sexta-feira, 27 de agosto de 2010

Lhasa / Kathmandu - 15th Day - Kathmandu!

Dhulikhel (1500m) - Kathmandu (1600m)
Distance - 32km
Everything comes to an end...even the greatest experiences must come to an end…but it was with a deep feeling of completion, achievement and satisfaction that I finally made the last kilometers to Kathmandu.
Despite the pollution and the noise, the 15th day was the easiest day of the journey…cycling 32 km from Dhulikhel to Kath was more like a “walk in the park”.
Only one or two hours were between me and Kathmandu, however I had already begun my “recovery program”. The company that arranged the bike tour to the group I met on the way (Makalu, Co.) invited me to stay in the same Hotel they stayed….and I must say, this could not have been better! The Hotel was really nice! With excellent facilities, a great view over the Himalayas and with a cuisine that could put anyone into ecstasy J. And, at last, the most important, I had the opportunity to share the last moments of my journey with cheerful friends from Spain, Italy, UK and Germany.
Despite the fact that I tried to live intensely every single kilometer of the last day, both my heart and mind were already looking forward to start the next journey! The Himalayas were waiting for me...and I could barely wait to find myself lost in them J
I knew that I had to be back from the mountains on the 17th of September. So I decided to stay a few days in Kath to recover myself. On September 5th I caught a Bus to Besi Sahar, the village where the 250km circuit around the Annapurna starts.
This time I have two pictures to share and a small movie that was recorded in the very moment I arrived at Thamel, in Kathmandu.


Sorry about the portuguese speech ;) ...and for those who understands portuguese, sorry about the "arrrrrrrr" between words, eheheh...I was improvising :)

Thanks Apolo!!

quarta-feira, 25 de agosto de 2010

Lhasa / Kathmandu - 14th Day

Zhangmu (2250m) - Dhulikhel (1500m)
Distance - 90km

Farewell Tibet...I wish you all the best for your mountains and your cheerful people!

After crossing the border the ride for my big backpack ended. Fortunately I had managed to solve this problem a few days before. I was supposed to wait one day for the other team near the border. Their journey was arranged by a nepali company and they were driving a big truck that was carrying all the equipment, all the way from Lhasa to Kathmandu. So, the logistic problem was solved!

Zhangmu is a village located at the border in the Tibet side. A trading post and a port of entry located in Nyalam County. When I got there I was astonished by the hundreds of nepalie truks parked in a long queue offloading goods and transfering them to trucks from the opposite country. The single narrow zigzag street of Zhangmu makes this an especially difficult operation.

Every truk is a single piece of art. The decoration and the painting area taken very seriously by the drivers. But, more important than the decoration are the horns...this and the pollution would became a nigthmare on the way to Dhulikhel...

I was again experiencing the same feeling that I had felt everytime I moved to different places and cultures. A mix of motivation, enthusiasm and a sense of discovery a different "world" that I was about to see with my own eyes :-) My eyes were again the eyes of a child looking at world wonders!

The challenge of the high altitudes were now far away, however my first day in Nepal was about to become the hardest of the journey. My body and mind were again put into proof...the challange now was called heat, tropical humidity and heavy panniers :)

At the border and about to cross the Friendship Bridge.

Nepal side. Zhangmu at the top.

Children on their way to school.

Old ladies carrying loads

Rice fields

This was the last picture I took. I was only halfway to my destination...from this point I struggled a lot to transfer all my energies to the wheels...

quinta-feira, 19 de agosto de 2010

Lhasa / Kathmandu - 13th Day

Camping (4000 m) - Zhangmu (2250 m)
Distance - 70km

What was brown and yellow yestarday became white during the dawn of my 13th day. And, beleave me, I was completely anaware and got really surprised when I awaked and saw that everything got white...I was getting more used to the day by day efford but in the other hand my tierdness was growing really fast and that became the solution and terapy for my wakeful problem. Now I was sleeping like a rock :-)

Despite the unusual and very interesting colour of the mountains surrouding us (dark brown and grey), the village was surrounded by small factories, most of them brick factories. And probably most of the villagers were workers. However there was a primary school nearby and our presence made a very special evening for tens of children. In the end of the day I realised that most of them slept inside the school. In fact that happens in most of the shools in Tibet because of the distances and the severety of the weather.

After a long breakfast, essential to warm up my soul, I was back on the road that was still heading down. My last day in Tibet was finally rolling at the same speed of the wheels of my bike...I was about to get into a completely different scenario :) Greener, warmer, wet, more wet, hilly and bumpy scenario.

After all one thing got a special place in my book of memories: a long and very steep valley with hundrends of waterfalls everywhere. The road was rough but at the same time an amazing engineering feat! This is the road that was built to link two countries, two different worlds that were divided by the himalayas!

My last day in Tibet...
The snow and the wind almost crushed one of our tents

A small village surrounded by farm fields and snowy mountains

Brown turns to green...

Does anyone see the stupa??

The valley of the waterfalls!

Getting into tropical weather

One of the beautiful roads I ever done :-)

Da Wa

A stranger in a strange land ;-) ...and his bike!

The driver

Zhangmu and Nepal...

Our last meal together...

segunda-feira, 5 de abril de 2010

Lhasa / Kathmandu - 12th Day

Camping (4200 m) - Lalung-La Pass (5214 m) - Camping (4000 m)
Distance - 114km

This was the last day I had to climb above 5000m. After that the tour would become very easy (At least this was my thought). I was about to ride my bike in one of the longest and deepest downhill in the world! Almost 200km heading down from Lalung-La Pass with 5214 m high to the tropical valleys of Nepal!

A wide valley after Old Tingri.

The great Himalayas, no more then 30km ahead

The Shishapangma...a thought for a friend...

Lanlung-La Pass (5214 m)
Lanlung-La Pass (5214 m)

Finally, heading down!!

quinta-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2010

Lhasa / Kathmandu - 11th Day

Rong Buk Monastery (5100m) - Old Tigri (4350m) - Camping (4450)

Distance - XXX

I woke up in a kingdom of cloud's. Unfortunately I couldn't see for one last time the majestic Qomolongma. I felt sorry for my new companions that got up very early in the morning to have the chance to see the Mount Everest. Since the very moment they set their tents there was a huge and thick barrier that stuck between us and the Mount Everest.

Because yesterday the sky was clear, I had plenty of time to do what I wanted. Resting was, of course, on the top of my task list. However, around noon I said farewell to Base Camp. I went down to Rongbuk Monastery to meet my road mates, those I had met for several times, days before. We settled to meet somewhere near the Everest Base Camp and there they were, setting their tents beside the Monastery.

The assemble consisted of six companions, from different nationalities: three Italians, Spanish, a English and a German. Excluding the German, each one of them were somehow used to this kind of journeys. The hours passed by slowly as we talked about us, our countries and the trip we were doing. Because of the bad weather, they planned to visit the Base Camp in the next morning.

Today the road was waiting for me again but my body was begging for more rest…I woke up torpid, in a heavy body and claiming for more resting days…however after having the breakfast I was feeling strong again and steady to move towards the unknown and to jump to the same dusty road that I cycled two days before. To my joy I cycled no more than a few kilometers on the same dusty and busy “highway”. One hour after I left Rong Buk I turned to a small bumpy road that would take me to Old Tigri. This was the kind of road I was hoping to find since the beginning of this trip. An old and small bumpy road used only by locals. Finally…the chance of being hit by the crazy cars and their frenzied people came to an end.

Since the first meters I got the feeling that the road would take me to some special places...and I was right. At the end o f the day my heart and mind were full of joy…my wishes were achieved…Truly this was the kind of road I was dreaming to cycle in Tibet…the road to somewhere in the middle of nowhere! Once again I experienced the wide, magical and thrilling landscapes but this time almost without signs of human presence. I crossed only a few villages and just from time to time a few human faces were seen. There were moments that I felt like I was in one of the remotest places in Asia and living an ancestral time…Beside the landscapes, the road offered small and quite places, those kinds that only the bumpy roads can offer.

This day came to be one of the best's days of my trip :-)

This was my journey to Old Tigri...

One of the few faces I had seen on the way to Tigri. A shepherd that came to me with a big smile and with his eyes always shut :-)

A message to some friends :-)

Old Tigri