I left the USA for India in May 1970. After three months of travel through the UK, France and Spain on a 500cc BSA, I made my way north to Amsterdam, where I sold the bike and found a job cooking rice and washing dishes in a macrobiotic restaurant in the basement of the Kosmos.
The Road to India sketchbooks begin in Amsterdam. I had sketches from the first three months as well, but those books were removed from the BSA while I was watching the film Woodstock.
I traveled to the Pyrenees with the manager of the restaurant, who went each fall to the mountains to gather chestnuts to add to rice for his winter clientele at the Kosmos.
Walking through the foothills of Mount Canigou in the Pyrenees Orientales I met Brother Cyprian, a young Russian Orthodox monk who was restoring the 8th century chapel of Saint Etienne above the village of Clara. It was early December when the snow began to fall. Saint Etienne had only half a roof in 1970. Cyprian decided to spend the winter in Munich—he was German—and asked me to accompany him to a monastery there and travel with him to Mt. Athos in the spring to visit Orthodox shrines.
We hitchhiked to Paris and spent one night in a convent there. I was freezing and decided to head for Greece immediately, which I did, passing quickly through Italy, stopping briefly in Athens and continuing on to Crete, seeking warmth.
I spent two weeks on Crete where I met a group on the way to Afghanistan in two VW buses. I joined them and we crossed Turkey and Iran reaching Kabul in the dead of winter. From Kabul I jumped on the Hog Farm bus to cross the Khyber Pass. The Hog Farm had come through Amsterdam in November on the way to Nepal and I had met them at the Kosmos. I was leaving for the Pyrenees the next day and caught up with them months later in Kabul. At Rawalpindi I left the Hog Farm to head south to Goa and Pondicherry, where I arrived in March of 1971.
Looking back today on that trip I marvel at what was possible forty-six years ago!
Amsterdam, France. 1970
Click the thumbnails to enlarge the images.
Italy, Greece. 1970
Turkey, Iran Afganistan 1970