If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, Pokhara is its center of adventure. Here start many of Nepal's most popular trekking and rafting expeditions. The atmosphere on the shore of Phewa Lake is one of excited vitality as hipster backpackers crowd the many bars and restaurants exchanging recommendations on guest houses and viewpoints, both by the lake and above the clouds.
It is a fun place to meet people, relax, and shop around.
The 3rd time in mama mia's in Pokhara, it seems to be our 'stammkneipe' or maybe just because it's not too far away from our Hotel Woodland and it's raining again - the monsoon is coming now - so we are leaving tomorrow for Kathmandu. It was very nice here quiter than Kathmandu - but sincerely... I am glad to leave now. I've seen the mountains... at least for sometime (I am sure I have to climb another one in the future, and I really love it so much). Who would believe me? I have climbed so many of them, up and down again (and still haven't gotten the enlightment), that not only my feet but also my stomach is striking. I've seen all possible and impossible insects partying in my bed, shower and god knows what they were doing while I was sleeping. I was freezing like hell and sweating that you could wring out my cloth 10 times... I had to run out in the middle of the night with a flashlight to find the ***hole (just follow your nose) and trying not to pee over my feet, while I could barely see the hole in the floor (listen where the mosquitos are and you know where to pee in). I had to fight forward over slippery stones against the wind... and then run away from the rain. My lungs, attacked by a bad cold, suffered together with my legs every step I had to go up almost 45 degrees, whilst my feet complaind shaking when I had to go down for 6 hours or more. Not to tell you about my ass on which I felt 3 times! Last but not least, against all my nature, I had to get up every morning between 4 and 6 o'clock! 'This is all about my first hiking experience in the himalaya... I really loved it :-) But sometimes, when I looked up, I was amazed by the nature I saw. From a moonland-like landscape up in Muktinath, one of the famous towns known for their Hindu and Buddhist Monasterys, almost 4000 m high up - until it all changed to a most exotic forest around the Ghandaki River. Unbelieveably nice!!! And what about all those dounkies carrying the goods up and down, we saw 1000 of them. Dogs which accompanied us for miles. The mountain people who carried loads of almost 100 kgs with their forehead and this almost barefeet or with flipflops? Amazing isn't it? Of course the natures nicest wonder where the mountains with their white peaks which hypnotised you with their beauty (I've had to tell you something nice do I?). But I am sure Michael is going to tell you his version from the view of a real mountain-hearted man...
I almost forgot the most important thing. THE COWS. You have never seen such disgusting HOLY cows, naked no hear (huge staring eyes on a big head) this cows produce the biggest duty piles on earth which stink to heaven.
MD: yes Andreas, not even you and I can match the sizes of these dumps, for the record book I took several picutres of evidence. But enough of the whining, in hindsigh Sandra will happily admit that she had some of the best and interesting experience of our life. Sometimes its good to push the mind and the body to the limit, the rewards of the mountains were spectacular. As described before, we started from Pokhara via Jomsom for a 10 day trail. As guide and porter to carry one backpack we hired a 22 year old Nepali, Bipin who spoke only very limited english. Always in a great mood he tried over the next 10 days to pick up as much english as he could, and we tried to learn as much as possible about the trail himself and the country. A lot of times it was quite comical to experience and fight the language barrier, but it was always fun. Just in general, do not believe that a Nepali 1/2 hour is the same as we know time/measurement, because it might stretch up to 2 hours (Sandra always enjoyed the last 1/2 hour to finish the day). And do not believe that a trail is going to be flat when a Nepali says it's going to be flat (flat just does not exist in this country). The first phrase that Bipin immediately adopted was, 'let's hit the road Jack' so for the next 10 days after every break he announced with a big smile 'Road JAck' and we had to laugh every time. We walked-hiked-climbed every day between 5 to 9 hours and luckily had almost the whole time fantastic wheater (the forementioned rain, cold, snow conditions are the usual mountain wheater). The trail went from Jomson via Kagbeni to Muktinath which is almost 4000 m high, we could definitely feel the altitude. Kagbeni and Muktinath are already under Mustang jurisdiction and the landscape is part of tibetian plateau (like the moon). Its just fantastic... snowtop mountains in experience with the Annapurna range and Dhaulagiri are around you. While staying the first night in Kagbeni we met in the local Teahouse a family of Scots and an Australian-British couple. It's one of the greatest things on the trail, that you constantly bump into the same people (could be a nightmare too...), therefore we spent pretty much of the next 10 days with them, during the day you hike on you own speed and meet up at night in the teahouses. Steve and Trish (australian-british) became over the next two weeks our friends, unfortunately they left Kathmandu towards England today. Anyhow, from Muktinath we descended through the Kaligandhaki river delta towards Marpha, which is DEFINITELY the nicest village on the trail. Hidden from the hauling wind Marpha hides in a corner of a valley and is so picturesque that it took our breath away. Governmentle supported vegetable fields and apple trees all over the place. The village is well maintained and you can get lost for a day in the small streets just aimlessly wandering around. The next days we walked via Khalopani to the hot springs in Tatopani (hot water) and relaxed our tired bones in the hot water. As probably everybody knows from the hot bath tub at home, it doesn't pay off to drink huge quantities of alcohol in boiling hot water, and Steve had to pay the price... to be fair, we were all very close. But what a panorama, sitting in the pools and have snowcapmountains around you, beer catered to the pool, just hard to beat. But the real pain in the a.. comes the next day, right of the batt it goes backsteep into the mountains, we had to gain approx. 1200 meters in altitude within the first 2 hours. I kept a safe distance between me and Sandra for whatever reason with her walking stick multiple times. At night though, I had to learn from Steve that this was harmless compared to Trish's threat to shove her walking stick up his rear end :-). Via Chitre we made it up through blooming Rododendron forests to Ghorepani. Planned as one of the highlights of the trip, we were in for a real disappointment and had to pay the price to the upcoming monsoon. Heavy rain and fog kept us at bay for the day. However, the next morning we still got up at 4 am, took some flashlights and walked up the very steep Poonhill to watch the sunrise and the mighty mountain range featuring the holy Fishtail mountain aka Machapuchare. Bummer dude!! Visibility 20 feet and light rain. Again, Steve and I had to hide from the sticks of the girls... after breakfast we took off to finish the trail, 8 1/2 hours hike was ahead of us towards Nava Pul. Not to forget Ulleri, approx 1 1/2 hours of steep going downstairs that make your calfes scream and your knees buckle. But eventually we made it and Sandra did really well (yeeeeeeeeees), and I have awarded her with the 'Goldene Wandernadel'. Before finishing the chapter we have to pay a tribute to the local teahouse kitchens on the trail. On a small burner they do prepare almost everything (it's a miracle). Starting from swiss roesti over pancakes, spaghettis in all variations to mussaka, steaks and rouladen. totally amazing and always very delicious. So much more to tell but we are running out of paper (ha ha). All said, I can't wait to go back and walk the complete circle which takes around 20 days. Everybody who loves nature and hiking will understand and appreciate the point. Nepal and the mountains are better than anything I have ever dreamed about and certainly a mountain mans paradise... after the trip Sandra had the first little encounter with food poisoning, but with my good care and two days of hospital help we have her back to normal, hopefully nothing to worry about. We will stay one more week in Kathmandu to get further enligthment with all the Temples and will head on the 30th to Bangkok.
NAMASTE FROM THE LITTLE MESSNERS!!!!!!!
Sarangkot is the nearest mountain by the lakeside of Pokhara. It takes about 1 to 2 hours to walk from Pokhara to the peak. On Sarangkot, you can have a good view to the surrounding mountains including fish tail and Annapurna.
Fondest memory: When you look back from the peak to the lake, the scene is wonderful.
Fondest memory: We stayed in Pokhara for 7 days. In the first 6 days, the weather was cloudy and we could not see the ice mountains. The last day when we left Pokhara, cloud got away and we finally saw the wonderful ice mountains surrounding us. It was the first time in our life!
August in Pokhara will be a tropical experience, hot, muggy, mosquitos and leeches in the brush and grass country. However, it is a good time to visit the rainshadow areas of Nepal, such as behind the Annapurnas near Pokhara; a short flight will take you to Humde in Manang or Jomsom in Mustang. Should be ok weather back there. Kathmandu's climate is not comparable to Pokhara; Pokhara is the wettest place in Nepal, with 4000mm of rain, about double that of Kathmandu. It is also low-lying, 800 meters, so it will be hot, too.
It will be the greenest time of the year and it will not rain continously, and occasionally the clouds will open up and give you a vista of new snow on Himalayan peaks. Go for it, but bring rain gear and mosquito repellant.
Fondest memory: The clouds splitting revealing newfallen snow on the Annapurna peaks near Pokhara.
Favorite thing: During the 4 days in mountain and Pokkara, we saw vally, river, stream, snow mountain, lake, wood, small village......the natural scenes in Nepali countryside was just fantastic!
Favorite thing: Pokhara is the place to start your trekking around Annapurna. In spring the air is misty, but with some luck you can see the Fishtail-Mountain!
Fondest memory: When you are boating in Phewa Tal of Pokhara, you should be impressed deeply by the reflection of the sky and mountains surrounding you.