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Barrio reaches India from Spain, on a bike

He started from Madrid to reach Andorra. He then travelled along the French Riviera through Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo, crossing the Italian Alps into Pisa and Florence.

PURBA DAS  New Delhi | 23rd Nov 2013

Fabian C. Barrio poses with his motorbike with Mount Ararat in the background.

fter travelling 15,000 km on his motorbike for two months, Spanish citizen Fabian C. Barrio has arrived in India to research for his book on the culture of circus in this country and in Nepal.

"I am fascinated by India's fading circus culture. I am going to stay here for three months and travel across the country, particularly in the southern parts of India, for my novel." Barrio's journey across two continents has given him the idea to pen another book on his road trip. "I will write a book on how to travel to India from Europe on a motorcycle. I will tell readers all the stories and about the visas that they have to arrange," says Barrio, who is on his third trip to India.

The writer traveller began his journey from Madrid in Spain on 7 September by setting out for the tiny republic of Andorra. He then travelled along the French Riviera through Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo, crossing the Italian Alps into Pisa and Florence and then all the way down to Bari. To reach Albania, he crossed the Adriatic Sea, on the coast of which nestle countries such as Italy, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

"I then journeyed from Albania to Macedonia, into Bulgaria and then reaching the Black Sea coast in Burgas. From there, I crossed into Turkey, arrived in Istanbul, drove along the Black Sea coast and then reached the Anatolia peninsula. I spotted the Ararat Mountain and then entered Iran," Barrio remembers.

He travelled through Tehran, Isfahan, Bam and entered Pakistan through the Taftan border. "In Pakistan, I reached Quetta. My next stop was Multan and then Lahore, from where I crossed the Wagah border and stepped into India," he says.

Barrio is using a Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 XC for his trip. About his bike, manufactured by Triumph Motorcycles, a well-known British brand, he says, "It's a very comfortable bike. It has got several technical advances that make it more secure than other bikes. It also has traction control, which detects irregularities on the road and controls the speed of the wheels accordingly, which is very important for a rider."Image 2nd

Barrio recalls how he spent a night at a police station on the Iranian side of the Iran-Pakistan border. "There were no hotels around so I had to spend the night at the local police station. As the day ended, a group of 25-30 people arrived covered in dust. They were wearing torn clothes and were mostly barefoot. Once they sat on the floor, their names were noted down and they were put behind bars. I could hear them cry. I was told that they were immigrants who had crossed the desert and were trying to cross the border into Pakistan to find some livelihood." Barrio says he knows how difficult it is surviving in a desert. "The experience left me dehydrated and sun burnt. I realised that instant how we take so much for granted and hold on to petty complaints in life," he recalls.

Barrio describes his stay in Pakistan as thrilling. "I was not really scared when I entered Pakistan. I had an armed guard with me throughout my stay there. The guard never left me alone. The people of Pakistan are the friendliest in the world." However, he faced some tense moments. "When I was in Quetta, I was forced to stay inside my hotel room for four days because a politician had been murdered. But even then people around me were friendly."

After reaching India on 5 November, Barrio spent a quiet evening at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. It was a cathartic experience. "At the Golden Temple I felt my spirituality was awakened. It is so calm and peaceful," Barrio remembers fondly. He was quick to add that while he enjoyed a free dinner (langar) at the temple, he also volunteered to help. "I was made to wash dishes. It was on my birthday, so it was a very special birthday, that I could not have imagined a year ago," Barrio says, rounding off the tale of his journey so far.

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