I landed in Kathmandu this morning to join leg 8 of the Land Rover Silk Trail 2013 expedition. The expedition commenced on 23rd August 2013 from Land Rover’s base in Solihull, Birmingham and will finish – all being well – on 15th October 2013 in Mumbai, home of Tata Motors Ltd. which acquired Land Rover in 2008 – a journey of some 16,000 kilometres.
Arriving at Kathmandu airport was an interesting experience in itself. As we touched down on the runway, I saw what looked to be a burnt out jet next to the airport fire station. There were various old, unused planes nearby and my suspicion was that this was just used for drills, but it certainly didn’t make for a re-assuring arrival!
As we went through to passport control, we passed numerous signs, proudly telling us little snippets about Nepal. Did you know that Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha? And that it’s home to the world’s highest mountain and the world’s shortest man?
Once through passport/visa control and baggage re-claim, I made my way through to arrivals where people were immediately touting for booking my hotel, offering me a taxi, and so on and so forth. Thankfully a Land Rover sign was visible amongst the melee and I was warmly welcomed by a gentleman who kindly guided me to the right vehicle. It was at this point, that about three or four very friendly Nepalese men offered to take my luggage from me. Only one of them was the driver, though… the others were simply trying their luck. That would not have been a good start!
From the airport, we gradually made our way through to the Dwarika Hotel where the booklet in my room advises that I keep the windows closed when I’m not here, to prevent monkeys from entering. I haven’t seen any yet but apparently there are some at the nearby Pashupatinath Temple that occasionally go walkabout.
This is a trip I’ve been excited about for a number of weeks and is sure to be a great experience. Leg 8, which runs from Kathmandu to Delhi (via Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar) officially begins tomorrow, but here are a few pictures I took this afternoon and a video (apologies for the quality) to give you a feel for what it’s like here.
And here’s what the trip is all about – a final testing of the all new Range Rover hybrid which is coming out next year. There are three of these vehicles making the journey.
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