Linda's World Tour 2004-05

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World Tour 2004-2005   


India




         
         27.11.2004 - 18.02.2005
         83 days
         Bicycle (3,025 km) & Cargo Boat & Bus

             

      

click on the map to enlarge



 Versione Italiana



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)


   Indian Books 




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.


Cycling 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 Highways.

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 picturesINDIA - Part 2





27.12.2004 Tsunami: We Are OK


A 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.
After 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...

In 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 trance music.

Entering 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)!
We 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, ...).

While 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.

The idea 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

   

The 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.

Alternating 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!").

I 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.

Cars, 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).

And 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


  

After 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 delegation!

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)


   Indian Books



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2004 Linda Spadolini