We flew into Leh on the first day of our adventure aboard a very early morning flight from Delhi. The approach to Leh airport is what could be termed interesting. 360 degrees of surrounding mountain ranges a narrow valley and a dusty ex military airstrip to try and land on. It was a sick bags out and hold onto the seat of your pants kind of a landing!
After clearing the never ending bureaucracy of the airport (which is in more or less in lock-down mode due to volatile political tensions in the region) we eventually emerged to grab lifts in a convoy of small taxi vans which whisked us through the labyrinth of dusty and bumpy roads that make up old Leh away and up to our hotel.
After a nail biting cab ride that only third world countries can deliver we arrived at our hotel/hostel where we were cordially greeted with traditional prayer scarves by the genial hotel staff.
Following being fed and watered the rest of the day was spent just sleeping and gaining some much needed R&R. Later after awaking I had a quick walk into town.
Very dusty and muddy with potholes everywhere is the best way to describe the streets of Leh. The town is a strange fusion of Indian and Tibetan influenced cultures. Many Tibetan refugees have made the town their new home and Buddhist influence abounds.
I ended up wandering around one of the many Tibetan Bazaars that litter the town and made a timely investment in some prayer flags. (always good to have as much spiritual support as can be mustered when attempting to climb a 6000m peak).
Nothing much else of note happened for the rest of the day as this was just one of what would come to be one of many all too familiar acclimatisation days.
Day two of the trip though would hold the hope of some much needed physical exhertion by means of a much vaunted and promised trip to the very old and famous Alchi Monastery some distance away up the Indus Valley. Catch the next post to read all about the monastery.
Follow along with the expedition updates being posted over the coming weeks.