Today the Trans Himalayan Adventure was subjected to four feats of nature. The first was the news that at around 4am this morning, there had been an earthquake some 116km south of our hotel. With the mountains surrounding us taking the brunt of the tremor, half of the rally felt the earth move while the others slept like a baby.
At the much more civilised time of between 8.30 and 9am, the crews departed the lovely hotel in Bome and started their 268km route for the day. Not a long day but route designer Kim Bannister had taken into consideration just how much stopping and starting there would be to see all the wonderous surrounding we would meet on the roads.
Rich green trees and bright blue skies took us away from Bome and as we once again followed the river banks we came to the majestic Linzhitong Mai Te Bridge that would lead us to our second feat of nature – a sighting of the Gyala Pelri Peak which stands at 7151m in between two gorges. At its base, the glacier meets one of the largest rivers in the world, the Yarlung Tsangpo which turns into the Brahmaputra in India.
The roadside here however was reminiscent of the rainforest with bamboo trees, crickets and some snakes although thankfully we didn’t see any on today’s excursion.
It was then onto the Bridge of Polonggou which connects two tunnels to take us across the gore and further into the mountains.
The crews stoppedin Lulong for lunch at a beautiful Tibetan Restaurant, whose owner is a famous Tibetan singer. Our hosts at the Nine Eyes Stone Tibetan Restaurant & Stone Pot had a traditional Tibetan ‘Hot Pot’ on the go at each table with a beef stew cooking in a clay pot.
On arrival, it was down to the crews to add their vegetables and noodles to which they all tucked in. The staff were all dressed in colourful national dress and were as busy taking pictures of the crews as they were having pictures taken. They all seemed very taken with sweep Karim De Mynn as his long beard continues to cause interest.
It was then time to ascend up through the Sea of Forest to 4565m at the Serkhym La which would lead ustowards Linzhi.
This gave us our third feat of nature for the day and our very first sighting of the Himalayan range of mountains that forms the border with India. The proper name is the Namche Barwa and, standing at 7756m, is the 15th highest mountain in the world.
While trying to get the perfect picture, we met three travellers from Chengdu who exclaimed “You’re famous!” Apparently, this event is all over every news outlet in China and some of you may have spotted a few TV cars while on the route.
Crews stopped and posed in front of the mountains, hoping for the clouds to give us the perfect clear view but instead as the stragglers left, we had a snow shower for our send-off.
Tonight’s hotel is located by the Yarlong Tsangpo River and is reminiscent of a grand Tibetan palace, incorporating Chinese architectural flourishes and modern luxuries.
It was in the car park that the fourth feat of nature was realised – today there had been no roadside breakdowns or mechanical issues and there were only a few checks needed before dinner. Looks like the cars have become acclimatised already.
To celebrate, most crews enjoyed a sumptuous buffet while others opted for an a la carte offering. Tonight, everyone went to bed with a full tummy and a full heart after another excellent day.