As far east as this road trip goes. We made it. We have reached our destination. We are in KTM (Kathmandu) Nepal. The top of the world. 10.500 km away from the Med coast. Away from heat and back to the coolness of the mountains.
We came to Ktm 2 nights ago after a horrible trip from Varanasi. The road to the border was non existent at the last 150 km we shook and rattled like we were in the worst off road rally. Our average speed below 20 km/h. We drove for 13 hours from Varanasi to reach the border and it was only 250 km away. Poor car. Every other experiment we did with taking the scenic route and not the main highways, had worked out well but this time it sure didn’t. It was really scenic in the beginning traveling east next to the Ganges but then when we headed north toward the border the road disappeared. We ended up in another country road lost from the main, passing through very remote and small villages without electricity and finally we reached the border town of Raxaul. Another armpit of the world but not as bad as in Sibi. (see day 10) The sleeping bags and our own toilet paper were out again and off we went in search of dinner. Too late for that so we made some noodles with our cooker and ate them with tuna and paksimadi bread. Delicious. Our Geckos this time didn’t eat all the mosquitoes so some of them ate us but we survived.
Next morning we left around 10 we had our usual 3 hours at the borders for formalities, turned our watches 15 min fast and we were in another world. Paved roads, clean streets beautiful people and no cows and cow shit anymore everywhere. We took the mountain road to KTM (After all the reason for taking that weird road the day before was so we can enter Nepal from this area. It was pay back time in a big way. So we drove straight through the first Himalayan range. Only up to 870 m high but a tropical jungle it was. Then back to 400 m and the in 20 min driving and 20 kilometers later we were at 2490 m above sea level. Wow what a climb. And then back down to 1300. Crazy ups and downs, going through beautiful mountain villages and a whole different race of people. Six hours of this and we got to KTM. We had a guide connection waiting for us so we found a local phone and paged him. 10 minutes later the vip treatment started. First to our hotel then on for buffalo stakes and potato skins and we had a pig out. I think the last meat we had was in Delhi. That was a year ago. We entered Nepal in the first day of new year’s. Our second new year’s this trip. In Nepal the great year of 2064 entered. Happy New Year everyone. This means I turn 100 years old this year. And you all thought that with the life I’m leading I wouldn’t get to see 100. Tricked ya. You see the Gregorian calendar doesn’t work here so Nepal is 57 years (and 15 minutes) ahead.
Our phones don’t work here either so there is radio silence and tomorrow we leave for Pokhara (a bit west from here – [ you see out trip back started already]) and the next day we start a 6 day trek so there is going to be a complete silence. We are doing the Jomsom Trek. We take a small plane from Pokhara north to Jomsom and then we walk down the deepest gorge of the world. We start of at 3100 m , we walk up a bit to 3800 and then we get in between these 2 mountains (Annapurna I [8.091 m] and Dhaulagiti [8.087 m] in a gorge only 1300 m high. The distance between the 2 peaks is 8 kilometers. So imagine how deep we will be having these 2 giants around us. I can’t wait, especially after today’s disappointment with our little 1 hour and 15 minute airplane ride to Mt. Everest. The actual peaks were above the clouds and were beautiful but the ride there and back was hazy and with the visibility really low so we didn’t see anything. We just got to see Everest really close up but just for a few minutes and then we headed back. We got in a bit late in the season here and after all these dry months now that it got hotter it gets hazy after 9. Last night it rained a lot and today we hoped for a clear day but the clouds and fog were still around.
So before the 26th don’t expect any news from us. We won’t be camping at night but getting to lodges. Some are really nice and with bathrooms and everything. So it might be a luxurious trekking after all. 6 hours walking per day in a soft downhill. A piece of cake. I walked more in Varanasi everyday. And now we will have a guide and a porter with us. Apparently not only the views of the mountains are amazing but since it will get hazy as the day progresses the nature that we will walk through will be amazing. The flowers and the plants are blooming now because of spring and there are lots of little rivers and cataracts on the way down.
So see you in a week… Unless we follow the big Himalayan Yeti on a Yak and get lost somewhere.