Breathtaking Himalayas

Martin, Specialist Data Engineer - Waregem

In 2011, I made the most beautiful trip of my life (so far): three weeks by motorbike through the Himalayan Mountains in India. Impressive nature, a fantastic country and a very captivating population!

 

When I was still working in Antwerp and Brussels, I bought myself a motorbike to avoid the traffic jams. That's how I got into it and riding my motorbike has been my regular hobby since the end of the 90s. Through my BMW dealer, I ended up with the motorcycle club, BMW Flanders. Together we often go on a day trip, on weekend rides, or even on trips to neighbouring countries.

 

In August 2011, we made our first long trip. Sixteen club members took a plane to New Delhi and rented Enfield 500 motorbikes locally. Over a period of three weeks, we crossed the Indian Himalayas along the five highest mountain passes in the world. A jeep followed us the entire time with our luggage and jerry cans of gasoline. We reached altitudes of up to 5378 m! On the top of the mountain, there were all kinds of prayer flags. The Buddhist population believes that their wishes are spread via the wind and reach the right people.

 

The route itself was by no means obvious: dirt or rocky roads with many holes, mud and obstacles. Some of our fellow travellers did fall quite seriously. Because the trail is used by the Indian army, the road must always be repaired quickly. So there was always work going on somewhere along the mountain path. We were also regularly confronted with dangerous oncoming vehicles - often large trucks that came to supply the shops in the mountain villages.

 

Throughout the trip, we hung a Buddhist flag on a motorbike. Afterwards, we cut up that flag and put the pieces in keychains. These were distributed to mucosal patients. Mucoviscidosis is a hereditary cystic fibrosis that complicates breathing and digestion, and is unfortunately incurable.

 

One of the group members was Rik , System Coordinator at TVH. I wasn't working at TVH at the time, so I only got to know him as a very nice travel partner back then. But now we are also colleagues!

 

There was also a photographer in our midst. After the trip we collected the most beautiful photos in the book 'Breathtaking Himalayas' ('Adembenemend Himalaya', 2011, Uitgeverij Snoeck), which is still available in the bookshop today. The proceeds from the sale of this book will go entirely to the 'Mucovereniging', which is dedicated to patients suffering from cystic fibrosis.

 

Journalist Annemie Struyf on 'Breathtaking Himalayas': "I close the book and take a deep breath. For a moment I've been in the Himalayas."

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