India 2010 on a Royal Enfield

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by momi20, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Hellò guys, i'm Momi from Italy
    here on Advrider i've written two threads about my trips from Italy to Central Asia in 2008 and 2009 with my bike, a Suzuki DR 350. Ok this trip in India is a little bit old (2010) but the important thing is soon or later start and so sorry for delay, my english, my grammar: every help or proofreading, will be appreciate. :freaky

    Why India ?

    1st i had never been there
    2nd an amazing slideshow on the New York Times (travel section) on indian himalain roads, this

    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/11/24/travel/20091124-highway-slideshow_index.html,

    i read it in January, and the idea of a vacation in India began to be a project.
    My first idea was to reach India overland from Italy

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    more or less 5600 miles (9000 km), but in April i read about problems in the Iran-Pakistan border: it was close. To drive with your bike through iran you need time and money for Visa and Carnet Du Passage for your own bike: too risky start and get stopped at the border.
    Ship the bike by sea to India ? Too much expensive: so all i could do was to search a bike rent shop and a flight to India.

    This my route (green line) with sleepin places (red point): i did it in counter-clockwise

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    I've driven for 3321 miles, more or less ( 5200 km) from 6th of july to 1st of august
    expense account

    Indian Visa------------------------------------------------------------------------------------100 € ( 137 USD)
    A/R fly Bologna-New Delhi (via Istanbul)------------------------------------------490 € ( 673.652 USD)
    Rent of a Royal Enfield Electra 350cc (from 06/07/10 to 01/08/10)-----247,59 € ( 339,931.67 USD)
    on line insurance------------------------------------------------------------------------------88 € (120.982 USD)
    Food, sleep, fun,souvenir, muesum etc---------------------------------------------532,41 € (731,724.93 USD)

    Total----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1458 € ( 2,004.46 USD)

    First problem, when i was looking for a bike to rent was the fact that most of the bike in India have gearshift on right and brake pedal on left: the opposite of my bike. My motorbike skill are very poor both driver and mechanic and in India you've got to drive left side. At the end i found a bike shop http://www.tonybulletcentre.com/ that had bikes with
    gearshift and brake pedal as in my bike, but just Royal Enfield. I chose the 350 cc cheaper and more reliable than the 500cc.
    I started on 2 of july from Bologna, Italy. One of the target of my vacation was to drive from Manali to Leh through the Himalaian Highway and reach the Kardung La pass that with his 18372,70 ft ( 5600 mt) of altitude is the most high carrieageble pass in the world. Ok in Nepal and Pamir there are higher passes, but you can reach them just with special vehicles (4x4 or military special one). The Kardung La can be reached with any kind of vehicle, even a bike :eek1

    The rest of itinerary was unknow : at the time i wasn't sure about the situation in Jammu Kashmir, especially in the city of Srinagar (riots), in the north and between Leh and Srinagar ( look at the map) there is just one road.

    Equipment travel

    Sky gloves, necessary if you drive a motorbike on the Himalaya
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    heavy jacket ( 76 € = 104.485 USD)

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    new camera a Kodak Easyshare Z950 zoom 12x ( on line 120€ =164.976 USD)


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    electronic stuff

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    map ( Amazon UK 6 €=8,24 USD)
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    Guide book: i know that Lonely Planet is the most famous in the world, but since some year i noticed that has become too much "commercial": as often as not people that write the guide book try to get prices discount on hotel and general rent with the promise to mention the name of the hotel or other in the new book. I've used this book series for several year and imo they are better than Lonely Planet

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    phrasebook ( not necessary if you just know a basic english)
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    a pile, 2 jeans 4 grey t-shirt, socksgymnastic shoes 1150 $ cash (hiden in the belt)
    special quote for my friend Beuto that brought me to the Bologna airport here we are in a park doing some ghetto workout in the summer
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    at the check in

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    i arrived at Delhi at 3,40 am: fixed govenement price for a taxi from airport to New Delhi 8,6 $ ? Should be something cheaper. I ask and finally i find the right bus to the central railway station, that is very close to my hotel. Bus ticket = 70 US cent

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    the railway station

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    there were some rebuild working in my hotel street

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    is 5 am and i stop for a tea

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    my hotel the Smiley Inn: i'm lucky, for just 8 $ i've got the whole floor reserved to me....just one room at the 2nd floor was available, in the others briklayer are working
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    #1
  2. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

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    No sleep (remember ? briklayer are working) so at 8 am i go to the motorbike shop. In Delhi ther's a neighborhood named Karol Bagh entirely devoted to buy and sell motorbike and stuffs for bikers.
    In the shop the owner Mr Trehan shows to me the bike

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    today is friday, so i decided to come back saturday to sign the rental contract and start sunday ( on monday shops are closed in India) for my trip, i want even visit Delhi, one of the stop of my vacation.
    Ok let's go by foots and bus through Delhi

    Birla Mandir temple ( 40 minute walk from the bike shop)

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    in the evening night, coming back to my hotel i see a building, near the railway station: inside there are just little restaurant very cheap: my place

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    saturday july 3

    Saturday morning, at the shop, i learn that the deposit for the bike is possible to pay just cash and the contract will not be a rent, but a sell. In India, except Mumbay, rent bike is prohibited, so the shops prepare a sell contract in that they commit to buy the bike again after a period. Obviously when they "buy" again the bike they keep an amount of money that correspond with the cost of a rent. :D
    Is'nt possible to pay with the credit or debit card, just cash. i don't want to finish all my US dollars and so i went to a bancomat, but surprise: i can get just 68 $ no more: card problem ? I don't know. I've got to call my bank in Italy or my brother Andrea. Sms to my brother ( in Italy is still friday). After a while the answer from the bank: a mistake of one employee. In foreign countries my Maestro Cirrus is limited at 68 $ a day. The bank say that everything will be ok tomorrow: ok i can firm the contract sunday , the shop is open.
    Now i can continue to discover Delhi

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    the weather is'nt too much hot, but a lot of umidity ( as in my city in Italy Modena) so i buy a very popular stuff, a little towel that you can use to dry the sweat
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    A common itinerary in Delhi starts from Gate of India

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    this shuld be a bunch of hiras, the third sex, female soul in male body
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    in the hotel, before to go to sleep i think is better to dry my shirt: the ceiling fan is always helpful
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    #2
  3. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

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    Sunday july 4

    The debit card doesn't works and as usual i don't have with me the code to can use the credit card in the bancomat. I write a sms to my brother to send me money by Western Union: he will read it tomorrow, cause now in Italy is night.
    Now i'm going in Old Delhi
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    i can visit the Red Fort tomorrow today some shot from outside is enough

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    i'm more interested to Jama Mashid mosque the biggest in India

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    my dinner, good, but i don't know what he was
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    in he afternoon still problems with my debit card and my brother Andrea went to the sea with his family ( Rimini) where the Western Union's office is closed. Monday he will do the transfer...so i'll can start tuesday: my schedule is a shit :deal

    Monday july 5
    Early in the mornig i'm at the Red Fort that is close to the tourists just one day a week...exactly, on monday, i should read better my guide book. On monday morning the bike shop is open just for two hours: i go just to try the bike for some mile. A mechanic drive with me in a very quiet road and i try to drive the Enfield. The most difficult thing is the kick start: go down to half, up and down again: i'm wimp.:baldy

    An sms from my brother: money sent. On monday is very difficult find bank or offices open: after two hours finally a Western Union point open. I give to the employee my passport and wait. when he came back bad news: the office in Italy has written my surname in a wrong way: Zani instead Zanni, no way to get the money. Another sms to my brother. With the second effort everything is ok and i get the money. now is 3 ,30pm , back to the shop, whre i sign the cotract and agree to keep the bike tomorrow.
    Now i want to go to the Qutb minaret , but using the public bus, not hte taxi, too easy.

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    when i take the bus to come back is dark and starts to rain. My bus is without windscreen wiper, but look what did the ticket clerk to help the driver

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sdo-6yQ-Qd0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Nice! I remember your last adventure on the DR350.. that was a wild ride.. this one will be even more of an adventure, especially on an Enfield. Looking forward to seeing what you did :thumb

    in bocca al lupo :lurk
    #4
  5. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    I'm in...
    #5
  6. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

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    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>14</w:HyphenationZone> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:UseFELayout/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Tabella normale"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style> <![endif]--> Tuesday july 6
    Finally is the starting day . Near the bike shop i buy an helmet and a bag ( a Ferrari counterfeit) to can carry my stuffs
    Before start Mr Threan (first on my left) and his mechanic repeat to me that this bike breaks sweet...means long, but i've driven a scooter (Vespa PX 125 cc) for more than 62.000 miles (100.000 km) and you know a Vespa driver doesn't brakes, sidetsteps, cuse the lateral engine of this scooter makes it very unbalanced. They suggest to drive slowly, between 35-40 miles/h for animals and people crossing roads. A very good thing is the name of a divinity wrote on the lamp, perfect, Good always with me, i can start
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    The indian traffic jam can't scare me: once i've driven in an italian city Naples: if you can drive here, you can drive all over the world

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9BJThn0IDrY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    very important always keep in mind that in India they drive on left side, but is enough follow veichles lane. I start at 2 pm and after 1 mile my first indian traffic jam: the rain of the day before owercrowded parts of the streets: 2 hours to get out Delhi.
    Mileometre doesn't works: ok my first pit stop
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    after 1 hour the mileometre is broken again, but is late afternoon, so i stopped in Karnali 140 km ( 86 miles) north of Delhi...more or less, remember ? The mileometre was broken twice.

    Guesthouse with private parking 6 $
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    time to eat
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    wednesday july 7

    I get up very early to walk in the city: in my guide there are just 2 line about this city, but you can always find something interesting...not necessary a monument. Even the normal life and people are interesting, for me

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    i meet people inside a madrasa ( Coranic school) and they offer to accompany me to another monument

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    here they introduce me to a doctor ( a VIP ?)

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    he give me his name, address and contacts


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    10 am shops are open so i can change (again) the mileometer
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    The city of Manali is 400 km ( 248 miles) far: i'm not sure to can reach the city today. Stop for lunch and again mileometer is broken, but two men drive me to a mechanic


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    in the city of Ambala the signal for Chandigarrh and Manali disappear but a men suggest to me a shortcut, tha i can't check with my 1:3.750.000 India road map. After two days i could understand what was happened
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    Ok after one hour i understood that something was wrong, and i had a stop to a Official Royal Enfield shop to ask informations...and to repair again the mileometer:ricky


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    they change the whole mileometer not only the string, this was the problem 18 $
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    the owner tell me that i made a wrong turn but gives me a very good map to can reach the direction to Manali


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    is very hot today and so i drive without gloves...big mistake : the day after my hands are completely red !
    Is going dark, i'm in the region of Himachal Pradesh and i stop to an hotel: 33 $ for a single room ? Are you crazy ? After a while i found a better hotel ( 5 $), the Diamond with the restaurant ( 1,5 $ the dinner)


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    July 8


    155 miles (250 km 9 to Manali: here starts the road that through Hymalayan mountains will bring me to Leh, in the Ladak
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    lunch
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    #6
  7. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    July is the month of the processions in India and this believers give to me a present a coloured necklace, a lucky charm: perfect, i immediatly put on the bike

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    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/dCy6XQ4U5k0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

    I continue on the N21

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    another procession
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    i reach Manali in the afternoon. The city is the starting point for all tourist journey to Leh: ther's only one road and so the city is a classical tourist trap, full of hotel, restaurant, shops. Is divided in two parts Old and New Manali and i found a Guesthouse in the Old Manali for 4 $

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    #7
  8. LouDog

    LouDog n00b

    Joined:
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    Olympia, WA
    This is a great start to an amazing adventure, Maurizio!

    I am glad to see you are back on the road - I have read your DR350 ride reports and am very jealous of your low-budget, curious nature and your ability to fit in with the locals everywhere you go. Have fun... :wave
    #8
  9. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Hey! Watch this.

    Joined:
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    :lurk:lurk:lurk nice ride! Heard the food is awesome.
    #9
  10. trophymoto

    trophymoto MACDADDY!

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    count me in!
    #10
  11. ktm950se

    ktm950se Banned

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    More please :lurk
    #11
  12. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    Wow.
    Very interesting.
    Some nice telling shots of the local fare…

    Looking forward to more..
    #12
  13. rednax

    rednax Been here awhile

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    Gothenburg Sweden
    great !!!! subscribed
    #13
  14. GZPainter

    GZPainter A Scouser from Crete

    Joined:
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    Liverpool, Crete and wherever the road goes...
    Buon Giorno Momi...

    That's another great adventure...some good reading for the night...
    Bring some more... and don't forget the pictures!!!
    #14
  15. brother dan

    brother dan Lost in my mind

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    You sir are a true adventurer! This is a great read. I'm enjoying it and look forward to more.

    Dan
    #15
  16. Shibro

    Shibro Adventurer

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    im definitely looking forward to more. thanks for the post. someday i'll make it to india.
    #16
  17. pirate63

    pirate63 SUPA 10 PILOT

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    This is great:clap:clap
    #17
  18. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

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    Here i'm guys sorry, but translate is avery hard job...with my english knoweledge :baldy
    <!--[if !mso]> <style> v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>14</w:HyphenationZone> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:UseFELayout/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Tabella normale"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style> <![endif]--> For my first dinner in Manali chicken: the red color is given from spicy sauce
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    In my guesthouse i meet indian bikers waiting for good weather to try to drive along the Manali-Leh road. Due the rain, in the past day was impossible to drive. They wont to start tomorrow at 5 am. I can't, is my first day and i need to find the plastic tank for the gas. Between Manali and Leh (474 km = 294 miles) ther's a distance of 365 km (226 miles) without a gas station.

    i go to sleep, but i'm not really alone in my room

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    friday

    A little walk in the local bazar searching some little stuff: tank, spoon, a little plastic box for the food ecc...

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    for lunch green vegetables bought in the bazar and noodles from a little chinese restaurant

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    no washing maschine in my cheap Gh, but...
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    In the afternoon i become a normal walking tourist

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    bike check
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    What can be better to eat than momo for the tourist Momi ?

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    Saturday 10 of july

    In the morning i decide to do some km in the direction of Rothang La (3980 mt = 13057 ft) ...ahh in indian La means Pass

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    in the afternoon i went to visit the Old Manali: it look like to be in Tibet
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    show room in the middle of the city
    #18
  19. momi20

    momi20 Been here awhile

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    Some video
    the Manali - Leh with mud and rocks

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/DeaYCmlu7KI" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

    sweets in Manali

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/xqaXJ2OdcLw" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    #19
  20. RidingUpAndDown

    RidingUpAndDown Been here awhile

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    NICE job Momi !!!

    Very Interesting journey/destination. Love your jump-in/go-with-the-flow approach to ADVenture, Great pictures-excellent local flavor; food,folks,culture. Would love to travel w/ you man, though feels like we're there.

    Don't know, did you mention how long you were on the road for this trip?

    Thanks for the work/sharing the rr, subscribed.:ear:ricky
    #20