Namaste from the Annapurna Circuit, Pokhara and Bagnas

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Nepal, where buses go to die.

Our trek began with a totally bullshit bus ride to Besishahar, a town 6 hours from Pokhara. Buses in Nepal are a nightmare. Treated like a tourist bus/delivery truck/local bus/post van, we are all crammed inside while it makes its obligated stops along the way to pick up people, bags of rice, chickens, and all sorts. So many locals board all standing in the aisles, sitting beside the driver in the front cabin or hanging off the handrail of the open door. Eventually the local standing next to my seat in the aisle decides it’s probably more comfortable to sit on my shoulder for a good portion of the journey. But the worst thing about Nepali buses is not the people, the lack of space, how they drive, or even how uncomfortable they are…It’s their frigging music. Nepali music is, in my own humble opinion, brutal to listen to. Normally a man and a woman duet over a looped ‘Dum dum ching dum’ repeated for what seems like an eternity while this pair sing in the weirdest voices similar to cats being used as violins. And each song sounds the same, usually lasting anywhere from 10minutes to 14 hours (it seems)… Honestly, its that bad many tourists complain and ask them to tune it off as we sit uncomfortably in the back wishing it would end either by arriving at the destination, or driving off the edge of the cliff. Fun times ensue for the next 5 or so hours and we arrive into Besishahar knackered. It is from this town where we would set off trekking the Annapurna circuit of the Himilayan mountains.

At this point in the story I may advise the rest of this is a particularly boring walkthrough of our time in Nepal, as it’s just that…a walk through, but it’s actually more than that. The feelings and emotions from these amazing highs are difficult to convey in writing, but I’ll try. (You may puke at its corniness or become blind from too much eye rolling.) Also there are so many punctuation and spelling mistakes throughout. Blame the auto correct.

As most people know, Nepal is home to the highest mountain range in the world with Everest being crowned the highest peak standing at 8,848 metres. The Annapurna region of the Himilayas may not be the highest but they form the central core of this wall of rock dividing Nepal and Tibet. Our trek will be spread over 2 weeks with a visit to Tilicho Lake at 5,000 metres above sea level (ASL) and the Thorung Pass at 5,500 metres ASL, before a descent to more human friendly altitudes.

The Annapurna circuit is considered one of the best trekking regions in the world and something we have been eager to try before we left Ireland. We were tempted to climb to Everest Base camp but its not as long a trek and also not a high, we felt Annapurna sounded better. Our bags were manageable and we were fully equipped for all eventualities. V was carrying around 5 kilos and myself, 8 or 9, camera equipment included. The tripod was left behind thank God. We had the option of hiring a porter or guide but declined and decided to go independently.

Arriving in Besisharhar we attempted to find a cash machine as we were restricted to his much we could take out in Pokhara but bad news, no working ATM. V and I decide to risk the trek with the little money we had, budgeting our way along. There are no ATMs along the trek until after the highest pass, day 11 or 12. We had organised grabbing a jeep to the first stopover town called Syange, as we were advised the start of the circuit is not the best, so we along with an Australian Syrian dude, a Canada in girl and the rest locals we drove for  3 hours across the worst landscape, boulders rocks and potholes creating another despicable journey. We were both squashed into the back cabin and the jeep was maxed out with people but yet they still try to pick up more until V and I had enough and demanded they stop others squeezing in on top of us. After 3 hours of painful driving we arrived for the evening at a cheap teahouse and stayed the night, hanging out with the Australian Syrian called Nageb, a really intelligent and hilarious guy who we ended up trekking with to the end. Day one done.

 

DAY 2: Destination: TAL | Altitude Reached: 1700 metres.

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We set off early by ourselves, around 7am, and what followed was 7 hour trek across some intensely beautiful landscape of mountainous roads, forests, boulders, cliffs, and deep valleys framing a heavy flowing white river. This day of trekking serves as an introduction to endurance walking, with our legs painfully tired and our soles displaying the early signs of blisters. We will admit that another 11 or 12 days was daunting. We met Nageb again in Tal village. Luckily for more budgeting trekkers like ourselves, many teahouses and guesthouses offer free accommodation if you eat there. Food is cheap but grows in price with altitude, and with minimal budget, luxuries are out. The food varies but the typical food favoured by trekkers and local porters is Dal Bhatt, a Nepali staple meal of rice, lentil soup called Dal and veg curry with a popadum, favoured also because of the free refills you are given. Its good,hearty grub and perfect for after 7 hours of walking and climbing. That night we hung out with Nageb and some cool Israelis, Ifat, Hadar, and Zackai. After a good laugh together we decided to trek as a pack the following day.

 

DAY 3: Destination: DANAGYU | Altitude reached: 2285 metres image

Today, starting off as a group but ultimately arriving at different times, we trekked from Tal to Danagyu, around 7 hours of walking across 12km of more awesome landscapes, hills and valleys, ascending to 2285 metres greeted by snowy peaks far off on the horizon. Setting off each morning is beautiful, with locals burning incence to wish good luck to trekkers, and Buddhist prayer wheel walls lead out of the villages. (A Prayer Wheel is small barrel shaped wheel, many usually connected in a line and inscribed with Buddhist scriptures, that you spin with you hands as you pass, apparently dispersing the prayers into the wind as they turn.)

Again this day tested our legs endurance but still we managed to arrive early into Danagyu and again we crashed for free with Nageb and the Israelis in another teahouse. Dal Bhatt and some tea later we relax and enjoy each others company sharing life stories and travelling experiences. We realise at this point we had a great group of people to hang out with along the trek and the laughs each evening are the perfect finish to the day.

 

DAY 4: Destination: CHAME | Altitude reached: 2670 metres

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Another early start sees us off on a 5 hour trek today. Legs a getting stronger and blisters bigger. We complete today’s easier trek in Chame, taking in awesome vistas, passing through gorges and walking along sheer edge cliffs. This day was particularly beautiful as we made our way up through a small village onto a vast open plane completely surrounded by snowy peaks. Almost barren landscape with weathered trees and far spreading hills. We found a small random teahouse on the dirt path through this plain and decided the views of the huge mountains was too good not to stop and soak in the view over an expensive jasmine tea. The owners are quiet friendly locals, and their appearance shows the affects of higher altitudes, the harsh combination of sun and icy winds. Local faces become more weather beaten the higher you ascend, yet the temperament remains as placid as ever. They live a hard life, everything handmade from local wood and stone, women carrying enough wood to build a tree with, men carrying rocks on their back, strapped to their foreheads, down mountain lanes for the next poor soul who then chips the stones into shape for 12 hours a day. The locals at this teahouse were super friendly to us for stopping and chilling there. They had a 3 year old boy, similarly dressed in their native clothing made from hard wearing fabrics and yak wool. Playing with a tennis ball this kid with a snot bubble inflating out of his right nostril was the happiest kid in the world at this very moment. For 3 years old his strength and running ability were so advanced. I played ball with him throwing it back and forth, and how he communicated with me without language was a great moment. A really tough kid who after running and falling flat on his face on the gravel dirt track just bounced back up and continued running while only the us westerners reacted. His parents just laughed. This short experience has become such a memory for us and this kid’s love for a simple tennis ball puts happiness into perspective.

We eventually made it into Chame, hours after everyone else. We catch up with our group, with free accommodation beside the huge flowing river. We relax and stretch during the afternoon sun and pop any blisters on our toes and feet offering much needed relief. Our evening is entertained by Bollywood movies in the dining room of our teahouse followed by mind games, card games and puzzles and general old school banter. As WiFi is lacking we are left to communicate similar to the good old days before technology disconnected us. It’s refreshing to look forward to chatting and sharing stories as usual. If you are still reading I have nothing but respect for you.

Although this may not be very interesting to follow, each day, through carrying our weight, walking for miles and miles while climbing, provides us with some incredible emotions, pure happiness and exhaustion mixed into one powerful cocktail. The higher we go the more intense this becomes. Each day feels like a blessing and we can’t wait to get moving again. It’s pretty difficult to express exactly how we feel without resorting to embarrassing cliches. But honestly, everyday everyone is in such good form and half way through each walking day spirits are high and the craic is mighty.

DAY 5: Destination: LOWER PISANG | Altitude reached: 3200 metres

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A steep ascent to Pisang today, passing through villages while taking our time to enjoy the scenery and fresh air. Our group always sets off together but divides because of different speeds and preferences to chill every now and again. Nageb, the chain smoking Aussie keeps us all laughing throughout the trek as he keeps promising to quit smoking  at 3,500 metres. A lot of time Ifat, myself, Veronica and Nageb all walk together and are constantly laughing and joking. We took our sweet time to reach Pisang this day but what’s the rush. Normally we arrive around 1 or 2pm at our destination towns so we have a whole lot of nothing to do each night other than eat and laugh. We actually learned a great Israeli card game called Taki, similar to uno. This became our evening ritual with the group. Each evening V and I also splash out on one Mars bar or Bounty to have tea with as this is as far as our budget will stretch in terms of luxuries. Trekking like this makes you very grateful for smaller things in life. Trivial things like fresh water, warm showers, comfortable beds, clean clothes and good food are all a thing of the past. Each day we have to purify tap water with iodine pills to prevent sickness, tasting like swimming pool water. Showers are cold or if lucky run by solar. Food is surprisingly international for small tribal villages but it is often a weird representation of it’s original recipe.

During the day we are roasted alive as we trek but the higher we go presents colder evenings to contend with. Our bedrooms are rustic and small, often sleeping in our clothes as the temperature drops during the night. Showers are a distant memory. If you’re lucky you can buy a hot bucket to wash in, or even luckier, a solar powered shower. Towards the end of each walking day legs are always feeling the burn. At this point Veronica, myself, Nageb and Ifat are, as usual, walking together. To catch up with the rest Ifat fakes a sore leg while waving down a tractor carrying bags of gravel in a trailer. So Ifat convinces him to give us a 10 minute spin to catch up with our friends. So we all climb into the trailer joining 2 locals wearing face masks to hide from the dust. Off we bounce down the dusty track along steep verges, holding onto each others bags to keep each other from falling off the side. I was badly positioned at the front of the trailer in the centre with my feet stretched out and on on top of the tractor’s wheel arches while Veronica held onto my rucksack. At every corner my feet would slide off of the arches leaving me held on by Veronica, meanwhile we are all taking selfie photos and laughing at the madness, often being hit in the face by clouds of dust emitted from the spinning wheels. A funny cheat to this section of the trek. 

DAY 6 & 7: Destination: MANANG | Altitude reached: 3540 metres

Ifat and Nageb, Bollywood style. (Tilicho Lake)

Ifat and Nageb, Bollywood style. (Tilicho Lake)

Reaching Manang took a relaxed 5 or 6 hours today, again with scenic stops along the way. Manang is considered the acclimation town, where most trekkers tend to rest for an extra day here to adapt to the height and change in oxygen levels. Manang is a pretty cool spot, more decked out than any other village so far. We left our first accommodation after we were all treated rudely by the owners and they were the only place charging for rooms. Our second accommodation was not as nice but the owners were friendly, food great and views incredible. Finally some meat, in the form of Yak burgers. Tasted incredible after days of damn Dal Bhatt. Most menus along the trek offer the same grub throughout but Manang offered more variety and quality. We managed to get cashback for an extortionate 10% charge but it meant no more scrimping. We splashed out and couldnt spend it fast enough, buying all the luxuries and good food we wanted. Although Dal Bhatt becomes repetitive its still preferred by porters and guides who all sing a song “No electric, cold showers, 24 hour dal bhatt power!” because that is the perfect description of this trek.

We spent the next day checking out a local lake at the base of some snowy peaks. Our entire group plus 3 more Israelis hung out and ate breakfast and brewed tea by the lake. Later we killed time relaxing more, washing clothes by hand in cold water, and then checked out the local ‘cinema’, or rather the underground room of someone’s house with mud walls, handmade wooden benches covered in yak hide, and a laptop connected to a projector, showing pirated DVDs throughout the day. We checked out 7 Years in Tibet, a pretty good show and quite related to this trek. Our trekking group grew the following day as we all set off towards Tilicho Lake, a huge ice lake 5,000 metres up and required 3 days of steep trekking to reach. A definite highlight of the trip.

DAY 8: Destination: SHREE KHARKA | Altitude reached: 4070 metres

imageA straight forward trek today brings us to Shree Kharka, staying in a free teahouse all on its own with a huge mountain range filling our view in front. This day was another acclimation day before ascending to Tilicho base camp.

We met a fellow Irish man on our travels here, Damien from Kilkenny, first of a very few. Most people we meet tend to be Israelis who wish to trek after they leave their national service to the army. Young, fit and fast the Israelis in our group tend to make it to our destinations first, and thusly, manages to bag ‘Israeli deals’ along the way. Free accommodation if we eat there. Pretty sweet deal. Israelis are pretty damn good hagglers.

 

DAY 9: Destination: TILICHO BASE CAMP | Altitude reached: 4150 metres

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The journey to Tilicho was interesting. We crossed beautiful waterfalls, through amazing valleys, making our way towards the landslide section of this excursion. Steep slopes of loose gravel makes for a treacherous journey, with long 2000ft drops to our left, while the slope extends vertically past us to our right, every now again small rocks bounce past.  A football sized rock bounced past Veronica just shy by a few metres. The track is merely a one footstep wide loose path trodden into the gravel that falls away as you quickly hop across. Waiting is not an option. An entire kilometre or two of this dangerous landslide section can make you appreciate terra firmer.

Passing this section, we descended into the valley where Tilicho Base Camp is located. Crap food and a game of taki later we headed to bed early ready for our early 5am start.

DAY 10: Destination: TILICHO LAKE | Altitude reached: 4950 metres

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Sunrise as the clouds form below.

This day was incredible. Snow fell during the night so our morning was spent photographing the early light pouring slowly over the peaks that surrounded. We set off around 6.30am and advanced onwards up the steep zigzag dirt path that brought closer to the snowy peaks. As the sun rose so too did the low lying fog. As the sun raised the temperature the fog began to drift dramatically up the side of the mountain. I got some incredible shots during this weird moment. Watching the fog gain energy and speed, pouring in reverse up the mountain until it consumed us in its passing was awesome. Veronica and I finally made it to the top of the zigzag path, probably the toughest climb of 800 metres yet, especially since the lower oxygen level at this height has an ever tightening grip on your breathing. Apparently at 5,000 metres the oxygen levels are halved, 50% what our body is accustomed to. Muscles cramp faster and headaches seep in as your body adjusts to the thinning air.

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Reaching the top of this steep dirt slope presented the next challenge, trekking across the deep snow covered mounds. You often sink waist deep into the freezing snow, leaving you out of breath as you try to shift each leg through the pristine white powder. The wind is as sharp as ice, slicing across chapped lips like razor blades. Meanwhile your nose is being fried by the early afternoon sun. We reached the lake at 5000 metres and celebrated by sitting overlooking the vast frozen lake, eating oatmeal biscuits and almonds. Pictures of the lake are beautifully blue and amazing but the recent snow and ice meant the lake was obscured. The journey was definitely better than the goal though. Beside us was a frozen stone cafe. Climbing through an open window we made it inside. Everything frozen and abandoned, like a mini Mary Celeste. We grabbed some packeted soup that was reaching its sell buy date and a couple of bowls, with the plan of having the odd free lunch later on. Negeb and Ifat arrived soon after and we all sat for a while before we made our way back to camp.

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GoPro…amateur style.

Making our way back from the lake was much easier as it was all downhill, but the snow still challenged us as we sank and crawled to the end of the white plateau before our descent to base camp. Lunch followed and then the arduous journey back across the landslide zones, and another 3 hours descent to Shree Kharka. A total of 10 or 11 hours spent climbing and trekking on this day was intense but each section offered great challenges. Our legs are definitely stronger now and recovery time is minimal. We stayed in Shree kharka once again before getting back on track to our main goal, The Thorung Pass. Tilicho was a good test of altitude and physical endurance offering exhilarating moments of questionable safety with incredible views, beautifully fresh air and all shared with a great group of individuals. The sense of comraderie along the trek, meeting like minded folks and sharing the journey is cool.

DAY 11: Destination: YAK KHARKA   |  Altitude reached: 4020 metres

imageOur trek to Yak Kharka is short but beautiful. Everyday the scenery changes vastly. One day forests, then open plains, snowy peaks, green hills, grey mountains and crazy gorges. The picture here was a resting spot for sore knees before our decent down before another ascent up. Tough but beautiful with intense sun and cold winds.

We arrived  into Yak Kharka very early. A much needed shower was had, a hot bucket of water in a freezing concrete room. Bathrooms are always interesting when you trek. Normally putrid squat toilets are all you have for that part of the business. Flexibility is a must.

Another early night relaxing with friends, games of Taki, and learning magic tricks from Zak killed our time, followed by another early start the next morning.

 

DAY 12: Destination: THORUNG LA HIGH CAMP   |  Altitude reached: 5000 metres

imageThe journey to Thorung La High Camp, our last sleep before the destined Thorung LA Pass, proved to be a bitch of a day. A long walk of steep ascents and descents, along open green planes running alongside impressive peaks and eventually a steep climb to base camp. Each day, although we could feel we were going higher and higher, it didn’t look like it, more like the mountains were sinking to meet us. The lands you cross are so vast with moderate ascents, and the high view is always obscured by mountain ranges that it doesn’t feel like a climb after a while. However once we reached the low camp we had the reminder that we were climbing thrown right back in our face. A steep 1 hour 30mins ascent in a constant zigzag pattern carved into the scree. Looking up makes you light headed and looking back is another reminder of the height you are advancing. Every 10 minutes we stop for breath and our tasty chlorine water. Sweat is hammering out of us but still it’s too cold to wear less layers. Walking poles become the helping shoulder carrying us to the end of the ascent passing victims of altitude sickness and pure exhaustion. Just before the verge reaching the top there is a view of the accommodation in the distance, and our legs decide that they have made it. They don’t seem to understand perspective yet, and start to crumple under us, wobbling and wanting to call it a day. The last 10 minutes to base camp are the hardest but we make it and settle for the evening. Everyone eventually makes it and our group is again united.

There was another small peak behind the camp, another short 20 minute climb. Eventually after much convincing of others to join me to make it to the top, they all refused. So with camera in hand I wander to the next peak and luckily the views are out of this world. A full 360° panorama of mountain ranges, including the Annapurna peaks and the path we walked to Tilicho lake, now a small snowy peak in the distance. At the stop of this hill I was standing was a hand made stone Buddhist stupa surrounded by at least 40 smaller piles of rocks. Prayer flags flap in the wind blowing Buddhist scriptures through the massive gorge below. At this point I understand why they call the Himilayas the Roof Of The Wold. Sitting absorbing the views is a powerful memory as the revelation of what we had achieved so far lay in front of me. Once it got too cold I wandered back down to camp and hung out with the gang again. Dinner and an early night was had followed by a 4am start the next morning.

 

DAY 13: Destination: THORUNG LA  PASS   |  Altitude reached: 5,415 metres

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We hired a hot water bottle for the night and slept fully clothed under the duvet waiting for 4am to arrive. I didn’t sleep much because I was totally roasting. Alarm goes, teeth brushed, breakfast grabbed and off we go on the final ascent to the Pass, considered one of the longest or highest mountain passes in the world. The first hour is brutal, legs still waking up wondering why the hell we were walking in the dark. As we ascend our energy levels and oxygen levels descend at a greater rate. Eventually every 5 minutes walking is followed by a few minutes rest. Eventually myself, Veronica and Nageb set a 15 minute alarm and we push for 15 minutes and rest for 5. This helps a little and we make our way up the dirt paths with snow curbing. Ifat was unfortunately trailing behind with altitude getting the better of her. We marched on and eventually the steep climbs turned into a up and down plateaus before the final moderate ascent to the final pass. Coming up and seeing the thousands of prayer flags covering the “Congratulations, you are now standing at 5,415 metres” notice board was a beautiful moment, and about two dozen more people standing celebrating together and taking a well deserved rest. We met some of our group waiting at the pass, greeted with open arms and high fives. Again the comraderie is touching and it was an amazing 15 minutes taking photos at the board with our good friends we had met only 2 weeks previous. Nageb and I waited for Ifat while the rest battled on down the other side of the mountain range.

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The start of the descent

About 15/20 minutes later Ifat is in the distance and eventually she makes it to Nageb and I and it was awesome celebrating with her on the pass as well. Again I know this sounds quite emotional and verbose but honestly this feeling is particularly unique to this experience, and can not be explained without sounding like I swallowed a dictionary and puked up a script for a cheesy 80′s romantic adventure movie. Everyday these feelings multiply. Nageb and I set off down the other side and eventually divided because of different speeds. By this time I’ve changed into cooler clothing, T-shirt wrapped around my head to prevent scalp burns and trousers pulled up. Meanwhile Veronica was making headway down the mountain towards Muktinath the next port of call on our circuit.The sense of pride is high and listening to Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’ was so intense I welled up. (Should have been some dramatic 80′s power ballad instead to best suit how damn corny this sounds.)

Next Destination: MUKTINATH.   |   Altitude: 3,800 metres

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From Veronica to the left: Hadar, Zakai, Yaron, Boss (porter), Nageb, Cheif (porter), me, and I can’t make out the last guy. Sorry dude.

On this same day, after the pass the descend is steep all the way to the base of the peak, where a small collection of tea houses await tired legs, although Muktinath, the neighbouring town, 1 hour 30 minutes away is the destination. After a 2 and a half hour knee damaging descent from Thorung La Pass we had reached 3,800 metres and the next town is a blurrly collection of dots in the distance. The ground being more level gives the knees much needed respite from all the shock absorbing. I eventually catch up with Veronica and we walk into Muktinath and find some of friends at The Bob Marley Restaurant, where we celebrated with cheap cold beers and great food, a nice change from the restricted diet we had only hours previous. We stayed here for a few hours laughing and sharing the revelation that we had technically finished the trek, or the hardest part. It was here where we hung out with a guy, Ross, from Bangor, the first northern Irish man we met on our travels. A few too many beers later 5 of us decide to get a jeep to Jomson, the next major town outside Muktinath.  We are officially aiming for the end of the trek at this point and the next day we set off on a soul destroying drive back to Pokhara.

image This bus ride changed lives for the worse. Crammed inside a local meat wagon with chickens, bags of produce and dozens of locals and tourists we endure 10 hours of torturous Nepali music, grabbing 4 buses back to reality. Each stop presented the next challenge of finding another bus or haggling over a jeep price. The bus seats are so compacted together your knees are scrubbed of their skin as your body bounces off every rough surface in close proximity. It wasn’t uncommon to bounce the side of your head off the window or storage above. Eventually you find yourself in a lost trance letting your body rock and flop in unison with the bus. This section is also a popular trekking route but we opted to reorganise our organs instead. Some areas would have been beautiful to trek through but ultimately the traffic and ‘road’ makes it feel less like trekking.

Next Destination: POKHARA image

Arriving into Pokhara like we came bouncing into town on inside an empty tractor tire, we were glad to be walking back to our hostel from 2weeks previous. We said our goodbyes to the others’ porters and guides and organised to regroup in the evening for dinner at an AWESOME Syrian restaurant, recommended by Nageb. Dinner was incredible, a mix of hummus, pita, falafel, tahini and fresh salads. A middle eastern dinner was a great change form our beloved Dal Bhatt. Everyone was pretty burnt out so an early night was had and again with plans to meet for the lunch the following day and exchange final goodbyes. So with a group of 9 (6 Israelis, 1 Aussie, and 2 Irish) we whittled our way down to myself, Veronica and Ifat. Spending over 2 weeks together and getting to know each others cultures and backgrounds, while exchanging travelling stories and recommendations, we all connected so well and became a good bunch of friends, and now inspired to explore Israel and the middle east. So many laughs were had between us all and it was evident that we all felt the same but proud that we had completed Annapurna together.

Next Destination: BAGNAS

imageWhile in Pokhara we travelled by taxi and local meat wagon to Bagnas, a beautiful lake getaway from everything. We spent 4 days relaxing in our hill top guesthouse waking up to stunning views of an emerald lake surrounded by lush forestation. Renting a boat and swimming for the day became ritual along with hanging out with so many different types of people, from a hilariously chilled Aussie called Xavier, to a meditative Londoner, Jeremy, who is at one with the world and an incredibly intelligent chap, enlightening us more on the subject of meditation and Buddhist philosophy. We met Stacy and Yael, two Australians who we would also become good friends with as we would continuously bump into each other. Chatting over beers each evening was incredibly interesting and diverse.

As was the wildlife. Huuuuge beetles, with Lamborghini style doors and wings buzzing like two helicopter blades joined the party bouncing off the light bulb and zooming around our headspace, sending a Mexican wave of “OH SHIT!!” around the table. These things were like mini black VW beetles with the doors open and with 6 legs instead of 4 wheels. Moths, mosquitoes, and cockroaches are all attracted to the limited light so it’s a fun night in bugsville Tennessee. I of course am on bug patrol each night tackling gigantic 6 legged beasts and arachnid monsters with only a spear and bucket. I know one thing, no damn wasp during our dismal Irish summer is gonna be a threat anymore. I could slap a wasp without delay now. Although, these gigantic miniature helicopters here still resort me to jumping Scooby Doo style into Veronica’s arms. Eventually we had to leave this little piece of paradise and head back to Pokhara to organise getting to India. We said our final goodbyes (or what we believed were the final goodbyes) to Ifat and made our way back to Pokhara.

Next Destination: POKHARA again

Arriving back in Pokhara left us 3 nights to sort things out for India as well as posting excess weight home. Next afternoon brings Ifat back into the script who decided we were better craic than Bagnas, so another few nights were spent laughing and hanging out once again. Our last few nights in Pokhara were great as we hung out with Ifat, a couple of Americans we met on the trek, as well as an Irish and south African couple. Proper boozing ensued over a pool table after a ‘lock in’ inside a local bar. Our final day, Ifat, and ourselves grabbed a final bus back to Katmandu. Our flight to Delhi leaves that evening, and Ifat had planned to stay a couple of days in Katmandu. We said our final goodbyes (or, again, what we believed were the final goodbyes) to Ifat and made our way to the airport to fly to India. Nepal has been nothing short of incredible. We made great friends, witnessed the sheer size of sexy mother nature, experienced breathtaking highs, metaphorical and physical, interacted with and absorbed the local cultures, and pushed ourselves through our boundaries to reach a unique feeling. It’s been special and a definite, if not the key memory of this trip so far.

Next Destination: PLANET DELHI

One Comment
  1. Dude!

    Beyond epic, that sounds like the best trek ever!
    The views up there look outstanding, this is something I must experience!

    Sounds like a lot of work but a journey that is work doing!
    Can’t wait for the India stories and pics!
    Talk to ya soon dude!

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