IANS - Indo-Asian News Service–
8 December 2010
We felt safe when we stepped into India: German traveller
He made a long
journey from Hamburg to Goa in a Volkswagen Bulli, along the same
route the first German hippies took when they came here 60 years
ago. Niels Melves, a teacher and avid traveller, says having crossed
countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he felt safer the
moment he stepped into India.
Niels, who is in
his 50s, has become the face of the Indo-German friendship week that
began Wednesday. He said right through the road journey from
Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and
Pakistan, Iran was the one place where he felt the world changed to
an “all male” and “bleak” reality.
Iran felt like a country in ruin and reverse. There were no women on
the streets. It was dramatic in a very oppressive way,” said Niels.
He took five
weeks for the Euro-Asian journey along with his wife Anka, daughter
Maya, 5, and Florian Surya, 3, who incidentally was born in Goa on
an earlier trip to the beach state.
“I did not feel
safe in Iran. We were escorted by an armed vehicle when we passed
Afghanistan, but we were glad when we passed over into Pakistan.
Plus, the drivers in Iran are worse than those in India. They are
crazy. The worst in the world,” said an emphatic Niels.
The German said
while there was no obvious drama or scandals on the journey from
Germany to Goa, the relief of stepping into Indian territory was
“There was no
drama. We were not captured by the Taliban or anything like that,
but we all breathed a sigh of relief when we stepped into India.
From an oppression-filled environment into a country where you don’t
have to be scared to say something. We felt free when we stepped
into India, at the Wagah border. That’s the magic of India,” Niels
Niels also said
for a German who has seen the Berlin Wall the Wagah border theatrics
unnerved him a little bit.
“It would have
been a great spectacle if both these countries (India and Pakistan)
were not nuclear powers. But it’s a scary prospect now if one looks
beyond the theatrics of two countries with nukes to back them,”
At Anjuna - a
popular village in coastal north Goa, 15 km from here, where the
first German hippies landed 60 years ago, incidentally also in a
Bulli - Niels along with the Indo-German Friendship Society Goa
(IGFSG), will hold an exhibition of photographs taken by him on his
“I have travelled
in my motorcar in all continents (except America) over the last five
years. I have been from Canada to South America. I have also driven
across Australia and New Zealand. China I haven’t driven in yet
because it is very expensive to drive your own vehicle,” he said.