The Journey Into Spiti Valley

Good Morning Viet… err India!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley

Sweet dreams – sweet dreams of something I do not remember any more but it was sweet for sure. Helena and Jathin did secure an early lift out of the valley towards Batal to catch the first bus that makes its way up from Kaza towards Manali. So it was some stuffing, puffing and movement in general and it was way to early to wake up. So I did try not and it worked not. I was sure that they would say Adios before they take off but they did not. So there was no hugging and “Have a save trip” and “See you again baby”. Instead it was another nice dream. Why not?

Since Miky and me had only a “I will help you to find a ride” from the other camp site organizer we had no idea when to get up. But somehow about 8 one gets a bit nervous as it is a long hike to the road and we wanted to make it to Kaza the same day. So I popped the head out of the tent. Miky was awake so I could go easy and pack the bag – which is not really fun. Than there was coffee or what the boss of the kitchen sold me as coffee and some food and another coffee and then good news. A couple was going to drive to Manali and they would give us a ride. Since that was the only car it was even very good news!
Turned out that they had a new Toyota and that this one was made in Thailand. Globalization me thinks. Still it was the best ride on that trip – at last the in the newest car – that is for sure!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Our heros! They had breakfast and left – thank you again!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Inside the restaurant

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
It doubles as shop – so lets take a look at the inventory with the eyes of an investor. On the left they have the light that has to burn all the time. Some laundry detergent, toilet paper, glasses, light bulbs and what not. But than – that big display full of Lays and Kurkure. PEPSI that is. Than we take a look into the drink section: COKE and more Pepsi! In the middle of nowhere with limited shelf space and after all that years he has his shop here. I imagine he knows what his customers do shop for. So that is where i would spend my money – great dividend stocks on top of that! Than he had a lot of Nestle sweets like BarOne (if you ask me the best chocolate bar you can get in India!) and KitKat at the counter. Not to forget the Maggi soups that merged with Nestle in 1947. Sorry Cadbury chocolate fans. Your choice of chocolate sucks and the stock sucks as well. Here you go: Mondelez International. We close that box right here before I get to many angry mails about my choice of chocolate or stocks.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley

After some tasty food we had to find transportation. There where some locals that did wait for the bus to Kaza which is the biggest city in Spiti Valley. Also the owner of the restaurant did confirm that there was no bus so far today. Good news! Still we wanted to go right away and not wait for god knows how long. It did rain a bit on the way from Chandra Taal and the wind was cold. There is not really a lot of traffic so we had to wait a while. Than two trucks slowed down. We did ask them for a ride. Since there where two guys in each truck we had to split. No problem. This time I had less space and less music in the truck. I can handle that!

Trucking into Spity Valley

I was in the first truck since I wanted to make some pictures. And if the trucks are close the second is in a cloud of dust usually. Also you have the back of a truck in most of the pictures. At last the one you shoot straight out of the front window. So Miky did climb the second cabin. Lucky me – I just did not know now. My truck was bigger but had more power or it was a better driver? Anyhow we moved a bit faster. I would say we made an average of 18 km/h while the other truck did 17 km/h. Yes again – that is a bit faster than 10 miles per hour.
Which is not fast at all. Still better than standing in the cold wind or waiting in the restaurant for a bus that might not come at all.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Nice view without a truck in front!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
More nice view

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
At one time my truck did stop and the guys where walking from house to house to ask for whatever. Since they did not speak English I could not really communicate with them and had no clue what was going on. After about 45 minutes Miky finally arrived. His truck had a flat and they had to change the tire. And it was raining of course when they had to do that so he was not really a happy cat. My truck did not go nowhere that day – we found out because the guys in his truck did speak a bit of English. They where nice and I could squeeze in to the truck as well. Off we went for the last few hours before Kaza was in sight.

Our Truck
Reaching Kaza after all that slow trucking was so nice – took me a while to recognize from where we came in since last time when I drove in with the bus we came from the other direction. We did stop a bit after the “highest petrol pump in the world” at the temple. So it was only a short walk down to the guest house. The friendly owner did recognize me and was so happy to see me. And I was so happy to get a room at the place. He has a new solar shower so we did try that one before we walked for over the new bridge into town for dinner.

How to make a baby cow happy

First you should find a baby cow – than you can try. I was lucky – on the way to the centre of Kaza was usually a baby cow standing around and it was pretty bored.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Than you have to go over there – not to fast – and talk to her – slow and not to loud – in English. Guess it does not really matter but some languages sound quite harsh and I only speak English and German. Than I try first to get close from the front. Somehow it works well when you let them sniff at your hands. Next try to go sideways and stroke the neck.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Hmmm baby cow relaxes

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Happy baby cow – it did work again!

Lets go for a shave than…

Lets go for a shave than
Since I was on vacation I did treat myself and visited the local barber shop

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
80 Rp Sir! Local price! Sure – guess I did pay double at last. Anyhow – if you ever have the chance to get a shave in India. Go for it. Watch where most of the locals go – that is your place!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
I had a few shaves all over the world so far – the ones in India where the best. I was never cut – which is the most important thing for me 😉

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Looks good. I did not give a tip since the boss was getting the money but I did send them 2 tea from over the street. Guess they did like that as well.

A day trip to Kibber and Key Gompa

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
After making baby cows happy and having a shave and lots of cheese cake and really good coffee from the “German Bakery” like the one you see in this picture it was time to take Miky to the local sights. After breakfast we walked out of the town towards Kibber which is a small village up at 4270 meters in the mountains. I was never there so I had no clue what to expect.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
We stopped the first tractor and they where happy to take us till they had to drive down to the river to fill their trailer.
Than we walked a bit till the second tractor stopped. Very happy with the short wait for our second ride we climbed on the tractor. There was a girl from Kibber on it that did speak English so when the tractor stopped after a few minutes she told us that the guy did something wrong and had to drive back. So we walked with her for about 15 minutes. We passed a few locals that rested at the side of the road. They invited us to sit for a while so we took a short rest as well.

Take a rest with the locals
They waited for the bus that should pass here “soon”. Everybody is waiting for something in India all the time. But waiting for these buses in the mountains is really boring after a while. And it can be hours or minutes – one never knows.

Take a rest with the locals
After 10 minutes and some small talk we decided to move again. And what was just crawling round the corner after 1 minute of walk? A truck going all the way up to Kibber! We stopped it and they where happy to take us up the mountain. The truck was full of small stones they like to use for road building. So it was heavy and the ride was smooth – compared to the bumpy ride in the tractors.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Some random house we passed.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Somewhere along the way a few minutes before Kibber I took that picture of a village on the other side

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
A few houses in Kibber. We where not really impressed with what we saw so we went to the first place on the right for a lemon soda and a salad. A friendly couple from the Dutchland was taking a drink there as well. It turned out that they rented a car and wanted to go Comic or somewhere. Since we are some kind of lazy day trippers I asked them for a lift and they did drive us all the way to Key Gompa. Now what to say – they did go there in the morning so they drove 10 kilometres more just to drop us there and had to drive all the way back to the other junction again. Thank you!!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
A tourist that was looking for the beach in front of Key Gompa.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
A friendly monk did give us a big tour of the gompa and he showed us even the old sleeping room of the Dalai Lama. The new one is in the making since the Dalai Lama wants to visit next year again when he is in the valley to open a new monastery. 4 years ago another monk did show me the gompa – but not this room. But than again another room that this one did not show us this year. Very interesting don’t you think? Hmmm maybe not!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley

Key Gompa in Spiti Valley
Key Gompa in Spiti Valley – looks quite impressive from this site. It is 4166 meter above sea level so if you come by foot and have to climb up all the stairs you better be fit!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
On the way back to Kaza we did meet the guys that gave us a lift up to Kibber again on the road. Too bad they did drive the wrong way – up the hill and not down to Kaza.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
We had to walk quite a bit since there was next to none traffic and the few little cars that passed did not take us as they where full. A French tourist that had a drink in the same café in Kibber did pass us in a big taxi jeep that he rented. Do you think he did stop? Nope! Merde!

The Journey Into Spiti Valley

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Finally another tractor – and we where back in the race. I had a good ride all the way till about 2 clicks outside of Kaza.

The Journey Into Spiti Valley
Since our tractor went up the hill we had to switch to the blue tractor that you can see here behind our first one. It has a roof and if you are not super small you can not sit straight. Really uncomfortable – almost makes you want to stop the tractor and walk the rest of the way. He drove us all the way next to the gas station where we said “Thank You!” and walked back to our guest house.