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Here is our Newsletter #14!
We are in India!
We have arrived in our country no. 13 around six weeks ago. Read all about our time here in this newsletter.
As usual, you will find one of our favorite photos as a full resolution download below.
Have fun!
Nightly view of the Jaisalmer Fort
Crossing the border

We entered India from the famous Wagah border to Pakistan. The tense relationship between these two countries (at least on the political side) is shown here every day during the border closing ceremony. On both sides, soldiers march in an exaggerated way to demonstrate their power. With big moves they take down the flags and slam the gates at the end. Interestingly, the soldiers on both sides do it synchronously. It is obvious that they train the choreography together...
Relaxed start

Our first couple of days, we spent in Amritsar, better said in the Golden Temple. It is one of the holiest places for the people of Sikh. It is a big areal with the central pool for ablution. Almost one whole day, we just sat next to the pool in the sun and watched the thousand people walking by, on their way to the Golden Temple. It is a busy place with many pilgrims but still calm and peaceful. We could sleep in one of the pilgrim houses, one sector is for foreigners. The temple provides free food for everybody, 24 hours a day, every day. The system works with donations and the personal help from the pilgrims for cleaning the place, preparing the food and washing the thousands of plates and cups every day.
For us, it was a good start in this hectic country full of people, noise and rubbish - at least, we expected it to be like that.
Going south

After Amristar, we drove south. We entered the state of Rajasthan and arrived in the city Bikaner.
India is probably the most touristic country on our journey so far. We decided to enjoy this instead of feeling annoyed. One point on our tourist list was a camel safari. In Bikaner, we could not only attend the annual Camel Festival that took place the same weekend we stayed in town. We could also sit on a camel for a day and sleep in the desert. A British couple joined us on the camel safari and we had great 1,5 days during the bumpy ride and the bonfire in the evening.
European enclave in the desert 

Our next stop was the city Jaisalmer far west in Rajasthan. We visited the, still inhabited, Fort, many temples and surrounding places. Although, it was quite touristic as well, we enjoyed the days there with good food, beer and lassi.
One day, walking around in the Fort area, we ran into our Italian friends Luca and Sameena. Maybe, you remember our story from Turkey and the change of plans after the coup in July last year. Maybe not - read it HERE. After more than six months with occasional WhatsApp messages, we knew that they had arrived in India, as well. But it was just out of the sudden, that we met them in a tiny street inside the Fort. We were both looking for a place for lunch. The next hours, we spent together with them and their friends, an overlanding family from Germany. We decided to meet again in the next days in a more relaxed environment. 
For our planned China crossing, we had met "online" a couple from the Netherlands that will do this trip through China with us. Coincidentally, they were in the area around Jaisalmer at the same time. The next days, we had great fun with our Italian, German and Dutch friends in the dunes around Jaisalmer. Luca, an experienced off road driver, gave some driving lessons to the boys. The evenings, we shared dinner and some stories around the bonfire.
Special breakfast meeting 

We continued our trip into the state of Gujarat. One night, we camped in the middle of a dry salt lake. Another couple of days, we spent in the small town of Sasan Gir. There, you find the last free-living Asiatic lions. In a Jeep safari, we explored the National Park with all its wildlife. And we were more than lucky - we could observe seven lions having breakfast. From a distance of around three meters, the lions enjoyed the buffalo, unimpressed by our presence.
Sneaking in for some ships

The full story about our exciting adventure into the ship wrecking plant in Alang is on our blog. Just click HERE to read it and especially see the pics from this interesting and kind of "out of this world" place.
India is the world’s number one in recycling! Well, not when it comes to recycling domestic waste. This is pretty obvious, once you have seen the big piles of waste outside most Indian towns and cities. But India hosts the world’s largest ship recycling plant. And we have sneaked our way inside.. Read more>>
Big city and small beaches

Our next stop was Mumbai. With its 20 Million inhabitants, this city is incredibly busy. We could stay a our friends' place. We had met Sonia and Gautam in Georgia, where they invited us to visit them in Mumbai. During the day, we did some sightseeing and bought stuff for Willie (e.g. a new solar panel!). The evenings and the Sunday, we spent with our friends. They showed us the pretty district of Bandra, the houses of some famous Indian actors (both work in film business) and the fun of betting in a horse race.
Although, the traffic in the streets of Mumbai was insane and the ride with the train exhausting due to the more than fully loaded wagons, we were impressed by this city with the biggest slum in Asia on one side and tons of modern skyscrapers, cafes and bars on the other side. 
After one week in Mumbai, we really needed some rest. We met David and Josephine, our Dutch friends again (see their beautiful blog HERE) and found some beautiful and calm beaches at the coast south of Mumbai. We drove slowly, had a break for a dive in Malvan and another two days on a hidden beach next to a small fisher village. For the first time, Anna disemboweled fishes and Heiner cut coconuts fresh from the palm tree. The fried fish with tomato-coconut sauce was delicious!
Holidays from traveling

For some it might sound weird. But we really needed a break from traveling. We were looking forward to the Indian beaches for a long time. Not driving for two weeks, not freezing in the night, just camping, sun and the ocean. We found the right place on the beach in Agonda. The state of Goa, although it is very small, is one of the main tourist destinations for beach vacation in India. Also the beach of Agonda is full of cafes, shops and white people. But at the southern end, there is a space, well known under overlanders, that is far enough to be quiet but close enough to have a beer or buy some fruits in one of the stalls.
We play Backgammon, work on the blog, go for a swim or a ride on the scooter and enjoy the sunset.
India is busy, full of people, noise and rubbish. But it is less crazy than we had expected. It has beautiful places, great people, good food - we really like it so far!
FOR YOU

Here it is! Our regular gift! The best picture, made by us, for you! The beautiful lion protecting his buddies during breakfast. HERE

Also, check out on YouTube our newest timelapse videos from our ride through Georgia! 

 
See you on the road!
Anna and Heiner
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