After escaping the heat of Amritsar, we jumped on a bus headed for Dharamsala, at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The bus ride there was our first real Indian transport challenge, and it certainly pushed our patience after so many hours in such an uncomfortable bus. After much arguing, negotiating and waiting around it worked out in the end.

Our first night up in McLeod Ganj was at a hostel way up and out of town and involved getting a taxi as far as it could drive, then walking for 20 minutes with our heavy gear in the rain! We even had to walk through spontaneous rivers of water – one of which stole one of Greg’s flip flops. He was not impressed.

To top it off, the hostel wasn’t amazing, Greg was feeling sick and didn’t want to be in a dorm, so we checked out 2 days early to find a private room – somewhere we can relax for a few days.

McLeod Ganj and the nearby villages felt quite different from the other parts of India we’d been to so far. There are far fewer Indians here, the area has a large Tibetan population and there is also a huge influx of Israeli tourists. It also has a much more relaxed vibe than other parts of India we’ve experienced so far, which was a welcome change.

McLeod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exhile, and we were actually fortunate enough to see the Dalai Lama speak. He was there doing a 4 day teaching, however the topic was a little too deep into the Buddhist philosophy for us, so we only stayed for the first day. Unfortunately they were very strict about no cameras or phones, so we were unable to take any photos – you’ll just have to take our word for it.

We also visited the Tibetan museum and learnt the heartbreaking history of destruction that China has caused to the country and their culture.

The rest of the week Greg was rather sick with a terrible cough that kept him up all night and then left him feeling tired and lethargic during the days to the point he rarely left the hotel room.  In the meantime, I (Jojo) was out and about exploring the nearby villages of Dharamakot and Bhagsu Nag and trying to avoid getting stuck in downpours of monsoon rain, which seemed to come out of nowhere and take me completely by surprise every time.

The villages were rustic, with every store being either a jewellery store, bakery, or a cafe. Posters advertising yoga and meditation (and even hardcore psychedelic drugs) in both English and Hebrew were everywhere.

We took advantage of the many bakeries in the area. Bhagsu Nag is famous for a type of cake, which is like a caramel pie covered in dark chocolate and appropriately called the Bhagsu cake. We made it a mission to try this on multiple occasions from various cafes – we got a little bit addicted!

Joey Jojo

I’m Jojo, Jeeby’s sidekick in life. We are out enjoying the world, and I’m here to share our experiences with you. I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures and seeing the world through our eyes.

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