Khardung La – The Highest Road

TnT are on the road once again. Thomas and I joined up with Cat and Bella to hire a jeep to take us up and over Khardung La pass to the Nubra Valley, the region to the northeast of Leh along the border with Tibet and Pakistan. You might be thinking, “Another Himalayan Valley?” But this Himalayan Valley comes with a twist, or rather the road leading to it comes with a twist, and we just couldn’t pass it up. Continue…

Cat and Bella

Cat and Bella are the first mother/daughter team we’ve met traveling long-term. When we first started talking outside Thiksey monastery in Ladakh, we thought we were chatting with two sisters. But soon we discovered that Bella, the short spunky lady, was only 11 years old (with the attitude of a 25-year old). We immediately hit it off and arranged to hire a jeep together for the next three days to visit Nubra Valley.

Ladakh was Cat and Bella’s first introduction to India. The perfect place to ease in and minimize the culture shock coming from Europe, where they spent several months traveling after leaving their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico this summer. They’ll be gone for one school year, but that doesn’t mean vacation pure for Bella – or for Cat as a matter of fact. Continue…

The Happy Horseman – Your Clicks Count

While traveling through Zanskar, we spent the night in Ichar with Stanzin Nayan and his wonderful family whose warm welcome really touched us.

Stanzin was attempting to support his family working independently as a horseman leading tourists through the region. Unfortunately, he was working without a tent or sleeping bags, quite a challenge in such an extreme environment. Sitting in his kitchen, we already started hatching a plan to help the family out. Continue…

Zanskar Pictorial

Zanskar was a real blast, but we are taking a few days to rest and, of course, EAT!!! In the meantime, enjoy a little more of the spectacular region in our “Across Zanskar” pictorial.

You’ll notice that, for technical reasons, we are using a new one-page pictorial format. Let us know if you have any problems with the new design.

Help Us Promote ContemporaryNomad.com

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Padum to Lamayuru

After the first Zanskar video, here’s the second half of our trek. Follow along as we hike from Padum to Lamayuru along the turquoise Zanskar River, over eight (!) incredibly steep passes and by impressive rock formations. The video features several of the passes we had to cross, more homestays in traditional villages, and a glimpse of monastic life in Lingshed and Lamayuru monasteries. Also, witness the shocking end of complete isolation as the road construction pushes forward and has now reached Sirsir La pass just hours away from Photoksar.

Please see our note about the posting delay.

Donkeys Need Love, Too!

We pet this cute donkey while we were in Lamayuru, and clearly it was the first time this little guy had ever received kindness from a human. He followed us around gently nudging us in the back or rubbing against our hands asking to be pet again. Here he is sneaking up behind me while I was sitting on the cliffs overlooking the city.

A Different Kind of Ice Plant

When we left our campground early in the morning walking towards the next pass, we noticed all these bizarre ice formations.

There seems to be a connection between a particular plant (which, at this time of year, looks completely dry) and the icy curls growing around it. Continue…

Lamayuru 360 View

Well, after 19 days of walking and 275 kilometers (170 miles), we’ve finally made it to our end destination, Lamayuru. It’s been quite an adventure. To celebrate this exciting achievement, we are sharing with you the view over the incredible monastery at Lamayuru in this 360 panorama.

The Eighth Pass

“Only two more days of walking,” I thought to myself as I was huffing and puffing up toward Sirsir La, a 4,800 meter (15,744 ft) pass just 100 meters ahead. This would be the eighth pass in the last 18 days and it certainly didn’t seem to be getting easier. I looked back and saw Tony leaning over his hiking poles resting. All I could hear was the wind and my own breathing. Then I caught a last glimpse of Photoksar in the distance, the little village we had left only 3 hours ago. What an amazing place to be.

I continued walking. Just as I was approaching the saddle studded with colorful prayer flags, I heard a low rumbling coming from the other side of the pass. “What the heck?” I wondered, pushing on faster to see what was going on. As I got closer to the top, the noise suddenly increased. I looked toward the source and couldn’t believe the evil I was witnessing. Continue…