It was farewell Everest, and we were headed toward the sacred (in four religions!) Mount Kailash, which was to take us a full two (!) days. The route was as follows:
As you can see, we covered nearly 800 kilometers, which worked out at around 12 hours of driving. The views to be seen to both the left and the right along the full route were fantastic, but all the same, 12 hours – ouch!
Check out the road – very smooth; clearly looked after:
At least here there are no crash barriers or curbs. Remember the story of how we ended up in a traffic collision? Well, there was no issue here with overtaking as there weren’t that many vehicles on the road – we saw one every five or ten minutes. But those oncoming vehicles did seem to hog the road every time! ->
Meanwhile, we drive, drive, drive. And various silhouettes start to appear on the roadside, like these:
Folks on motorbikes who look nothing like Tibetans…
But all these unusual sightings are compensated by monumental installations along practically the whole route:
Before we joined the highway, from Everest we had to head back eastward first – some 110 kilometers. Not that we minded, since that meant we could check out the view of Everest on the horizon at the very same spot as the day before during the sunset:
Apologies for what might seem like duplication, but the colors of a morning are completely different!
Onward, onward, onward. Our backsides started to go numb a bit – no super-comfy business-class seats in our van! – and no matter how bright the sun was shining or how blue the sky seem to be, it was still one heck of a long drive this. Some of my companions opted for games like ‘I Spy’ and the like: fully understandable; however, I went for a spot of the meditative-contemplative instead, staring out the window almost in a trance.
I’d be thrust back out of said trance occasionally by some various sights of the ‘you don’t see that everyday on the way to work in Moscow’ kind; for example:
Small settlements with houses with gated territories; blankets on lorry-wheels:
We stopped off in one such settlement for lunch and photography:
Btw, that sign there – ‘5147’ – that’s how many kilometers we are from Shanghai. For this is China National Highway 318 (G318), which connects Shanghai and Katmandu; this particular stretch of it also being the Friendship Highway.
Here’s the ‘restauanti’ we luncheoned at. I think they were trying to give it an Italian feel ).
After lunch – back on the road…
Suddenly – flat tire!
We’d hit some metal scrap that was lying in the road (.
Here’s the town of Saga on the other side of the river:
We stayed in a 1.5-star motel for the night. Now, I understand that they won’t be responsible for the loss of their hotel, but… ‘Do not Pictures Camera’? Why not?!
A short overnight sleep, up at the crack, and onward…
Sand dunes! And around here somewhere the great Brahmaputra River starts out…
We couldn’t resist it: walkies!…
Judging by the height of that sand drift there, the wind can get pretty fierce round here…
To close – some pics taken by DZ:
Mountains Hills. That peak there – around 400 meters higher than us. But we were 4600 meters above sea level ourselves! Hills Mountains!
Camouflaged ancient fortress ruins:
Along our journey we came across quiet a few such ancient ruins, which all seemed to have been preserved rather well due to the dry climate. The history of Tibet – like the history of much of the rest of the world where Home sapiens feature in not small quantities – is one of wars. So finding such installations in strategically ‘correct’ locations (where rivers merge, in gorges…) came as no surprise.
Then, eventually, our fatigued eyes were rewarded with what we came all these miles for – Mount Kailash itself ->
…Also the village at its foot – Darchen. From afar:
And from inside:
It was from here we’d be setting off the following day on a kora around Kailash – the dream of any Buddhist worth their salt; the dream of every proper tourist too ). 53km on foot, between 4700 and 5723 meters above sea level.
Check out these expressions: in a word – exhausted! But inside – excited: our kora begins tomorrow!…
Agreed: not the best restaurant in the world. But what did that matter – tomorrow: this! ->
The rest of the photos from Tibet are here.