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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Spiritual Saturday

Third time's the charm and I finally managed to arise early enough to go welcome the sun into the valley.

The irony being that last night a company or heroes has assembled in my dorm: one locks the door, another opens window (at night it's barely above 45F outside), third snores and everyone woke up and loitered around at least once throughout the small hours of the night.

In short, I didn't sleep much. But slumber is a faithful mistress that neither ages nor tires. She'll be there for me tomorrow, or next year, smiling, waiting, accepting.

sunrise mini-hike

new day, new dog

The sun, today, was running behind and had me wait for it for nearly an hour. Talk about overkill. It's gonna be a long timelapse. But it was a nice morning and we made our peace. More pictures on Flickr.

morning views

all the fauna to protect

pumping water

roadside stupa

I took off for the woods in the upper parts of the valley. It's almost like a small oasis in the green shade, along small streams trickling down from ... the desert? Mars? Some question are best unanswered. During the day the valley is so hot that even I dipped my feet in the water!

getting green (and wet)

unpainted Buddha

city views

Later I met up with Singay and his friends from the wedding. They caught up with me by the Shanti Stupa, which would make much better spot for sunrise. Some other day. And they came in a car! Emancipation.

"You been to the castle? "Yeah "Well, let's go for a beer then.

Guys have it covered. And so my invitation for a cup of tea turned into a little party in a biker's cafe. Yup.

Beer is imported from Kashmir, and it's strong. And I was behind on sleep and food. Needless to say, I was a very happy camper very soon. And so when the guys went to pick up their moms, I went to get a reset.

Shanti Stupa

The evening plan was to return to the Hall of Fame. Part of the ticket was a light show and yesterday I failed to find an evening bus that'd take me there. Today I didn't ask, but hopped on one. It didn't go that way... but it took me halfway and, to have it over with, I walked the rest.

There were two small screens and few of the monuments lit up. A heroic voice was retelling stories of the battles depicted inside, with some dramatic footage and CGI running on the screens. People clapped for every hero presented and peppered the show with shouted Jai Hinds.

To finish a disco song got played, for everyone to hum along and - inevitably - the national anthem.

Will Europeans ever watch similar movies about Ukrainian heroes keeping Russia out?

Mad Max cafe

Singay and friends, and Kashmiri beer

evening trip

light show stage

Must've asked by a dozen cars of all sizes for a ride back. Somehow nobody seemed to be going to that one place where all tourists stay.

In the end I got a ride from another traveller on a bike, one of the Royal Enfields kitted up for long trips over the mountain passes. If I had a bucket list, riding one of these machines would've gone right on it. The entire region is a biker's paradise and maybe that's what the army is protecting for the Indians. A prime extreme outdoor holidays destination.

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