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Exchanging with Fellow Travelers

Lunch in Korzok, near Tso Moriri - Good, that Anne and Yann had bought a cheese, a welcome change from Dal & Rice - Ladakh, India

Lunch in Korzok, near Tso Moriri – Good, that Anne and Yann had bought a cheese, a welcome change from Dal & Rice – Ladakh, India

Like during all our trips we met so very interesting people. In Turtuk we befriended Anne & Yann, a French couple who was travelling on public transport through Ladakh. On the particular day we met them, Yann had traveled on the roof of a bus carrying 60 people. Why he was on the roof? The bus had only 23 seats! Continue Reading →

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Turtuk – Slowing Down

Turtuk, the last village in the Shyok Valley before the Pakistani border, Baltistan, India

Turtuk, the last village in the Shyok Valley before the Pakistani border, Baltistan, India

Where we stayed? At Maha Guesthouse. Surrounded by a sea of flowers and greenery it was the first guesthouse that opened, in 2010. But the season was ruined by the horrible mudslide in Leh that year and serious flooding in the Shyok Valley. The super friendly and most helpful owner speaks English really well and cooks delicious food. No wonder his 10 rooms (800 to 1.000 Rupees) are full every day. The increasing number of tourists has tempted several of his neighbors to open a guesthouse as well and we spotted several homestays. Continue Reading →

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Turtuk – As Far As You Can Go

Turtuk, the last village in the Shyok Valley before the Pakistani border, Baltistan, India

Turtuk, the last village in the Shyok Valley before the Pakistani border, Baltistan, India

Who would expect an oasis at 3.000 meters? Turtuk village, like the few other villages in the Shyok valley, sits on a plateau about 200 meters uphill from the small road that runs along the Shyok River. Completely out of sight from the road, only the fields down at the riverbank give away human activity.
A steep ten-minute climb brings you to a place of incredible beauty, a display of immense fertility. Plots – neatly fenced in by small stonewalls – glow in different shades of green or golden with wheat sheaf swaying heavy on the stems. We identified potatoes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, but lots of other vegetables we did not know. The branches of the apricot- and apple trees hang low from the weight of the many fruits. Even grapes grow at this height. Continue Reading →

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Middle School in Bodgang

Visiting the middle school in Bodgang, a still rather untouched village above the road on the way to Turtuk, Shyok Valley, Baltistan, India

Visiting the middle school in Bodgang, a still rather untouched village above the road on the way to Turtuk, Shyok Valley, Baltistan, India

The unexpected is always the best. Our travel companion Luc suggested to stop in the small village of Bodgang, There was not really anything to see, a few shops along the road, fields running towards the river. Then someone pointed uphill and so we climbed that way to find a lovely village surrounded by fields and apricots trees. Continue Reading →

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Asylum Seekers

Hundar’s Double Humped Camels

Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), between Hundar and Diskit, Shyok Valley, Baltistan, Ladakh, India

Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), between Hundar and Diskit, Shyok Valley, Baltistan, Ladakh, India

Bacterian double – humped camels are Hundar’s only attraction. Non-natives to Ladkah, these camels were used on the trade route to Central Asia. In the 1940s, after the borders closed in this area of the world, the creatures got stranded in Baltistan. Continue Reading →

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Nubra Valley and Shyok Valley

Ladakh is a high altitude desert, with once in a while small ribbons of green run down a slope, nourished by small stream running - Here  Gangla Village, on the way from Leh to Khardung La, Ladakh, India

Ladakh is a high altitude desert, with once in a while small ribbons of green run down a slope, nourished by small stream running – Here Gangla Village, on the way from Leh to Khardung La, Ladakh, India

Descending from Khardung La (5.602 meters) towards Nubra Valley, we passed through Ladakh’s second highest village, Khardung, at 4.400 meters! Its lush green beauty brings every traveller to a halt. Given the spectacular scenery we allowed numerous photo-stops and hence five hours for travelling the 115 kilometers between Leh to Khalsar. Continue Reading →

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At the Very Top – Khardung La

Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world, at 5.602 meters, on the way to the Nubra Valley from Leh, Ladakh, India

Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world, at 5.602 meters, on the way to the Nubra Valley from Leh, Ladakh, India

At the very top of Khardung La, a few makeshift buildings thwart the military glory. You think being at 5.600 meters is a peaceful moment, a unique instant of quietness and contemplation? So very wrong! From a temple uphill, recorded prayers are sent down. Even louder music (and what sounded like political slogans) escapes speakers attached to the world’s highest restaurant. Its unspectacular specialty? Tea and instant Maggi noodle soup! The small souvenir shop displays dusty T-shirts and a few barracks fill the limited space. Continue Reading →

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Siachen Glacier – The New Cold War

Siachen Glacier, on the way from Leh to Khardung La, Ladakh, India

Siachen Glacier, on the way from Leh to Khardung La, Ladakh, India

After about two hours of meandering uphill through dramatic mountain scenery, Siachen Glacier came into view. This is not just a glacier but a place of national pride and Indian martyrdom. In 1984, Indian and Pakistani troops fought over this area. The heroic courage and dedication of the Indian soldiers defending and conquering this pass is praised on a big plague at the pass. In the text the name Pakistan is reduced to Pak, a way to belittle the unloved neighbor? Continue Reading →

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