10 Confessions of a Road Tripper!

It has been just over a week since we got back from our 24,568 kms | 21 countries | Singapore to London | Equator to Arctic | ICC World Cup | 3 Generations | Road Trip
Looking back, these certainly were the best 60 days of my life! We were very fortunate that things worked out as we had wished and we could get to UK, exactly on schedule.
Typically, such trips require a minimum of 6 months of rigorous planning. In our case though, we had limited time at hand as I was a tad too late to think of this idea. We eventually had less than 2.5 months to plan the route, secure visas, permits, get the car ready, organize the logistics and most importantly to make the trip 3 Generations friendly!
Prior to embarking on the journey and during the 60-day road trip, it was critical that we kept ourselves in a positive and self-motivating mental zone, while still overcoming specific challenges on a daily basis. To get to this mental frame, we made a conscious decision to keep our communication very positive - both, within the boundaries of the car as well as in our social media updates. Simply put, we decided to place the “past in the past” and move on quickly, as far as any challenges were concerned.
Looking back, these challenges were however the biggest learning ground for me personally. Here are the 10 biggest challenges we had to overcome to live our dream!
1) Visas, permits and paper work: Very onerous, it was clearly the biggest challenge to overcome - to secure 10 different visas for 6 of us, get the right permits for the car across these many countries, all in about 2.5 months. Prior to February 2019, despite a rather self-revealing name, I didn’t know where Central Asia was on the world map! Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan had not been on my radar ever!
2) Safety and day-by-day route planning: Travelling with 3 Generations, we had to be very sure that the route was absolutely safe. Once we got that comfort, we went through possibly more than 50 different iterations of our itinerary and the day-by-day route plan on excel - we kept discovering more interesting places en-route, roadblocks on the way, border crossing issues, weird road closure timings, etc.
3) Stuck in a snow-storm: We were thunderstruck! Right after crossing China, Kyrgyzstan greeted us with beautiful scenery but also with a heavy snowstorm that lasted all night, while driving at >10,000 ft altitude. Our car is used to its equatorial habitat. We just didn’t have snow tyres, snow chains or any experience of driving in skiddy snow conditions. Driving challenge aside, we were at the brink of spending the entire night in the car!
4) Altitude sickness at 12,000 ft: My dad had severe altitude sickness during the night, while we were stranded in the snow-storm at 12,000 ft in Kyrgyzstan. A few days later, my mom slipped and injured her palm. In both these instances, what was most fascinating was the courage they showed - the very next day, they were up and ready for the marathon ahead. Tremendous mental toughness shown by both of them, all through the trip - it was truly inspiring for the rest of us.
5) Damaged Passport: While crossing the road border from Russia into Finland, one of our passports was inadvertently damaged by the immigration officer. With a damaged passport, the rest of our trip was in jeopardy. We quickly got on to SOS calls with our family and friends. It took a couple of days to have it all sorted - The officials at the Indian High Commission in Stockholm were very kind and they stepped in to help us and sort out the issue.
6) Getting the food right for 3 generations: Thousands of kilometers of barren land, combined with our dietary restrictions and sprinkled with whims and fancies of the taste buds of our little ones, had one simple implication - getting the food right was critical. We started with 8 bags of packed food, 250 small tetra packets of milk for the little ones and our Kitchen-on-wheels - all planned, designed and executed during the trip, courtesy my mom
7) Kids in their car seat for 10-15 hours a day, day after day: Yes, both Aviv and Avya were fantastic all through the trip. Not only did they sit through long journeys daily, day after day, they also made sure that rest of us were always in a jovial state of mind. Aditi got the trip absolutely right for kids. Never for once did they complain! All they ever asked for in return was probably 10 additional minutes at McDonald's play area en-route!
8) Delays at Borders: For most customs officials at the border crossings, it was their first time processing documents for a Singapore registered car. It typically took a couple of hours at each border, sometimes up to 8 hours! Cumulatively, we spent >40 hours waiting at the borders!
9) World Cup Tickets: It was incredibly difficult to get the tickets for the World Cup. We looked for tickets remotely, almost every day of the trip. For the India Sri Lanka match at Leeds, Richa Dayal and Akshat Prasad sacrificed their tickets to help us fulfill our dream. Thereafter, we got extremely lucky as ICC granted us hospitality tickets for semis and finals. Super grateful!
10) Driving and power naps: Often clocking >600-700 kms a day, these 60 days were a privilege of a life time. Yes, I would sometimes get tired, particularly by late afternoon. A stop at a fuel station to take a 30 minute reclined power nap most often did the trick though... and got us back on the road ahead... !

Our Welcome Back to Singapore!

We are back in Singapore, and we have received the most awesome Welcome ever! Very very grateful to family & friends for making this super super special.
I can't even imagine the effort, time and above all, the love that has gone into making the welcome so so special for us!
Here are some pictures that made the welcome so special:
1. Super great welcome at Changi airport with a huge banner!
2. Surprise celebration party - Super thankful to family and friends for making it special, for the enthu, love and time on a weekday evening!
3. A high quality printed book on AMX Paint it Red - from Praveen Mausaji, Reena Mausi, Yogesh Chacha, Vandana Chachi. It has everything about our road trip! - day by day summary of our trip, special moments, pictures and snapshots of the media coverage!
4. AMX Paint it Red Memento - beautifully crafted memento from Moni Mummy with a summary of the trip route and key statistics!
5. Songs and parodies on our 24,586 kms Road Trip!
6. Home made world map cake for Aviv - by Aditi to celebrate his birthday and his achievement of crossing 50 countries mark
7. Artistic, creative and sequential story of our road trip, depicted with 21 different placards with maps and photos from each country we visited! - By Vandana Dayal Chachi.
8. Special gifts for us celebrate and then to frame the memories of our road trip
Super grateful! All of the above was crafted by Pushpa Badi Ammaji, Choti Ammaji, Moni Mummy, Yogesh Dayal Chacha, Vandana Dayal Chachi, Praveen Dayal Mausaji, Reena Dayal Mausi and Aditi Mathur!!
Big big thank you! We can't believe our luck.
My super high lazy coefficient has quickly figured out that it is far easier to do a 24,586 km road trip, than to arrange welcome parties! 🙂

Overall Trip: Virtual Cockpit

Day 60: Flag Down with Car Shipped Back to Singapore

We plan to find an agent for shipment of the car and leave the car at the warehouse at the earliest, so that we can return to Singapore.

Anupam started contacting different agents for shipment of car right after 9 am when their offices open. He got quotations from some of them and finalised with one agent. It was also decided that the car can be given before 4 pm today. We had already segregated the items in bags which were to be kept in the car and which were to be accompanied with us.

We had booked the hotel for last 3 days. Now we will have to extend our stay. We shifted the hotel as the present hotel was fully booked for today. Anupam went to warehouse to deliver the car for shipment. It was very tiring day and by the time Anupam could return to hotel after delivering the car it was about 8 pm.

Richa came to meet us in the evening. It was very nice of Richa to have come all the way to Heathrow from her house to meet us. Akshat could not come as he had meetings in the evening.

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom It is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and English Channel to the south. It shares land borders with Wales to the west, Scotland to the north.

The Country covers five-eighths of the Island of Great Britain, which includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the North-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. The difference between United Kingdom and Great Britain includes United Kingdom and Northern Island.

England is part of a constitutional monarchy, but no direct government. The monarch is Elizabeth II. England does not have its own legislative assembly. The legislature is UK Parliament which comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.. However, the Legislative Grand Committee composed of only the 533 MPs representing English constituencies can scrutinize and vote on bills going through parliament which only affect England. 

After reaching London we had the opportunity to interact with media. One of the important interviews was the one with BBC Sports online on 5th July, The reach of BBC Sports is very wide and it was even read by ICC officials. They extended us the tickets for semi-finals and Final matches. Other important series of interviews were with Star Sports in India. We were featured in their “Follow the Blues” programme in India on two days.

The most important was live interview with BBC 1 in their most popular programme BBC Breakfast on the morning of 12th July. It has an extensive reach.

In addition, many popular newspapers in India like “Dainik Bhaskar” and Indian Express also interviewed us and published articles in press and digital media. These interviews were also picked up by many newspapers and agencies online in India. We got very wide publicity.

We got publicity and recognition which was not expected when we started our trip on 17th May. God is great. He has been very kind to us.

We will be home after 61 days of travel. It included journey with all the thrill, ups and downs and excitement of a long trip. We saw so many places on the way. We travelled two continents extensively.

With this blog, I am coming to an end of the blog writing as we are leaving tomorrow for our return journey to Singapore.

Day 59: World Cup Final: England vs. New Zealand

Today is the final match of World Cup 2019. This may be the first match we are going to watch where India is not playing.

A World Cup final is the most important match of the tournament. Moreover, watching the match at Lords is a great sight and we were given very good seats as the passes for the match were extended by ICC – International Cricket Club, the organiser of the tournament.
The match started 15 minutes late. New Zealand batted first. They made 241/8 runs in 50 overs. Nicolls scored 55 runs and Latham gave final thrust with 47 runs. It looked that the score is below par, short by about 20-30 runs.

England did not start well and were 86/4 after 23.1 overs. It looked that the prospects for England were bleak since the asking rate was increasing. However, Stokes and Buttler contributed handsomely. Buttler made 59 runs in 60 balls. Stokes was still there at the crease, but he did not get support from tail enders. He scored 84 runs from 98 balls and remained not out. They scored 241 all out in 50 overs. On the last balls, they were to score 2 runs, they got one run and then while taking second run Wood was run out. So, this was a tie. Tie in the final match is not common.

Super over was played. England batted first and scored 15 runs in one over. New Zealand got 6 runs in the last but one ball. The throw from the fielder bounced from the batsman’s bat and raced to the boundary. There were two runs plus a boundary from overthrow. So, New Zealand got 6 runs from that ball. They ran for second run on the last ball of the Super over, but then there was a run out. Ultimately, they also got 15 runs in their super over. So, it was another tie. Tie at the end of 50 overs and then a tie at the end of Super Over. This is unprecedented.

The rule says that if there is a tie at the end of Super over, then the side hitting more boundaries will be the winner. England were declared winners.

We have watched a match which is going to go down in the history of World Cup and also in the history of the game as a special and unique match.

There were celebrations all around as the home team has won the World Cup. New Zealand did not lose the match, but still were declared loser due to some stupid rule. It would have been better if they were declared as Joint winners. 

We returned to the hotel with a very good feeling. We have watched an important match at the Mecca of the Cricket.

Day 58: Rest Day at London

Today it is virtually a rest day. We will have to enquire about the shipment of the car to Singapore. The agent for shipment who was supposed to handle our shipment of car was not replying to the mails./messages and even the contact through the agent in Singapore did not yield any response. So, it became clear that the only way out is to find a new agent for shipment.

We got up late and Anupam tried to contact agents, but could not contact any one since it was weekend.

In the evening Jaya, daughter of Mr. James of Rajkot, came to meet us. She and her husband could find time to come to meet us, though they had gone to meet someone >100 kms. away from London. On the way back, they came to meet us.

It was one of the most memorable meeting we had on this trip. She had even brought one old photo taken around 1988-89 of Anupam, Jaya, her brother Jenson and Akanksha. Jaya was only 2 years old at that time. It did not look like she was meeting us after such long period. Her husband is equally jolly and took part in our conversations. We talked about our Singapore to London trip and other common interest talks. They had dinner with us and went late in the evening.

Tomorrow is the Final match of the World Cup. Anupam has received message from ICC that our passes will be available at the window and we have to go to window at Lords ground and pick them. We plan to leave by 8 am. We can not take our car as the parking will be difficult near the stadium.  

Day 57: Ireland to London

Today is a long day. We plan to return to England by ferry. Then we plan to meet Raghunath mamaji in Nottingham and then meet Reema in Newbury near London and then reach hotel.

We took the ferry from Dublin at 8:05am. This ferry was much bigger. It had 9 decks and the No. of vehicles that could be transported in this ferry was also much more. This ferry had 3 Restaurants on the deck where we were sitting. The facilities in this ferry were much better than yesterday’s ferry. We reached Holyhead port in Wales at 11:45 am.

We then proceeded to Nottingham. On the way Anupam felt very sleepy as he was having insufficient sleep for last few days. He took a power nap at a fuel station in between.  We reached Nottingham at about 6 pm. We spent one hour with Raghunath Mamaji. He was very happy that we had met him.

We left Nottingham for Newbury where Reema stays. Reema had prepared dinner for us. She is daughter of my friend Satish. As we know each other well, we had a great time at her place. Her daughter Anika and Aviv played as if they knew each other earlier. We had tea and Samosa first followed by full fledged dinner. The best part was Samosa first and Gulab jamun as sweet dish. After leaving Singapore we were getting these two delicacies for the first time. We left Reema’s house well after 12 midnight. We reached the hotel in London at about 1 am.

Day 56: Manchester to Ireland and Northern Island

We plan to travel to Ireland today. The travel from Manchester to Ireland involves travelling through Wales, then catching a Ferry and then reaching Ireland. From Ireland we also plan to go to Northern Ireland. So, we plan to add three more countries today.

Wales is a beautiful country. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are countries in United Kingdom, but are independent countries. They all come under United Kingdom along with England. We got a ferry from Holyhead in Wales to Dublin in Ireland.

We left at about 5:30am from hotel at Knutsford for Holyhead. The ferry was scheduled to start at 8:15am and we were to report at 7:30am. We reached on time and got the ferry. The scenery all along was superb. At Penmaenmawr, Lianfairfechan we saw beautiful town in Wales. The ferry ride was good. There was a restaurant and we could get breakfast there. We enjoyed the journey to Dublin.

Puneet stays in Dublin. He was waiting for us near the port and we all started straightaway for Northern Ireland.

Puneet had come to Leeds to meet us. When we returned from the Match at Leeds on 6th July, he was waiting for us at the hotel. He went back next day morning. Today he came with us to Northern Ireland and also to a sightseeing spot in Ireland. We stayed at his house overnight. The trip to Ireland was very enjoyable more so because of the presence of Puneet. He had made all arrangements at his house to make our stay very comfortable. His wife and children have gone these days to India, still he had all the arrangements in place single-handedly.

Aviv got interested in the play area in the Lawn in his house. He played basketball for long time with all of us. He really enjoyed staying in a house after about 50 days. We have been staying in different hotels from the day we left Singapore on 17th May, 2019.

We slept late as we were all talking till late in the night.

Day 55: Semi Final India vs. NZ Reserve Day

Today we plan to go to the cricket ground at Manchester to watch the match suspended yesterday, to be continued today. We took our car to Manchester as we were to be interviewed by BBC for their programme BBC Breakfast live. Further, we had got information about one place where we can park car very near to the stadium.

We were invited by BBC Studio for an interview in their Studio. We had to reach there by 7:45 am.  They have a very popular programme named BBC Breakfast where they invite some guests regularly. They had picked us for that today’s programme. They took the photos of our car first. Then we went to the Studio upstairs. The interview was done at 8:50 am. The interview was live and lasted about 5 minutes.

This is one programme which has very good following. This brought us to the celebrity status, at least for a day. When we were walking to the stadium after parking the car, one British lady asked whether we are the same family who came on TV some time back. There was another family going to the stadium, they took photos with us. In the stadium also many persons recognised us, thanks to BBC Breakfast live programme where we appeared in the morning. ICC has also featured our interview on their front page on site.

The match started on time. India could restrict New Zealand to 239 for 8. It looked to be a good score to chase. India started disastrously. They lost three wickets with only 5 runs on board. Both the openers and Kohli scored one run each and the stadium turned in to complete silence. Dinesh Karthik survived for some time, but in 10 overs India were 4-24 when Karthik was out. Rishabh Pant took some pains to stay at the wicket. Henry and Boult were in splendid form and they put India almost out of contention in the match. Pant was out when India’s score was 71. Dhoni came to join Hardik Pandya. Dhoni tried to control the proceedings with his hall mark style of batting. Hardik Pandya was out when the score was 92. It looked as if it is end of the innings.

Then arrived Jadeja on the crease. He played aggressively. Jadeja was hitting fours and sixes and at the other end, Dhoni was giving support to Jadeja. They took the score to 208 at the end of 47.5 overs. Jadeja scored 77 runs in 59 balls. Still India required 32 runs in 13 balls. Dhoni left after scoring 50 runs in 72 balls. After Dhoni left, all the hopes of Indian victory vanished and India lost the match scoring 221 all out in 49.3 overs.

It was very good match. It had all the qualities of good ODI match. The ball was doing its bit and Williamson, Taylor and Jadeja could get big scores. There were ups and downs in both the innings. But at the end, India lost the match and they have to bow out of the tournament.

We returned to the Hotel late in the evening. Tomorrow we plan to go to Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Day 54: World Cup Semi Final : India vs. NZ

This is an important day. It is semi-final match between India and New Zealand today. We started from hotel at Knutsford. Just before we were to start to see the match, we got a message from International Cricket Council (ICC) that they are giving passes to all four of us for semi-final and final matches. It was a great gesture by ICC. May be, they had seen the BBC Sports online interview where it was mentioned that we want to see the matches, but we don’t have tickets. We had got hold of two tickets through Rachit, so, initially only Anupam and Aviv were going for the semi-final match. We all then opted to watch the match at the Old Trafford cricket ground at Manchester.

We reached stadium, got the passes for ICC Hospitality and then reached the seats just in time for the first ball of the match was to be bowled.

One lady from ICC came and informed us that she would like to take our interview during the Drinks interval. As it started raining, a team from ICC came and took our interview. Slowly, many people sitting near our seats came to know that we are the same people whose interview had come in BBC Sports online. Many people took photos with us. Suddenly we felt we have become celebrities.

The match was moving smoothly. When New Zealand were at 211/5 in 46.1 overs, it started raining. We all waited and waited and waited, but the rain was spoil sport for the whole day. It was drizzling and raining on and off throughout the day. Ultimately, the umpires decided to call off the day. There is a Reserve day tomorrow for this match. The match would continue tomorrow from the stage it stopped today. It looked India was in good position.

We returned to Knutsford. This means we change our travel plans again. Tomorrow we have to watch the match in cricket ground at Manchester and we can leave for Ireland only day after tomorrow.

After the whole day at the Cricket stadium, we all were very tired and slept as soon as we reached hotel and took dinner.

Days 53: Leeds to Manchester via Scotland

The team India has entered the semi-final and it has also topped the point table at the league level. Further, South Africa, who has not done very well in the tournament, defeated Australia. This resulted In India vs. New Zealand semi final on 9th July, instead of 11th July. This resulted in change of our travel itinerary. We now plan to reach Manchester today evening and then go to Ireland on the 10th after watching the semi-final on 9th July.

As per our revised plan, we wanted to first go to Scotland and then on return to go Manchester. We however could not get a hotel in Manchester due to the upcoming semi-final match there. We had to book a hotel in Knutsford, a place about 30 kms. from Manchester.

We left Leeds late due to the making bookings as per the new plan and Anupam was busy talking to media and giving interviews. We left around 11 am. We drove to Scotland.

We drove to Lake District first. It was wonderful sight. Lots of lakes to see and it was raining, so the scenery was much better. We then went to Scotland and returned to England. On the way we stopped at Thornthwaite, a village on the way on A66 highway. It is next to a lake and looked beautiful. We then drove to Manchester.

We met Mr. Prantik at Manchester. We all went to Asha’s Restaurant. It was full because that day the city was full of Indians. We then saw a Pizza restaurant. We took dinner there. After dropping Prantik, we drove to Knutsford, a place about 30 kms. from Manchester where we had booked the hotel.

Day 52: Rest Day at Leeds

It is a rest day at Leeds. We were all tired, we had plans to visit Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland in next few days. We decided to take rest inspite of the heavy schedule to be completed before 12th July.

Leeds is a city in the northern English county of Yorkshire. On the south Bank of River Aire, the Royal Armouries houses the national collection of arms and artillery. It is about 350 kms. from London.

Leeds has one of the most diverse economies of all the UK’s main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private sector jobs growth of any UK city. It also has the highest ratio of private to public sector jobs of all the UK’s core cities, with 77% of its workforce working in the private sector.  

In 2012, we did a tour through Europe for about 11 days and traveled across 7 countries. Europe it is continent located entirely in Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises western most part of Eurasia.

The population of Europe is 742 million. This is much lesser than 1.34 billion population of India. Europe is the third most populous continent in the world.

Day 51: India vs. Sri Lanka at Leeds

Today is very important day as we are going to watch Indian team in action on Headingly cricket ground in Leeds. Our Goal for this journey from Singapore to London was to Support Team India. We are going to view the match on the ground and support our team. It is less important match as we have already qualified for the semi-final. But if we win this match and Australia lose today’s match to South Africa, we will be reaching the top of the Points table and would face New Zealand instead of England in Semi – final.

The Hotel in which we are staying appears to be full of Indians. We found the Restaurant room for Breakfast in the hotel full of Indians. When we were leaving for the match, we saw two big buses waiting for the passengers (all Indians) to take them to Cricket ground. Two groups had come and stayed in the hotel yesterday. It appears to be conducted tour by some tour operator.

We took taxi and went to the ground. We had to walk some distance to reach the stadium. On the way we purchased caps and Indian flags. We had two seats in one block and other two in different block. So, Anupam and Aviv went to XH block while we went to H Block. We heard the National Anthem of both, India and Sri Lanka, while we were moving towards our seats.

The match started at 10:30 am. We reached our seats just few minutes before the match started. Sri Lanka started batting. Indian bowlers and fielders gave very impressive performance. Sri Lanka could muster only 264/7 despite century by Angerlo Mathews.
The Indian reply was very strong. Rohit Sharma hit his fifth century in this World Cup. This is a record, as till now only Sangakkara from Sri Lanka had hit 4 Centuries in one World Cup. Rohit Sharma was very solid in his batting. KL Rahul did not lag and scored a century. Both the openers scored centuries and the Sri Lankan attack looked ordinary. Pant could not score much. Kohli and Pandya were at the crease when India reached 265 for 3 and won the match.

Australia and South Africa match sprung a surprise with South Africa winning the match. So, India reaches the top of the table and Australia is at No. 2, England at No. 3 and New Zealand at No. 4. So, on 9th July, it would be India vs, New Zealand. On 11th July, it would be England vs. Australia. 

We returned to hotel after the match and slept after early dinner.

Day 50: London to Leeds

We reached late yesterday. I met my very old friend with friendship 59 years old, Mr. Yogesh Mathuria. He had come to London from Abu Dhabi all the way to receive us when we reach London. He came in the morning. We could reach hotel at about 10 pm and then only we could meet him.

I must appreciate him for coming all the way by travelling overnight by air to reach London. He has been my friend for lifetime and his feelings and joy that we are completing the trip from Singapore to London brought him to London. We all appreciate him.  

In the morning we were scheduled to meet BBC Sports person for interview at 9am.. The interview was regarding our journey from Singapore to London to support Team India in the World Cup. We reached near the gate of Lords Cricket ground where we met Mr. Adam, who took our interview. Most of the interview was with Anupam. He also asked some questions from the other three participants. He took our photos and the photos of the car.
We then proceeded to Leeds. The proposed time to meet the team from Star Sports for interview with them was 3 pm. This was postponed to 5 pm. as we were late in leaving London. The interview took place outside our hotel at Leeds. The Star Sports team included Two presenters, one cameraman and one lady who was directing the cameraman. The interviewers were very energetic and cooperative. They took our interview and took video of our car reaching the Hotel and we un-loading the luggage from the car and getting into the hotel. The interview was done in English and Hindi. The presenter of Tamil version also asked us to speak few words in Tamil. We have stayed in Chennai, so we could say few words.

In the morning today, Star Sports had included our videos in their programme titled “Follow the Blues”. It was telecast in India at 2 pm. Star Sports team informed us that the videos taken today will be telecast in India tomorrow at 8 am, 9am, 10 am and more programmes to follow in the same programme “Follow the Blues”.
In addition to these two interviews, “Dainik Bhaskar”, leading Hindi daily news paper with highest circulation in India also has been in contact with us for last few days. They have taken interview of Anupam and Aditi with trip details provided by us. This may be published one of the coming days in their newspaper.

It was an amazing day and suddenly we found ourselves in limelight with Interviews with Star Sports, Dainik Bhaskar and BBC Sports. Lot of relatives and friends informed us of the clippings shown on Star Sports today in India. They sent us the video recordings. It was new thing for us to be in Limelight.

Tomorrow is very important day as we will be watching the Leeds match between India and Sri Lanka on the ground.

Day 44: Jukkasjarvi to Umea, Sweden

We have started to come southwards from the Arctic Circle. Today we left Jukkasjarvi, our most favoured place in this trip, at about 8 am. We had the same scenery on the way since we were returning on the same route for about 200 kms. We had gone from the east side of the Gulf of Bothnia, while on return, we are going southwards on the west side of the Gulf of Bothnia. We saw two reindeers on the way today also. It is the place known for reindeers. But they live in jungles, but we were lucky to find two reindeers while going towards Arctic Circle and two while returning. Santa Claus travels on the reindeers, it becomes relevant because Santa Claus is suppose to be staying in the North Pole.

We reached Lulea town by about 2 pm. To our surprise our Google search resulted in finding one Indian Restaurant in Lulea town. It was a restaurant which provides local food as well as Indian dishes. The food was good. We took Indian food in restaurant for second time in four days. The owner of the hotel is from Philippines and she came with husband from Malaysia and have set up food business here.

Umea is a small city in eastern Sweden, known for its msems and cultural institutions. The Vasterbottens Museum has an open-air section with historical buildings from around the country. Its indoor area feature exhibits on the indigenous Sami people and traditional skiing techniques.

We could reach Umea by late evening. Tomorrow we plan to travel about 600 kms. but it is a day when cricket match between England and India is due to be played in World Cup. It may an interesting match. So, we decided to start early so that we could at least watch second innings of the ODI match after reaching Stokholm.