.6 °F (
01 Apr 2017
Today we have spent the day in Chandigarh, were the famous architect Le Corbusier got to make his dream project come true – to plan and build a town from scratch. In the beginning of the 50-ties he got the contract of building a new capital for Punjab in India. When the Punjab area was divides into two and the capital Lahore ended up in Pakistan.
Little did we know that town planning and architecture could have this effect on people. It feels like we are in another country - in Europe and not in India. Everything is tranquil, organized and the traffic works like a dream, no honking or crazy driving at all.
The town is a grid of sectors were people live in flats or semi detached houses. Between the sectors there are nice and wide boulevards, parks and gardens. The shopping area, sector 17 could easily be in a suburb in Sweden. It all feels very surprising and strange. The whole town is so organized and peaceful – not at all like the rest of India. How can this be?
The crown of the Le Corbusier dream project is the Capital Complex; the High Court, the Assembly Hall and the Opened Hand Sculpture. A lot of impressive and innovative thinking is behind these buildings.
We also had time to visit the Nek Chand Rock Garden, a sculpture park of rock, concrete and left over’s from the old town they tore down in the 50-ties.
Morni Hills, India
N 030° 41.922 E 077° 04.492 ->
Today: 86 °F (
02 Apr 2017
Spent the night at a hill station – absolutely wonderful! Morni Hills is only at 1 200 meters, but it is by far more pleasant with + 24° C than the + 30° C we have had the last couple of nights.
All day we traveled the small, winding mountain roads with a great view. In a small town we found a tire shop with international brands. We really need to get new tires. And yes, they had suitable tires with kind of the right dimension and snow pattern. One hour later we had new tires on our car. We got Indian quality tires since they were the only option they had for us. While we were at it we also got a new battery for our car. For four new tires and a new battery we paid 400 Euro.
N 030° 58.760 E 077° 06.719 ->
Today: 86 °F (
03 Apr 2017
Today we arrived in Shimla, a hill station at 2 300 meters. This was the summer capital under the British rule, when they fled the heat in Delhi. All of the British administration moved here during the summer months. The town houses climb the steep hills on both sides. On top there is the square The Ridge and long pedestrians’ street The Mall were the tourists stroll.
N 031° 06.770 E 077° 09.059 ->
Today: 77 °F (
04 Apr 2017
The 95 kilometer railway through the mountain terrain between Kalka and Shimla is world famous. It was built already in 1903 and has 102 tunnels and 998 bridges. To travel all the way from Shimla to Kalka takes about 4,5 hour on way, a bit too long we felt and settled for Shimla – Taradevi, 1, 5 hour instead. We traveled fist class on the way there and second class on the way back. And every time we went through a tunnel the Indian passengers screamed delightfully. This train ride is spectacular but unfortunately
do not make the scenary justice.
They had a very simple but effective security system for the one track parts of the railway. There was only one key to the switch and the train that was on this part had this key. When the train arrived at the station they left the key to the next train. A simple and fool proof system!
In the afternoon we visited the Vice regal Lodge, the official summer residence for the British rule during colonial area. It was a very impressive place on top of the hill. But no cameras was allowed inside.
N 031° 09.328 E 077° 12.686 ->
Today: 51.8 °F (
05 Apr 2017
The rain is absolutely pouring down, it is thunder and the temperature is only +11° C. We do as we usually do when the weather is bad – move on. It is far better to spend a rainy day in the car.
In the evening there were a big engagement party with 100 guests, a big buffet, entertainment, dj and dancing in the banquette hall in the basement of the place where we were staying. When they discovered that we were there we got invited too. Catharina did the ”
indian style dancing
” got praised for her style.
N 030° 58.760 E 077° 06.719 ->
Today: 75.2 °F (
06 Apr 2017
When we woke up this morning we found a lunch invitation sitting at out front window. It was dj from yesterday who had invited us for lunch at his family’s house. His brother guided us there and one after another of their relatives and villages showed up to take a look at the guests. Most of them only spoke Hindi, but the one who could speak a little bit of English stayed with us while the others cooked food and arranged everything for our lunch.
They served the lunch only for the us two of us and we had to eat it while everyone else were looking at us eating it. They said that they are going to eat afterwards. It feels so very strange eat while the rest is looking at us. Before and after lunch they came with water, a basin and a towel for us to wash our hands.
After that they showed us around the small village and we visited the school. Finally we got a present from the mother and father of the family - a traditional hat that they ware in Himchal Pradesh. After 3 hours and approximately 200 selfies we said goodbye and left for Chandigarh.
N 030° 44.515 E 076° 46.925 ->
Today: 86 °F (
07 Apr 2017
Most of the day we have struggled with everything we have tried to accomplish. Six a clock we were woken up and told that we had to move our car. In the morning we tried to fix suspension for the exhaust system – again. We found the motor market and some rubber suspensions that fitted reasonably well. But when we drove away there was a new irritating sound they had set the silencer too tight. But maybe it will get better after a while.
After that we wanted to wash our car, but could not find a place where they had a ladder to clean the Toppola.
Berts hands have been in really great shape for the past 4 months after the Ayurvedic treatment in November. But now they are starting inching again, the first stadium for his prior problems. Now we wanted to find a new Ayurveda doctor to get a new prescription. But this one wanted 600 Euro for medicines a one year treatment. But the last treatment coasted only 30 Euro and worked perfectly. This seemed a bit fishy and we deceided to leave. If they keep prices like that no Indian people can afford to go there.
N 031° 12.588 E 075° 49.720 ->
Today: 86 °F (
08 Apr 2017
Now we have done our the last 150 kilometer leg here in India and arrived in Amritsar close to the Pakistan border. We are happy not to have to drive on Indian roads anymore. They are very messy and they demand total concentration at all times. Anything can happen, anywhere and at all times and it does too.
The road standard is significally better than on the last trip. But with that said, still a lot of National Highways are in such poor condition that it is close to impossible to get by in a normal car.
The speed bumps are big and crazy high. To cross them in an ordinary car we have to cross them diagonally, otherwise we get stuck on top. This is the reason for us fixing the exhaust system again and again.
For sure Indian drivers must get lobotomized the same time when they collect their driver’s license. There is no other explanation for such bad drivers. They overtake in blind curves, in the dark with no headlights on. When coming around a bend on a narrow road you can easily meet 3 cars overtaking at the same and there is absolutely nowhere for you to go. They just honk their horn, drive and expect everyone else to get the hell out of the way. And if you don’t they just run you over. They also overtake us on the inside and force you out in the meeting lane.
Indians are such shitty drivers. We think that most of them actually never attended a traffic school, because you cannot be such a lousy driver if you had been taking drivers lessons. That is impossible. We know that many buy a drivers licence. They just bribe someone to get one. This would explain the terrible situation on the roads. Our advice to the priminister; cancel all the drivers licensees and make everyone take driving lessons and let them pass a test before they get their license back. They need know far more than to find the pedal and to look straight ahead. If not, the problems will be gigantic in a few years when the private cars will double in India.