Hindu Bell in Patan
Buddhists have their prayer wheels and hindus have their bells
Temples, temples and more temples. That's Kathmandu. We stayed in Kathmandu 10 days overall including sidetrips to Nagarkot and rafting at Bhote Kosi.
The first couple of days we stayed in Thamel, the tourist center of Kathmandu. Lots of shops, good restaurants, cheap hotels and tourists. And everybody is trying to get their share of tourism by trying to sell you something and everything. After a few days of this hassle a finnish friend, Tanja, who works for Unicef in Kathmandu, invited us to stay with her in her house outside Kathmandu. For couple of days we did nothing but stayed in the house reading and cooking our own food. This was really nice after eating in restaurants for 6 weeks. Sami got hooked on The Da Vinci Code and would start reading it in the morning and after returning from work Tanja would find him still in the same chair. :)
One evening we visited the Boudha stupa, which is the biggest Buddhist temple in Nepal, with Tanja and Kaisa. There was a big happening, a million people, both buddhists and hindus, were walking for 24 hours visiting certain temples in Kathmandu, and they ended their walk at
Boudha. This happens only once in 38 years so we had quite a luck to be there. It was full moon and the atmosphere at the stupa was intense.
One day we took a bus to Nagarkot, a small town nearby on the top of a hill. The mountain views from Nagarkot are supposed to be great, but it was cloudy all the time we were up there. We returned the next day without seeing any. But it was a nice place, a small and quiet retreat not far from Kathmandu.
For two days we went rafting on Bhote Kosi. They say it is the steepest raftable river in Nepal. It comes from the border of Nepal and Tibet so the water was quite cold. Unfortunately the upper parts of the river were unraftable because of the high water so we did the easier lower part twice, about three hours of rafting each day. This was still very good, there were lots of rapids the biggest ones being grade 4. They say that Bhote Kosi is short but sweet, which is quite true. In the end of the first day our guide asked us quite directly whether we
Young tour guides
Reading the map, which one of us knows the best where we are?
want to go to the upper part of the river: "We can go up there but you don't want do die?" Sure, got that right, we're not going. His blunt english made the point very clear. :)
When rafting we stayed the night camping on the river bank watching stars and fire flys in the evening. This was a great addition to the outdoor experience of the rafting. The organizer of the rafting, Himalayan River Fun, was good and quite professional, but the food hygieny could be improved. Two days after the rafting both of us got diarrhea, which we suspect might have been because they used the river water for washing dishes and salads on the rafting trip. We also heard that we were not the only ones who got sick after rafting.
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