Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world

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With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Geiger

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The tenth edition of the Land Rover Experience Tour leads in 54 days from Berlin over parts of the Silk Road to Nepal.

Source: Land Rover

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Land Rover

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Tens of thousands struggle between meter-sized potholes, knee-deep sewer ditches and waist-high rubble heaps …

Source: Thomas Geiger

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Land Rover

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…of bicycles, mopeds and tricycle taxis, overloaded trucks and buses through the streets of Nepal.

Source: Thomas Geiger

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Land Rover

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Vehicle lighting is apparently a waste of energy, left-hand traffic is overridden as it suits the driver,…

Source: Thomas Geiger

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Berlin

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…you just take the right of way, and the road isn’t just for cars.

Source: Thomas Geiger

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Himalayas

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The asphalt is surprisingly dense for a region where the first car was not registered until 1968.

Source: Thomas Geiger

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Thomas

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In a country where even cheap cars like the Tata Nano are pure luxury and even taxi drivers can only afford a Suzuki Alto, there is little privatee cars.

Source: Thomas Geiger

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Nepal

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Nepal doesn’t only offer a lot of adventure for those looking for meaning and nature people: there are many bends around…

Source: Thomas Geiger

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Land Rover

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…around long landslides and over stones as big as crates of beer.

Source: Land Rover

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-auto

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And as if that wasn’t enough, the path is sometimes little more than a dirt track,…

Source: Land Rover

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Nepal

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…which became a muddy waterway in the monsoons.

Source: Land Rover

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Thomas

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The 190 PS diesel of the Evoque fleet treat themselves to twelve to 15 liters on this hell ride, but in every village, no matter how small, you can find a gas station.

Source: Land Rover

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Kakofonie

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The entourage meanders through a breathtaking landscape, sometimes drives along rivers and on muddy jungle tracks.

Source: Land Rover

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-tar blanket

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In the restaurants along the way you need a strong stomach: the Nepalese serve a lot of rice – and hot sauces.

Source: Land Rover

Adventure: With the Land Rover Evoque on the roof of the world-Land Rover

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Every day 300, 400 kilometers and at the wheel from morning to evening – this is how the convoy fights its way to India.

Source: Land Rover

On the Experience Tour, Land Rover sends the adventurous to the most remote corners of the world. The tenth edition of the tour led to Nepal. Anyone who drives a car here needs above all trust in God.

D.on the other hand, Paris is a restricted-traffic area during rush hour. Apparently everyone in Kathmandu is out on the streets at noon. And it doesn’t matter whether Wikipedia with its 700,000 or the Guide with its three million inhabitants is right – the roads that are far too narrow and far too bad are hopelessly overcrowded with this volume of traffic. There is hardly anyone in the city who can afford a car.

Instead, tens of thousands of bicycles, mopeds and three-wheeled taxis, overloaded trucks and buses torture their way through the city between meter-sized potholes, knee-deep sewer ditches and waist-high rubble, with passengers crouching on the roof or hanging from outside windows and doors. And in the middle of it all is a fleet of Land Rovers that set out from Berlin a month ago to roll 15,000 kilometers to Mumbai.

Land Rover Experience Tour is the name of the adventure through eleven countries that the German branch of the British launched as a replacement for the Camel Trophy.

Cacophony of a thousand horns

In Kathmandu on the 37th day of the off-road adventure, where four new winners of the preliminary rounds with more than 30,000 candidates take the wheel, things are only progressing at a slow pace.

The three or four traffic lights on the overcrowded arterial road are switched off, and the police officers, who are standing in the dust at every intersection with face masks, usually regulate the traffic with their hands in their pockets.

"Shiva, help me," you think as you drive through the capital at the foot of the Himalayas and, for the first few kilometers, rely on the most important god of the Hindus, whom they have painted on trucks, buses and other vehicles. That seems to be helping.

In a convoy through Kathmandu

Even if – unlike the many Maruti, Mahindra and Tata models – in the Evoques of European adventure tourists there is no prayer wheel on the dashboard, no image of a saint dangling from the mirror and no garlands waving from the radiator grille. Somehow the convoy makes it through Kathmandu unharmed, and everyone at the wheel breathe easy.

The breather is only short, however. The traffic is becoming a bit airier and the cacophony of thousands and thousands of horns in continuous use subsides a little. In return, the means of transport are becoming more bizarre and the driving maneuvers more adventurous.

Donkeys or water buffalo pull their carts across the street, tractors with a dozen passengers become long-distance buses and elephant races with creeping trucks and a caravan of pedestrians, from school classes to field workers to goatherds, march in the middle of the lane.

Even a motorcycle is too expensive for many

On the other hand, one sees comparatively little cars. As in a country where the Tata Nano with taxes costs the equivalent of around 5000 euros and the liter of fuel is sold for just under one euro?

“Only someone with a really good salary can afford that here,” says Radjis, who gives the guide on this stage: “With us, many have to take out a loan for their motorcycle. In the best case, it doesn’t cost 1000 euros. "

The few showrooms from Suzuki, Tata or Skoda would not even count as backyard workshops for us. But there is no shortage of fuel for that.

The 190 PS diesel of the Evoque fleet treat themselves to twelve to 15 liters on this hell ride, but in every village, no matter how small, you can find a gas station. Even in the tourist metropolis of Prokhara, the streets are jagged like after a civil war.

Roads without a tarred surface

In front of the gates, on the other hand, the asphalt is astonishingly dense for a region where the first car was not registered until 1968. Well – there are always a few hundred meters where the tar cover has somehow been lost, you curve around long landslides and over stones the size of beer crates.

But on the second day of driving, you won’t be surprised about that any more than about the stray dogs that don’t let any honking in the world bother you.

But because the Chinese and Indians vie for influence in Nepal, the country with the highest altitude on average, both neighbors have invested a lot in the infrastructure and concreted a few broad arteries through the mountains in the north and the jungle plain in the southwest.

The adventure does not fall by the wayside

This is also good news for the hundreds of thousands of trekking tourists who come to the country for the autumn and spring seasons. "Mainly from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, America and Japan – from the mountaineering countries," says Radjis. But just because you drive most of the time on asphalt and you don’t need a Land Rover for many stages, the adventure doesn’t fall by the wayside.

The entourage digs along rivers from time to time or plows over deeply muddy jungle tracks. Challenges also await off the road. For example, when in godforsaken villages with no electricity or running water in front of the only toilet you only look into a large hole in the ground.

Participants need a strong stomach

You need a strong stomach in the restaurants along the way. The Nepalese serve rice, hot sauces and chicken and other meat, the origin of which one would rather not fathom.

And momos, which quickly become a favorite among tourists. As with the Swabian Maultaschen, with which Guide Radjis compares the national dish, with these dough balls you cannot see from the outside what is inside and can therefore bite forcefully without much thought. At least if you have given your blessing with the wooden shed in the next town.

The dirt road turns into a muddy waterway

Every day 300, 400 kilometers and from morning to evening at the wheel – so the convoy fights its way towards India and the mountain ranges of the Himalayas in the rearview mirror are getting flatter and flatter.

But the adrenaline level occasionally shoots up – for example, when you drive into a city like Nepalganj on the border with India after dark and suddenly feel like in a lunar eclipse in an anthill.

Because hundreds of pedestrians, tractors, cyclists, motorbikes, trucks and buses bustle around the Land Rover, while the holy cows trot calmly through the chaos.

And as if that weren’t enough, the path here is little more than a dirt track that turned into a muddy waterway in the monsoons. The only thing that illuminates the scene a little are the cones of the four additional headlights on the roof of the expedition vehicles.

From Berlin to Mumbai in 50 days

As strange as the country feels and as exotic as we Europeans look with our martially equipped off-road vehicles in villages like Bandipur, Damauli or Dhangadhi, we are not among ourselves.

Because the fascination of Nepal continues to have an effect, and even many years after the end of the hippie culture, the country at the foot of the Himalayas apparently still has an almost magical attraction for Westerners.

Except that they take a little more time. While the Land Rover Experience only started in Berlin at the end of August and was in Mumbai after 50 days, a couple from Holland and Sweden have been on the streets of Nepal since the mid-1990s. He has a white beard and says: "We’re not even thinking about going home."

The trip with the Evoque was supported by Land Rover. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at www.axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit

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