| 1.12.2004 Arrival in India
After crossing the Bay of Bengal on
board of the cargo vessel Tiger Pearl, we landed in Chennai, India on
November 27. The colours, the noise, the traffic, the people... the
first impact with the country has been overwhelming.
South to Pondichery, we stopped in the stone carvers' town of
Mamallapuram, with ancient Hindu temples, and in the universal town of
Auroville, where people from all over the world live together, in
harmony with the environment and looking for constant progression...
Click here for the pics of the crossing of Bay of Bengal on board of Tiger Pearl
Click here for the pictures of our first impact with India
| 8.12.2004 Heading South in Tamil Nadu
Pushed South by the wind on the
Eastern Coast of Tamil Nadu, we cycled our first 700 km in India,
mainly on narrow roads with lots of bumps, across beautiful
countryside/villages and far away from the traffic of the National
In Chidambaram, one of the main Hindu
centers, we took part in the impressive nocturnal celebration, when the
statues of Shiva and Ganesh are put to sleep for the night.
In the villages along the way, the
locals approach us, often trying to conceal their curiosity with funny
outcomes: they stop 2 meters from us and make as if they were looking
at something else or they suddenly go off their bike after having
passed us in order to walk on our side with non-chalance.
The search for food is unexpectedely
the hardest part of our day: most coffee houses are strictly vegetarian
and some basic elements of our present diet (rice, eggs, chicken,..)
are served only at some times of the day: rice, for example, is
impossible to find in the morning, steamed at lunch time and only fried
in the evenings!
At present we are in Tuticorin,
looking for a way to reach Sri Lanka by sea (there are no ferries). If
everything works out fine, next time I will write you from Ceylon!
Click here for the Pics of Tamil Nadu
| 18.12.2004 - India's Extreme South
After having to give up Sri Lanka
thanks to an Indian Immigration Officer who rejected our re-entry in
India by cargo ship, we resumed our descent to the South, reaching Cape
Comorin. The Cape is India's Southermost tip and is regarded as a
sacred site because it's here that the waters of the 3 seas mix (the
Indian Ocean, the Arabic Sea and the Bengal Sea).
From here, we started cycling up the
western coast (on which we will stay at least until Bombay). The
landscape has changed a lot: palm trees everywhere and long golden
beaches have welcomed us to the west!
Entering the State of Kerala and leaving Tamil Nadu, we decided to take a short break and relax in Varkala for a few days...
Click here for the new pictures: INDIA - Part 2
| 27.12.2004 Tsunami: We Are OK
big Thank You, I guess, to the Indian Immigration officer who didn't
let us leave for Colombo: instead of being in Sri Lanka or on a cargo
back to India, yesterday we already were on the Indian West coast,
where the earthquake didn't cause any damage...
Thank you to all those who wrote, asking if we're ok: we are fine and feel very lucky.
| 5.01.2005 Leaving Kerala and Karnataka
Happy New Year!
Xmas and New Year passed almost without us noticing.
a short journey by boat on Kerala's famous Backwaters and a last
goodbye to its Northern beaches, we spent 25.12 in Mangalore, just
after having entered Karnataka.
Before continuing to Goa (where we
currently are) we profited from the relaxed atmosphere of Gokarna, a
hindu village where we rested for a week. Here on the night of the 31st
the roads were already empty by 10PM and apart from some sparse
firework on the beach, year 2005 started without any particular flare!
Click here for the new pictures of Kerala and Karnataka
| 25.01.2005 - Goa & Maharashtra
The slooow internet connection on the West Coast has delayed the updating of the website during the last weeks...
Goa, an ex-colony of Portugal, we tried to stay away from the mass of
Western tourists that invade the area in search of beaches, parties and
Maharashtra, we had 600 km of hills in front of us to reach Bombay... I
won't hide I had a tough time. On the other hand, Maharashtra's coast
is so wild and spectacular that it was definitely worth the effort!
Click here for the (many) pictures of Goa and Maharashtra
| 5.02.2005 Bombay & the next months
On January 17, after 3,000 km on Indian roads, we finally arrived in Mumbai (Bombay)!
stayed at the Liberty Hotel, which reflects the spirit of the city
with its Muslim owner, Protestant manager and Hindu workers and where
all rooms are communicating on the top, so that it is impossible to
sleep without sealing earplugs!
We passed the 10 following days exploring the streets of this incredible city...
Click here for the pics of Bombay
Bombay means the end
of this stage of the journey: after 6 exceptional months of cycling
together, from here Fred and I will take different roads: Fred will go
to Dubai and then cycle Iran and Turkey on his way to Europe , while I
will spend some more weeks in India (Rajasthan), before returning to
South-East Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Lao, ...).
Fred is going to continue his project of returning to France at 15 km/h
(normally only bicycle and boats are allowed), in the next months I
will be taking some buses, trains and (sigh!) airplanes, however taking
my bike with me.
is to join Fred again after some months, for the last part of the
journey (Greece, Italy and France)... but since none of our travels is
planned beforehand, everything is possible!
| 10.02.2005 Manila-Mumbai: 6 months on a bicycle
During the months I joined in Fred's project "Round the World at 15 km/h", I discovered a new way of travelling. Airplanes, trains and buses are 'capsules' that transport you from one reality
to another without living the intermediate stages. Bicycle and boat, on
the other hand, give you the time to acknowledge the gradual changes in
the landscape, the aspect of the people, the food, the style of the
houses, and the local customs...
Click here to read about the 6 months by bicycle with Fred
| 13.02.2005 Rajasthan
State of Rajasthan is one of the most popular destinations in India:
the desert, the forts and palaces, the colours of the women's saris and
the men's turbans make it a very attractive region.
bus and bicycle, I tried to stay away from the many tourists, but
couldn't avoid the aggression by the local kids ("What's your name? One
pen! One rupie!").
fell in love with lively Jodhpur, with its narrow roads and blue
houses; on the other side I found Jaisalmer, the golden city in the Tar
desert, overflowing with tourists; in the Rajasthani capital Jaipur I
was shocked by the abnormal traffic.
rickshaws, buses, bullock/horse/camel carts, scooters, bicycles,
donkeys and elephants (!!): all drive in the total disrespect of the
traffic rules (supposing there are such rules in India).
while bored monkeys observe from the roofs, sleeping dogs, voracious
pigs and chewing cows move on the side of the roads. In the city centre!
India will never finish surprising me...
Click here for the pictures of Rajasthan
| 18.02.2005 Goodbye India
3 months it's the time to leave India... I arrived in Delhi at the same
time as the Italian President and found the capital full with Italian
flags... For the same reason I had to wait 4 long hours before being
admitted to the Taj Mahal, which had been "reserved" for the Italian
This afternoon I'm flying to Myanmar (Burma), where I will stay for 1 month.
Internet access in Myanmar might be difficult to get, so don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while!
INDIA - Part 1: Chennai, Pondichery & Tamil Nadu
INDIA - Part 2: the Extreme South (Tamil Nadu, Kerala)
INDIA - Part 3: Kerala & Karnataka
INDIA - Part 4: Goa & Maharashtra
INDIA - Part 5: Mumbai
INDIA - Part 6: Rajasthan
Manila-Mumbai: 6 months on a bicycle (account of this leg of the trip)