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Old 12th September 2012, 14:53   #61
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Quote:
Originally Posted by _raVan_ View Post
Awesome travelogue Rohit Rated the thread 5 *s and awaiting updates. Also, please do post the total amount spent on this trip including splits for the fuel and accomodation.

Theres another similar thread with a guy in his linea in MyFiatWorld:
http://www.myfiatworld.in/showthread...Via-Khardungla

I have an excel sheet in which all the expenses incurred during the trip are logged. I will upload that once I finish my travelogue.

Regarding the link that you've posted, it belongs J Ravi sir who was first person to drive a Linea there. Its posted in this forum itself under the title "Leh in a Linea". His trip was the final push that I needed to start my trip.
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Old 12th September 2012, 15:36   #62
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Amazing TL rohit. Kudos to your courage & determination that you could make this trip a successful one.

Excellent description and photos. Don't keep us waiting.
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Old 12th September 2012, 20:54   #63
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Another Great Indian Roadtrip. It seems that the Linea took it well. BTW, did you return via same route i.e. Zojila or via Manali? That section can be very very torturous to cars like Linea. Please post the next installments soon, eagerly waiting.
Another question, have you used the bypass for Mumbai as suggested by HVK or you took the direct route and hence it took 2 hours to come out of Mumbai?
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Old 12th September 2012, 21:21   #64
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Rohit,

You have done an Awesome achievement. Many congrats to you, your co passengers and your Linea for completing an amazing feat!

Enjoying the pictures and narration, keep it coming, rating 5 stars.
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Old 12th September 2012, 21:41   #65
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Another Great Indian Roadtrip. It seems that the Linea took it well. BTW, did you return via same route i.e. Zojila or via Manali? That section can be very very torturous to cars like Linea. Please post the next installments soon, eagerly waiting.
Another question, have you used the bypass for Mumbai as suggested by HVK or you took the direct route and hence it took 2 hours to come out of Mumbai?
Thanks Kaushik. The Linea took everything in its stride and just did not have any hiccups.
We entered Ladakh region from Srinagar side, thereby climbing Zoji La and exited from the Manali side descending from Rothang Pass. Rothang was by far the worst where the underbelly of the car took innumerable beatings. After all that, the only casualty was a bent engine guard which I got it fixed from a local garage for Rs 100 in Manali. That was the only "problem" we faced with the car.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Another question, have you used the bypass for Mumbai as suggested by HVK or you took the direct route and hence it took 2 hours to come out of Mumbai?
Unfortunately I did not pay heed to HVK's Mumbai bypass, instead relied on the GPS to get us out of Mumbai. Looking back, I could have saved 1hr had I followed HVK's route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
Amazing TL rohit. Kudos to your courage & determination that you could make this trip a successful one.

Excellent description and photos. Don't keep us waiting.
Thanks Arup. You will have to wait a little longer while I choose from thousands of photos, the next set of photos to be uploaded.
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Old 15th September 2012, 20:20   #66
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Day 9 (21st Aug 2012)

Today our aim was to reach Leh which was only 260km from Kargil. So we started the day casually by waking up at 8.00 am and left Kargil by 9.00 am. All the other guests who stayed overnight in our hotel were up and ready by 7.00 itself. I guess by now we were seasoned travelers and 260 km is just a walk in the park. So we left Hotel Siachen in Kargil by 9.00 and drove on the brilliant highway towards Mulbek. Juat as we exited Kargil city, we found an Indian Oil petrol pump and decided to tank up there even thought there was more than half tank still remaining (see I learnt from my mistakes)

What a view from a Petrol Pump !!!
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That is Kargil town in the background
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Our next stop was Mulbekh, which was also our breakfast stop. The roads immediately after Kargil were all freshly tarred and was superb but as we neared Mulbekh, the condition worsened and it became a dirt track from just 14kms from Kargil. So the remaining 20 odd kms were, lets say, another day in the office for us and the car . As we neared Mulbekh we spotted a clean restaurant and decided to have our breakfast there. As is the norm in there areas, breakfast means maggi and maggi only apart from tea. Had hot and spicy maggie which was very tasty and also had tea there. By the time our breakfast was done, it was already 10.00 am and it was another hot and dry day in Ladakh region. Since the roads were nothing but a dirt track, there was huge dust storms when a vehicle goes by in the opposite direction. So right from Kargil we had to drive with the AC on. One thing worth mentioning here was even with the AC on, driving on those steep gradients and high altitudes seemed to have no extra strain on the engine. The only difference was the monster AC fan running, which from the outside sounded like a light aircraft taking off. It was that loud.

Moving on, the Buddha statue in Mulbekh was another 15 min drive and we arrived there expecting it to be much much bigger which it wasn't. We went on the inside where it was like any other Buddhist monastery. A few photos, a few paintings, lots of currency notes from different countries on these photos and prayer flags. Spent another 20 min exploring the place before leaving.

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This was one of the photos from inside. See the currency notes from various countries placed at the bottom of the photo
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My best efforts to capture the entire statue in one frame
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Mulbekh over, we were back on the highway driving towards Leh. Before that was Fotu La which is the highest point on the Srinagar Leh highway. As we started to ascent the drive was becoming quite monotonous with grey mountains all around. To break the boredom one of my co passengers made an interesting observation. What appeared to be mountain with sheer drops, there were animals roaming on those slopes. This caught my attention and as we looked more intently, we were able to spot a Shepard and his herd. From far, it appeared as if he is walking vertically.I bet in just one look none of you guys are going to spot him or the animals.

Find the man and his animals
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Me and the car while climbing Fotu La
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Superb views. Isn't it ?
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The car climbed those steep gradients towards Fotu La with the AC on throughout and it did not complain at all. The roads after Mulbekh was superb throughout with very good quality tar roads. This made the ascent far more comfortable and relaxing. Few kms before Fotu La, there was a jam as a lorry had broken down on one of the few hairpin bends. This caused about 30 mins of delay as vehicle had to drive around the truck. While I stopped the car and stepped out, there was an Army gypsy ahead and the driver started to walk towards me. Expecting another conversation in Hindi about my trip, I was pleasantly surprised when he spoke in Kannada. He hails from Gokarna and is currently posted in Leh. We exchanged pleasantries and explained him about our mega road trip. Before we could talk any more, the traffic cleared which made us run back to our vehicles and drive on.

He was the Gypsy driver who hailed from Gokarna in Karnataka. Such a nice gentleman.
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From here, Fotu la was just round the corner. Stopped there for a compulsory photo session.

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The GPS shows that Fotu La was 13,448.16 (4099 m) ft high. But they claim it to be 13479 ft
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I had just a peek on whats there on the other side of Fotu la and what a treat it was. DRIVING HEAVEN !!!!!

Looks very tempting to drive like a rally driver here. But had to pull myself back :(
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It was such a nice experience driving on new roads. It has the ability to shrink distances between two places. As a result in no time we saw board indicating a left towards Lamayaru monastery. At this point I should mention about another incident. At Fotu La where I had stopped for a photo session, a Tempo Traveller overtook us and drove on. I had to drive behind him for about 10 kms after which the tempo driver decided to stop as there was a nice view of a valley. Almost immediately after the tempo stopped, a tourist ran out of the tempo with a camera in his hand and was crossing the road. I slowed down assuming that he was crossing the road to get a better picture of the valley, but no , I was wrong. He stood on the road and took pics of our car and gave a thumbs up. For a moment, I felt like a celebrity.

This was the view for which the Tempo guy had stopped
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Coming back to reality, we made our way to the lovely Lamayaru Monastery but unfortunately it was lunch time there. Took this opportunity to have our lunch at the restaurant there. Later we toured the monastery.

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As we drove towards Leh, I remember seeing pictures on T-BHp logs about colorful mountains and felt nice seeing them in person. One of those mountains had a similar colour as our car.

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To be contd in the next post ...

Last edited by rohittunga : 15th September 2012 at 20:23.
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Old 16th September 2012, 13:38   #67
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Contd from the previous post

As we were driving towards Leh, we had to pass through small towns and while passing through one particular town, there were apple trees and apricots. It was the first time that we saw these things in trees. So I stopped the car and went on foot to investigate further.

One of the roadside apple trees. Most of them were withing our reach
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There was a shop near by and I inquired about these apples and apricots to which he replied saying that there is a woman selling these fruits just ahead. So we drove for another 1km and true to his words, there was a lone Ladakhi woman selling fresh juicy small apples for just Rs 20. That helped us get re-energized a certain extent to face the most famous landmark of Leh, those super straight roads.

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As dirty as a car can get, yet beautiful
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We spent a good 45 min there taking pictures of us and the surroundings from all possible angles. There was almost nil traffic which made us feel as if we own the road. Since the traffic is very light in these areas, you become very friendly and familiar with those few truckers that ply on these routes. So there was this trucker whom we followed all the way from Lamayaru. I usually overtake him and stop frequently to take pictures. By that time he catches up with me and overtakes while I still take pictures. Then as I drive on I again overtake him until the next place that I stop at which he overtakes. This tandem motion was going on all the way till those straight roads just after Nimmu. As we stopped for a longish break, he overtakes me with a friendly smile. When we finish our photo session there we drive on only to find that friendly lorry driver had carried too much speed on one tight corner and had toppled. To his luck there was minimal damage to him because had he skidded down a few more feet, then he would've fallen into a deep gorge.

See how precariously the lorry had fallen
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I immediately stopped the car and went to the toppled lorry expecting the worst. But thank god everything was fine and the driver told that help was on its way from Leh as it was just another 20 ~25 kms from the spot. We were all too excited as Leh city was approaching and then this board appeared

At 6.15 pm we entered Leh
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I had already made reservations for our stay in Leh, but unfortunately it wasn't mapped on our GPS. We entered Leh city by driving past the airport and stopped at the Polo Grounds for further directions. Here I learnt another important lesson in Ladakhi hospitality. At the polo grounds, I parked the car and went on foot looking helpless and asking for directions. Then a person approaches and asks me where I had to go, to which I replied "Kidar guest house kahan hai". He thought I was looking for a guest house and said "Har budget ka guest house milta hai. Aapka budget kitna hai"
Then I cleared the air by saying that the Guest house has already been booked and the name of the guest house is Kidar Guest House and the owner's name is Jigmet. Then he tell me that its approximately 7 kms from the polo grounds and explains me on the route. I understood NONE of it except that I had to go back towards the petrol pump and then ....So I just nodded my head as if I got to know the address. Thanked him for this help and drove towards the petrol pump and got down to ask the attendant about the route.

Little did I know that the guy was actually following me all the way from polo grounds (looking at my puzzled face, he must have understood that I didn't get the route) and before I could speak to the attendant, he signals me to follow his Santro. This was totally unexpected and I started to drive following his car. Our guest house was a little far from the city and he was driving through narrow lanes and going past narrow gullies. If I had gone on my own, definitely I would have got lost in those maze kind of roads. Several kms later he stops the car and signals to me that this place was Kidar guest house. He didn't stop there as he came along with me to the reception and only when the lady in the guest house confirmed about my reservations did he leave. Wow !!! What hospitality, I mean just for us he drove almost 7kms and dropped us to our guest house. I was totally taken aback and thanked him profusely to which he replied saying "You are our guests. This is the least that we can do to help you people". Got a taste of the wonderful hospitality that Ladakh is so famous for.

There was just enough light to capture some amazing views from our guest house. As it turned dark, we had dinner in their clean restaurants and went to our rooms. Finally we were in Leh... Yeaahhh

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What a view from our Guest House
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Had porridge and tea for dinner at their restaurant
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Day 9 was over. Tomorrow I had to get the permits for Khardung and Pangong and decided to keep tomorrow as a rest day.
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Old 16th September 2012, 16:51   #68
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

@rohittunga

First of all a wonderful travelogue. Couldn't stop reading cover to cover ... Secondly this travelogue inspires more confidence in the Italian Beauty than anything else. Keep the photos coming.
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Old 16th September 2012, 17:58   #69
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Just read this log from end to end & it is awesome. Bring it on. By the way how much do they charge for the chopper in vaishno devi & how did you make the bookings ?
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Old 16th September 2012, 21:00   #70
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Day 10 (22nd Aug 2012)

A quick word about our hotel: Kidar Guest House
HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This place is heavenly and the hosts were even better. The rooms were impeccably spic and span and the food from the restaurant was super. No wonder its rated as the No 1 guest house in Leh according to Trip Advisor. It really deserves the title. I can literally go on and on praising about the guest house so you can imagine how good it really was. Since we couldn't book online, I took Jigmet's number (from Internet) and called him. He spoke really well and told to make Rs 1500 as advance which I promptly did. We had booked the family room which costed Rs 1500 per night and it was totally worth it.
The only downside that I can think of is the location which is a little far from the city and of course the name of the guest house


As I had said in closing lines of my previous post, today was a total rest day for us. The only event planned was to go and get the permits and if possible visit Shanti Stupa in the evening. So until evening it was rest time for all except me. So after a quick breakfast at the restaurant I left for the DC office which opens at 10.00 am. Fortunately, the GPS had this location mapped which helped me tremendously. Therefore by 10.30 am sharp I was at the DC office. Thanks to all those people who already posted in this forum about the procedures, I was able to get the forms and started filling the permits. Had applied permits for
  1. Khardung La
  2. Pangong Tso
  3. Mahe
  4. Tso Moriri

Although Mahe and Tso Moriri was a long shot, I decided to get the permits anyway. The total cost for all these permits and the new "Environmental Tax" for 4 of us was Rs 1200. For that all you get is a permit and a postcard.
My next aim was to get the car washed as it was looking more like a rally car rather than a saloon car. Also I had carried a spare Air Filter with me which I changed myself in our room. That old filter (read just 5000 km old) was choked with dust from climbing Zoji la and other dusty areas. No wonder I got a very dismal 17.6 kmpl from Kargil to Leh . More on that later.

So my first stop was the Maruti/Mahindra service centers. I wanted to buy another air filter just in case. So when I went to the Spare parts section, I first asked him for SX4 diesel air filter to which he replied NO. Then I asked him for a Swift diesel air filter ( at least that's a very popular car in India). He went into the warehouse and came back saying No again. Damn! The only option left was to take the old air filter and get it cleaned by blowing compressed air on it. That he readily agreed for and asked me to get the filter. I could see that the place was extremely cramped with multiple cars already in queue for washing. He said that it may take anywhere from 4 ~6 hrs to get it washed which I was not willing to waste.

Therefore I started looking for other service stations where I could wash it immediately. After visiting 2 ~ 3 such centers (all of them were also crowded), I finally caught hold of one of the service centers on the Manali - Leh highway and got it washed for Rs 150. Then comes the torture of watching such a well maintained swirl free car getting rubbed literally with sandpaper . No wash mitts no 2 bucket method and no microfiber towel. It was the same old baniyan which he used to wash the wheels, wheel wells, mudflaps, bonnet, roof everywhere. I felt disgusted.

This is the car after wash. The only solace was that the car looked shiny, but look closely and you'd see monster swirl marks
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Came back to our room around lunch time and dined again in our hotel itself. After lunch we took a long afternoon nap as it was boiling outside. So after the heat of the day was gone, we decided to visit Shanthi Stupa. Here are the the set of pictures from that location.

Just loved the dog in this picture
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Thats Leh Palace
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That valley is Leh city. Note that Leh is surrounded by mountains from all sides
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Spot the military trucks !!!
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Spot the military trucks again !!!
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A beautiful and absolutely calm meditation hall in Shanti Stupa
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The Shanti Stupa was such a nice place that we just didn't want to leave the place. Next up we wanted to try the Leh Palace but got a firm NO from my co passengers as it involved climbing some steps and they hadn't yet acclimatized properly. Instead, we parked the car on the most famous street in Leh and explored the city on foot. First stop was the much famed German Bakery where we had delicious Carrot cake and some cake full of nuts (sorry for not remembering the name).

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That was all we did on that day, an extremely relaxing day by our standards. Went to a chemist and bought another strip of Diamox and headed back to our Guest house for a lovely plate of hot porridge and called it a day.

Next day this was beckoning us

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-113.jpg
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Old 16th September 2012, 21:09   #71
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Quote:
Originally Posted by ike View Post
Just read this log from end to end & it is awesome. Bring it on. By the way how much do they charge for the chopper in vaishno devi & how did you make the bookings ?
Thanks for the compliment.

One can book a chopper by just logging on the below mentioned website

https://www.maavaishnodevi.org/

Before you can book a chopper, you have to register yourself and then log in to book. A ride on a helicopter costs Rs 701 one way and there are two agencies that provide the Helicopter Services namely
  • Pawan Hans
  • Global Vectra

The flight duration is around 5~6 minutes and takes you to Sanji Chat which is 2.5 kms from the main Bhawan. The helicopter starts from as early as 8.00 am (weather permitting) and goes on all the way till 5.10 pm with approximately 10 minutes interval.

Because of the high demand for helicopters, its best advised to book it at least a month before hand and print the transaction as proof while boarding. The helipad is around 4~5 kms from bus stand and auto drivers charge anywhere between Rs 70 to Rs 80 for the journey. Ideally your hotel guy should drop you free of cost.
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Old 17th September 2012, 16:16   #72
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

OH BOY OH BOY!!! WHAT A TRAVELOGUE...simply awesome.
And the most beautiful Linea I've seen in my life!
Awesome.
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Old 17th September 2012, 18:10   #73
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Last Friday during our Gurgaon meet, someone mentioned about this travelogue and also hinted at J. ravi's travelogue during discussion of Ansuman's recent trip to Leh.
I didn't know at that time it was yours, amazing is the word, it took almost 2 hours to go through each of your post. very well done.
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Old 18th September 2012, 16:16   #74
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

@Rohitunga : Thanks once again for the beautiful TL and nice pictures. Glued to your TL for I hope to do this trip next year on my Linea.

You and your magnificient Linea have proved once again what this Italian beauty is capable of and people call this car "underpowered". Fiat cars are so under rated in India.

Reuest you to post the remaining part soon, don't keep us waiting.
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Old 18th September 2012, 21:08   #75
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
@Rohitunga : Thanks once again for the beautiful TL and nice pictures. Glued to your TL for I hope to do this trip next year on my Linea.

You and your magnificient Linea have proved once again what this Italian beauty is capable of and people call this car "underpowered". Fiat cars are so under rated in India.

Reuest you to post the remaining part soon, don't keep us waiting.
Thank you so much
What a car it is, no matter what terrain I drive on, the car did get battered and bruised quite badly in some cases but never gave up !!

Underpowered ??? It applies only to those who see the car in papers and brochures. Those who live with it and drive it day in and day out know the reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzrockz View Post
OH BOY OH BOY!!! WHAT A TRAVELOGUE...simply awesome.
And the most beautiful Linea I've seen in my life!
Awesome.
Thank you so much for the compliments!!! All Lineas' are the most beautiful sights on the roads especially Bronzo Scuro (that was my favorite. Pity that I couldn't get that on a MJD) and Tuscan Wine

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksons View Post
Last Friday during our Gurgaon meet, someone mentioned about this travelogue and also hinted at J. ravi's travelogue during discussion of Ansuman's recent trip to Leh.
I didn't know at that time it was yours, amazing is the word, it took almost 2 hours to go through each of your post. very well done.
Wow I never knew that my log would generate that much attention. Thank you so much Jacksons !!!

I am posting the next set of details of my travelogue right away. So hope you guys like it
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