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Published: March 13th 2010
Local food Kathmandu
veggie kofta and lovely veggie fried momos (like little somosa's) ..the tea drinking begins!
Where to begin....
We've seen so much stuff, so having to split this up into sections. And even so to describe this all properly you could easily write a book! Will complete the next part within a couple of days!
So arrived in Kathmandu on the 10th February, absolutely amazing views form the plane... huge white Himalayan mountains stretching on forever. Spent a day negotiating all of the cycles, rickshaws, honking bikes/cars etc and picked up a few last essentials for the trip - Puffer jacket, map(!), compass, 'Oakley' sunnies, and a few other spares. Loads of bargaining and may have pulled off a few good deals - although probably not!
Kathmandu is a pretty crazy place, really dusty, dirty and lots of fumes, incense everywhere. Hardly any tourists as it was only the beginning of the build up to busy season. Very interesting place. Loads of little temples and small shops that appear in tiny little doorways, cows wandering around, pretty much the stereotypically imagined picture of India turned down a good few notches ( so I hear from fellow travelers who find Nepal relaxing '!', compared with India)
Planned to catch the local bus to
Walking home from the bus station
Different place in the early hours, cows and people sifting through the rubbish and burning unwanted stuff to keep warm
Jiri on the 12th, but turned up at the bus station at 5.30am to find all of the buses canceled as there was a big Hindu festival. We had heard about it but were assured the buses would be running. So back to the hostel and spent the day relaxing, tried our first dhal bat (very typical nepali dish - rice, lentils normally with some curry veg and pickles also).
Tried again the next day with more success, although we didn't bother with such an early start. Only 300 rupees each and we were urgently ushered into the bus to sit there for ages! But were on our way by 7am though, driving through a ridiculous fog and could hardly see 5 meters in front, bus driver whizzing along. Out of the fog though into the winding hills, cool views of the fog filled valley with the Himalaya in the background.
Didn't take long before we broke down, so most people off and they had to change a flat tire. Obviously done it a few times before though so on our way in no time. Enjoying the local bus, people jumping on and off, sitting on the roof
On our way
Local bus station
etc although the scheduled 10hr journey wasn't sounding too appealing!
Broke down again but this time it seemed pretty serious, we were in a small town but it still took a good 2 hrs to fix. Getting rather bored of the cramped bus finally arrived in Jiri at 7pm. Never wanting to see a bus again!
Met a guy off the bus who took us to a hostel, really not fussy and had some chapatti's and rice for dinner. So the walking begins: Day 1 - Jiri to Shivalaya
Only a 3 hour walk, nice warm up day although the trail wasn't very clear. Locals asking us if we needed a guide ... err no!... and then advising us the way! 😊 Very helpful people though, all very friendly and lots of 'namaste' along the way. Found Shivalaya, lovely little village with very cute little lodges. Only 50rs a night (about 50p). Also managed to get 2 huge blisters on my heals, suppose that's what you get for spending 4 weeks in flip flops! Day 2 - Shivalaya to Bhandar
The early mornings begin... up at 6.30am for breakfast of porridge, so cold outside! Steep climb
After a hard 3 hr walk, enjoying a beer in the sun...trekking?
out of the valley and up and up to Deurali. Stopped for lunch at the top (fried potatoes and Chapati) and then started the descent to Bhandar. Anna got pretty much attacked by a local lady who grabbed hold of her walking stick demanding money! Took a while to prise her off, very strong! I got a 'friendly' lama who wanted to show us the way (follow us down the path) and demanded 1000rs! Both turned out to be one off's! Arrived around 2.30pm, lovely to sit outside in the warm sun although both looking a little pink! Day 3 - Bhandar to Sete
Continuing down into the valley, more school kids wandering the hills (crazy route to school!) and younger kids with the usual 'give me pen'. Although pretty sure a lot of them don't actually know what it means. Same as 'namaste...how are you?' followed by no interest/understanding in an answer at all! Pretty funny what some of the locals have picked up. So down towards Kinja for lunch and met an older Canadian couple going the other way. They informed us that by the time we get to Lukla it will be a walk in the
park compared to this! Good to hear, although another 4 days of 'this'! Never ending climb to Sete, but found a lovely yellow guest house with a baby goat in the courtyard. Hours of entertainment with it running around, bashing into your legs and trying to eat anything in its path. Enjoyed our first everest beer, a little early for celebration but nice to sit in the sun with Bhandar miles away in the distance! Day 4 - Sete to Junbesi
Further up into the valley after more porridge and Tibetan bread, through Rhododendron forests with the first signs of snow! Had a Kendal mint cake break (finally putting it to proper use 😊! ) and then continued up to the pass, getting mighty high! Had a quick lunch break before the final ascent, lots more snow, really glad we got some poles! A few rocky cairns on the way and then the prayer flags came into sight. First proper pass, really cool views down the other side, nice with all the prayer flags blowing in the wind ( very Nepal) and sitting at 3530 metres! Really hard walk down the other side through a forest and then along
Kitchen in Bhandar
Were invited in for dinner, nice a warm, amazing to watch them work. Ingenious stove contraption with about 5 heating places.
the valley to Junbesi. Really nice lodge 'Ang Chokpa's' and stayed in the Sir Edmund Hilary suite, well just a big room with a hard bed, but still 😊 More Dhal bat for dinner, although a very tasty one, actually just what you want after a hard day walking! Day 5 - Junbesi to Nunthala
Up through the forest to start with and along the valley to the Everest View Point! Woooo! First sighting! Although regrettably we did have to ask which one it was! Damn tourists! Really cool views of the whole range though. Down to Ringmu for lunch and then up to our 2nd pass. Not quite as high but still covered in prayer flags etc and more great views. Another really hard walk down towards Nunthala. Playing word games to keep us occupied, neither wanting to think about how long it would actually take us to get there - never really sure how accurate the guide will be! Had to persuade Anna to walk the last bit down, sore legs, and really both exhausted! But reached Nunthala and had a nice bucket shower and after forcing some food down we crashed. Day 6 - Nunthala
Loads of animals on route
Cows, yaks, donkeys, horses ....
to Khari Khola
Still feeling pretty dead after breakfast, I was struggling with finding any energy at all! Walked further down into the valley before crossing another suspension bridge over to Jubing. Had a nice cup of hot lemon and ate a packet of coconut cookies(both very popular). Up and up towards the Pema Namding Gompa (monastery) and did actually manage to have a look inside (very cool art) before walking down into Khari Khola. We were supposed to carry onto Bupsa but we couldn't face anymore, so set up camp and had a big lunch. In need of a rest so milled about the lodge and had an early one. Day 7 - Khari Khola to Lukla
As we had to make up a little of yesterdays walk, set off a little earlier although I was still feeling completely exhausted from yesterday! Amazing walk along the side of the valley through lots of cloud forest. Up and down winding along, stopped for a very quick lunch of instant noodles ( too much local food, and a fast alternative to waiting 1hr for them to cook you something!) and continued! Really dodgy belly wasn't helping matters. But eventually made
it to Lukla nearly 10 hrs later! Getting dark, both in foul moods, really not wanting to wander to find a place to stay ( 1 advantage of having the guide - no thought at all needed). Found somewhere reasonable though and crashed!
Spent a planned rest day in Lukla, both still feeling a little ill from all the food. Had a very slow explore and tried to eat something a little more normal. Huge place compared to all of the villages we'd visited on the way, even had a Starbucks?! Just sat, ate a little and watched the planes coming in. Still feeling pretty rough the next day but started out on the walk anyway around 1pm....
Part II to follow shortly!
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