A long walk

The shop next door to our homestay sells dahi (yoghurt). It is so nice! After devouring 500ml of the stuff, we started on our 2 hour walk to the outskirts of Pokhara.

We walked through some interesting residential areas and took a rest at the International Mountaineering Museum. Lunch was chowmein freshly fried up by a lady in a cute little café. When we stopped for tea, the waitress had a very English accent. We enquired a little further and she actually lives in Basingstoke. She was on holiday in Nepal visiting her family, who owned the restaurant.

Further down the road we visited a little site full of animals. There were water buffalo eating the grass, goats eating the flowers, a man eating his lunch and plenty of egrets coordinating the feast.

Not long after we came to a spot with many small temples, a great view of the valley and a pretty, natural rock bridge.

On the way home we bought a bus ticket to our next destination, had dinner at our local haunt and were treated to some absolutely incredible dancing by a 2 year old! She is amazing. The music starts and her knees are going, arms waving, head wiggling and all in perfect time to the music. She is the next Micheal Jackson - no question!

A Well Deserved Rest

Pokhara is a great place to relax and do nothing, so that is exactly what we did today. We rested our legs after our trek and watched the paragliders landing by the lake.

To bring the day to an end we enjoyed 12 inch wood fired pizza for dinner!

Trekking

An early morning taxi took us to the start of our trek at NayaPul. It was an hour journey along an horrendous road. The taxi driver drove with great care and we arrived safely at our destination. We were trekking with 2 people we had met in Kathmandu, as it is safer in a group. Plus, we were going without a guide as we were following a well marked route.

Our accomodation for the four nights was provided in basic tea houses, so we didn't need to carry camping equipment or food. Luckily they had nice warm quilts for the nights when the temperature dropped as low as minus 5 degrees and some even had wood burning fires we could huddle around until bed time. Luckily we didn't stay higher at Annapurna base camp where it was -18 degrees!

Our trek began in NayaPul and ended in Phedi. We stayed overnight in Ulleri, Ghorepani, Tadapani and Tolka. It is a low altitude route avoiding the risks of altitude sickness but offering beautiful views of the mountains and included many interesting villages.

The scenery was stunning and the mountain views spectacular. We made an ascent of Poon Hill for sunrise and got perfectly clear views of many 8000m mountains; Daliguiri and Annapurna at one end of the panoroma to Machapuchare at the other (fish tail).

The flowers in the villages were beautiful. Every time we ate, food was prepared fresh from the garden. Daal bhat (rice, vegetables and daal) was our regular meal as you were guaranteed a second helping.

The whole trip was amazing and we loved every minute, even though some of the walking was hard over the 80km we covered, with many steep ups and downs.

We caught the bus back to Pokhara along the same terrible road. It was virtually impossible to stay seated as it was so bumpy. We had to transfer to another bus as we had a puncture. There were no seats left so we stood for the last 15 minutes in to Pokhara.

A Lazy Day in Pokhara

Today was a trekking preparation day. Shopping for high energy snacks, water purification tablets etc.

We also spent some time researching the route and working out the best way to get to the start of the trek. Convenient, more expensive taxi v's cheaper local bus ... a little awkward and much longer journey.

The weather was a little cloudier today. We have our fingers crossed that the cloud disappears and we have beautiful views for our trip into the Himalayas.

Pokhara is a nice place to relax. We often sit on the rooftop drinking tea enjoy the views of the lake. We have great views of the paragliding launch site and there were so many today. When the sun was shining in the morning, we counted over 40 canopies flying.

We are trying to resist eating all of our peanut butter before actually leaving on our trek tomorrow. It is not going too well!

We ate dinner at a great little restaurant, where we chatted to some travellers we had met in Kathmandu.

On The Bus

An early start today as we have a long bus journey ahead. A take away breakfast was provided by our homestay as we left there before 6 o'clock. We walked about 30 mins to the bus station where we quickly found the bus. It was a while before we set off and when we did the bus turned around in the middle of the busy road, before heading out of town. This seemed a very strange manoeuvre but it appears the other 10 buses do it too!

Shortly after setting off we stopped for a breakfast break, then a toilet stop, then a lunch stop. We were starting to wonder if the bus would ever arrive with all the stops. However this made for a very relaxed journey. The road was rather bumpy but that meant the driver had to go slowly, which we liked.

The views of the snow capped mountains, tiny villages and rice terraces were so beautiful. It was hard to capture photos of the scenery; firstly because the window wouldn't open, secondly because the window was dusty and finally because we couldn't hold the camera still due to the potholes.

Eventually we made it to the bus station in Pokhara, which just happened to be really close to the trekking permit office. This was our first stop. Here we needed to arrange an Annapurna conservation permit and TIMS card for our time in the mountains. It was very straight forward. We filled out a few forms, had our photos taken and paid up!

Next we walked through the centre of Pokhara, along the lake and out towards our homestay. A warm welcome awaited us and straight away we were offered tea and biscuits! We enjoyed our tea on the roof terrace over looking the lake. It was so quiet and relaxing.

We spent the evening at a pleasant restaurant and listened to live music before retiring to bed. Welcome to Pokhara!

Patan

We are loving the homestay breakfasts and the free tea and coffee. We never want to leave in the mornings! However we dragged ourselves out and onto the shopping streets of Thamel. We were searching for gloves for our trek to ensure our hands stay toastie warm. We eventually found a pair each that fitted well and were a good price.

In the afternoon we decided to head out to Patan, a quiet little town about 30 mins from Kathmandu. We caught the local bus which was fairly quiet and it dropped us a few minutes away from the temple sites. Patan has a Durbar Square just like Kathmandu. It is full of beautiful old temples. We ate some lunch and washed it down with chai before walking amongst many beautiful temples and buildings. We followed a really nice heritage trail through the town back to the bus stop.

The bus home was rather more crowded and we stood until seats became available. Once back in Kathmandu we wandered the busy streets before heading back.

Another amazing meal was served and we spent the rest of the evening chatting and planning the road ahead.

Durbar Square

We were treated by an enormous breakfast feast this morning included in the price of our homestay. Eggs, toast, tea ...

After we headed to the Garden of Dreams because we were staying pretty close. It was very beautiful and many people were relaxing on the finely manicured lawns. Next we made our way to the frantic streets of Thamel, which are packed with shops sell trekking equipment.

Onwards to Durbar Square where we saw so many beautiful temples. Many were being rebuilt after being damaged by a recent earthquake, which was really sad.

Wandering back towards the homestay we browsed the shops looking at the beautiful Nepalese souvenirs.

In the evening we had a fantastic meal at the homestay sharing stories with the other travellers staying there. We have met some really interesting people over the last few days. One lady has sailed around the world twice, another young chap has a really interesting business helping many charities and one student is completing his PhD on solar energy!