After twenty-three days of travelling, I reach Nepal on 16th August, crossing the small border of Bambasa that separates it from India. The journey begins on 23rd July, but a motorcycle failure forces me to turn back. However, on 25th July, I am able to move my KLE 500 towards Ancona and luckily, this time around, it goes well.I journey through Greece, peaceful and sleepy as ever, then Turkey, always beautiful and serene, but with a few too many armoured vehicles around. It is all pure harmony until I reach Iran, by riding 3000km in what seems like one big breath.Then, I enter Iran; this is the third time of treading the streets of this extraordinary country and meeting its people, with their characteristic hospitality. The path I have chosen leads me to visit Lake Urumie, or what is left of it following a very serious desiccation process. I have other sites to visit in Iran, like the desert of Kalut, where luckily, the very dry heat “only” reaches 46 degrees.The stopovers continue at an intense rate; every day I am changing locations, hotels, roads, cities, it is a continuous journey, migrating to the East, getting further and further away from home and from my loved ones. From the extreme west of Iran, I reach its far east; I have never travelled so far by land. Before me lays Pakistan. Frightening for many and no less so for me. I have my reservations, perhaps born from the fear of entering this country that has been defined by the media, like Iran, as a “rogue” state par excellence. I spend about a week here, covering the 2000km that separate me from India. It is certainly not a walk in the park, because traveling constantly with protection and an armed escort makes you reflect. However, I meet people who seem “normal” and I make new friends … maybe, it is not all bad here. The heat is remarkable; it never drops below 42 degrees with very high, persistent humidity which does nothing to help with my progress. Sometimes, I find myself thinking about whether I could have done something less difficult, tiring or stressful, instead of being here in the dust and sweating like never before, admiring wonderful landscapes and experiencing unique and extraordinary moments.

Thousands of daily routines are repeated but vary depending on location, temperature, the towns and villages, the unfamiliar people, the borders and degrees of wealth; a thousand new situations every moment, after every turn, after every desert.

I was hoping to fall in love with India, but it was not so. Excited to be trampling the roads of this continent for the first time with the wheels of my bike. Traffic, dust, heat, cows, checkpoints and more dust, animals on the streets, and the traffic of thousands of scooters, like a whirlwind of mosquitoes at a horn concert, and then the palpable, dense smog. I fall off my bike hurting myself, but fortunately, thanks to my technical equipment and my bike gear, both me and my bike are saved from any real physical damage…. but not from the psychological ones (as I am extremely angry). I immediately try to forget New Delhi and its roads with their frightening life and death pace.

 

By now, I reach the border with Nepal and like a mirage I finally cross the border after 23 days of journeying. I am even more excited, but always on guard because the journey is not over yet, I find a serenity that had previously been lost a little. The temperature has dropped and even the humidity is more bearable. I surround myself with pastoral landscapes: rice fields, lakes, rivers, animals, people who smile and few cars, outside the big city centres at least. The earthquake in 2015 unleashed its wrath here, causing lots of damage and unfortunately thousands of deaths. However, it is still a hospitable country, and its people are accustomed to welcoming travellers, making one feel at ease. There is a lot to see; but life outside the capital really affects me though. Katmandu is a bit too noisy for me, crowded, frenetic, dusty beyond measure, but it is probably my misjudgement. There are thousands of things to see, including national parks, cities, villages, Buddhist temples, Tibetan people, religious shrines on every corner, pagodas, not to mention the highest peaks in the world, but above all, the people with all their colours, the smiles, the children, their relaxed nature, their inner tranquillity, all those things that most of us tend to neglect a little in our everyday lives…

 

 

Thirty-six days later my Kawa and I quietly leave Katmandu in the belly of an airplane, with 11,000 kilometres under my boots and the wheels of my little Kawasaki 500. With the Himalayas watching over me, I am peacefully reassured by the thought of the array of images taken of all the adventures I experienced, of the thousands of anecdotes and life stories which will continue their course but I thankfully had the privilege to encounter during my travels.

I made it!           

Good Morning Nepal is over!

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