My bicycle was still where I left her! She got a bit rusty. She’s been sitting outside since I left her in December when I came down from Tibet. The poor thing.
But she’s gonna get some serious attention when I get back, in about a week from now.
Good that’s exactly where we headed. Me and dad on the Bullet and the rest by car. I managed to get through the Kathmandu traffic unscattered and on a clear day we rode the Pokhara-road with the white peaks of the Himalaya right next to us. Breathtaking.
We stayed here during the election, they passed peaceful enough. It was death-quiet on the streets and we rented a pedalo for 5 and spend the day, swimming, sunning, reading a book with a glass of wine on the lake. Doesn’t get too much better…
O yes it does 🙂
It was time to get a little active again and show them why exactly I like Nepal so much.
So back on the track.
Slightly different from last time now, we had a guide and two porters (I carried my own stuff)
and we were off to Poonhill.
It surprised me how easy I found the hiking. I thought I lost all my fitness after 3 months on the motorbike. But no, I felt great. So when we arrived at Gorephani, same guesthouse as last time, they even remembered me “Hey, you’re back! …. you got fat!”
I pushed on up the hill (3210m). I took with me my mat, sleeping bag some cookies and yak-cheese, the plan was to stay up there the night. So I did.
As the only person up there I watched an incredible sunset and made myself comfortable in the watchtower. It was a little chilly so I figured the best way to warm up is doing sit-ups in my sleeping bag. It did help. I only woke up suddenly in the middle of the night with a bright half-moon and millions of stars shining above me with this shocking thought;” what if there are bears here! Or wolves!”
After a few minutes of scaring myself I fell back asleep only to be woken again at 5a.m. by the first tourists coming up for sunrise. About 100 people arrived in the next hour including my parents to see the sun come up and stand in awe over the view of two 8000+ and another couple of big hills.
That morning I moved on.
In December when I was here my plan was to walk to Annapurna Basecamp (ABC). But it didn’t happen so I took the opportunity this time around. I left the group to do their own thing and set of by myself.
It was another great day, walking over a ridge from where you can see the mountains and then through a magical forest with little streams and waterfalls and the sound of yak-bells and birds singing. Till suddenly the sky went dark, the forest turned eery, the rain began and my path disappeared. I wondered if I took a wrong turn and got lost in the forest. Backtracking myself back up the hill I ran into this old goat shepherd with a felt point-hat and coat. He resembled a friendly fairytale figure and he showed me the right way.
By now the sky had broken and it was pouring down. Not much later I found a guesthouse where I stayed as the only guest overlooking the valley where the most wonderful rainbow formed as the clouds parted and the sun peeped through.
The young couple running the place told me it was a special day. The Nepalese new year, it’s 2065 now.
For the occasion they murdered a goat and relatives from surrounding villages would come over to celebrate.
I got invited to come and sit in the kitchen around the fireplace, have some mutton and taste their special ‘medicine of the mountain’.
As family members started to arrive I noticed the helpful fairytale man amongst them. Another one was carrying a baby-goat in a bag, telling me he had to look after it since the mommy-goat died. I wondered if that and the fact there was a goat cooking on the fire might be in any way connected…
It’s a bit of a climb to Annapurna Basecamp, but as I’ve told you before; ‘you never walk alone’.
This time I met a bunch of happy San Diego-college-rugby-players who are traveling together for 4 months and with me for two days.
I slept with the sound of avalanches falling around me (a bit like thunder) thinking of the guys up the mountain right now. Two teams are trying to summit the 8091m Annapurna 1 as we speak. Dangerous business. Good if you wanna get rid of some body parts I guess.
It was busy in the morning. Apart from me there was a French crowd of 50 people, dressed up in lycra leggings to start a Marathon at 7a.m. In the first few meters some went down with sprained ankles because its ice. Running doesn’t seem to be the best way forward but they tried.
After watching the start, enjoying some breakfast and the stunning scenery, I said goodbye to my new friends and started making my way down. Only to catch up with three of the French ‘runners’ 7hours later at Chomrong.
Friday, after another good hike, I got back to Pokhara where I found my Parents, Hans & Ali and Padam (their guide) surprised to see me. They only got back themselves the day before (www.jancees.waarbenjij.nu)
Now I’m enjoying the last few hours with my motorbike which I’ve grown pretty close to the last couple of months.
And I’ve had a super relaxing Ayurvedic massage. All muscles feel good and ready to go again.
Tomorrow we’re off to Chitwan National Park (sounds familiar huh)
But this time I’m rafting down in two days, camping on the side of the river on the way.
We’ll be staying in a super deluxe resort inside the park!!! (another something I wouldn’t ever do by myself)
I might even manage to drag myself out of the pool and onto an elephant to spot a rhino, croc or maybe even tiger (just keep trying:-) ) I’ll let you know.
I do love the mountains. Could easily spend much more time hiking around. And maybe I will.
When i first got here the plan was to head back into Tibet. That now seems even more impossible than it did then. There’s even Nepalese police up at camp 2 on Everest (6500m) to make sure no one is gonna bother them Chinese with trying to get the flame up there (hows that gonna keep burning I wonder).
So I’m undecided. I’m gonna have to climb on my bicycle again soon, but with no idea where I’m heading.
I wondered if you could give me some ideas…