Drive to Kathmandu
Being the last one standing isn't without its consequences.... I felt ok at breakfast but the minute I got on the bus I wanted to sleep. It was about a 5 hour drive to Kathmandu so luckily I had plenty of opportunity! Most people fell asleep on the bus occasionally waking to see the roads get longer, more winding and higher. The scenery was stunning though, and I was still surprised to see children dressed in immaculate school uniform walking along the roads (I don't know where they came from or where they were going as it seemed a long walk between places) but so many kids happily walking along. We had a lunch stop where I ordered sweet and sour chicken and enjoyed the leg stretch before continuing the journey.
As we got closer to Kathmandu, it was becoming more built up and my heart sank a bit as it reminded me of the chaos of India. After coming from Pokhora where it had been a bit more chilled I didn't really want the craziness of the big city again, and I was more thinking Kathmandon't rather than Kathmandu....
Our first stop was the world heritage site Swayambhunath monkey temple which is the most ancient in Kathmandu valley. It sits at the top of a big hill with great views of the city accessible by climbing 365 steps. Around the stupa are other temples and lots of little market stalls dotted around. True to its name, Monkeys were everywhere, but there were also a lot of stray dogs, and beggars, and it seemed to remind me of India again in similarities and cleanliness. At the base was a Buddha statue in a kind of water feature with a small bucket at its feet. People were trying to throw their coins in the bucket and make a wish.
I got mine in first time luckily (that never happened in PE at school!) and made my wish. The steps were quite steep and at the top a lot of people were ringing the bells which were really loud. Looking up the cloudy overcast sky was filled with Prayer flags that reminded me of the gardens of the Ghurka families in Aldershot and North Camp, who seemed to have them everywhere.
We headed back to the bus and continued
our Journey to our last accommodation of the trip 'Hotel Fuji' located in the Thamel district of the city, which is also the main shopping district. I was glad to be sharing with Steph again, even if we were out of the way on one of the higher floors-it was good exercise lugging our bags up those steps.
Raghu took us out to give us a rough idea where were where and what places were good for breakfast. So far Kathmandu wasn't as full on as India but also not too dissimilar in that everything was built on top of each other and hundreds of cables tangled up street corners in some way providing electricity. I changed some more money at the hotel and we went to a nice place at the top of the street for food (waiting for Molly Brown yet again!) I ordered satay chicken and pad Thai which was lovely. After the late one of last night and long day today, it was time to head back, and I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.
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