Annapurna Trekking Experience

Another early wake-up, today for our trekking experience. We had our breakfast and one more look around    IMG_1347

and then left on time at 8am to drive to our starting point.

The starting point looked easy enough, just a couple of steps leading up into the mountains. This couldn’t be so difficult.IMG_1349IMG_1348IMG_1351IMG_1352IMG_1353If you look at Sylvia at our first stop you will notice that it might have been more exhausting than expected. All in all we managed around 4000 steps.

But there were always some distractions along the way, big and small animals and little shops to buy more water. And every animal we saw was a mountain animal, so not just a goat but a mountain goat etc.IMG_1355IMG_1360 IMG_1363 Eventually we made to the halfway point or the tourist check point. Kul had to show our trekking permit and we took more pictures. IMG_1367 IMG_1370

After that more steps waited for us which we also took in stride and in the end made it to the top. Our top, which was the Australian Camp, where we were not rewarded with a great view. To our bad luck clouds were coming in and the mountains were somewhere behind them. At least we made up to the camp without rain, just 30 minutes later we watched hikers coming up in pouring rain. IMG_1371 IMG_1373 IMG_1375 IMG_1376

We moved into the restaurant and enjoyed a hearty Nepali meal, well deserved after the long trek up there. IMG_1377 IMG_1378 IMG_1379I spent the afternoon in our hut taking a nap while Sylvia played with the dog (as I had done before too). All the while it was sunny but rather cool. For dinner we refueled again with more food and more importantly carbohydrates. We needed a lot of energy for the trek down the next day. IMG_1387 IMG_1380 IMG_1381

Guess who had the pizza? We settled in our beds for the night with the sleeping bag/inner bag respectively. Since the light was not great and wifi was not working in the hut, we called it a night around 8:30 pm. IMG_1385

The next morning we woke super early to rain and fog. IMG_1386We wanted to start at 8am but had to wait for 90 minutes until the rain abated. With a light drizzle still under way we started our descent. Kul decided that we would take a shorter tour since the steps were too slick to go down all the way. So the trek down took us only an hour and we met our driver halfway. Quite unfair that they only told us after the ascent about the short-cut.IMG_1393 IMG_1394 IMG_1396 IMG_1397 IMG_1398On the way back to castle resort we made a short stop so that I could buy myself a new backpack. The one I had I was really good for traveling but definitely the wrong choice when you go hiking. Since I am planning on doing a bit more in this direction an investment was in order.

And then finally back to the hotel where we first took a shower. Hot water and fresh clothes, heaven couldn’t feel better. We also hand washed some clothes since we didn’t know what to expect in the next couple of days.
And then since we were already used to descending steps we also walked to the city. After a 15 minutes descent we arrived in Pokhara and looked for an ATM first of all. We still had to pay at the hotel, plus needed money for taxis, food and our hotel in Kathmandu if we even got there.

Everything was still up in the air, we had no passports since they were with the agency to arrange for the Tibet/China visa. When we eventually got the ok that the visa and the flight were alright we were ecstatic.
Dinner in the city was the plan, not hotel food. We settled on Mint’s Hut which had a spectacular lake view and looked reasonable clean. The food was delicious (at least for me). Sylvia had vegetable soup and fried momos which didn’t convince her, while I had Sadeko, a very spicy salad made from peanuts or in my case dried corn and thukpa, a curried vegetable soup with omelette on top.IMG_1406 IMG_1408 IMG_1409 IMG_1412 IMG_1413 IMG_1414 IMG_1417The salad was really so spicy that I had tears in my eyes and the waiter asked after if it was my first time. I must have had really puffy eyes.

For our return we spoiled ourselves and took a taxi. We were both not up to the challenge of the steps in the dark. After a discussion with the driver about his fee that ended with the driver following us into the hotel, getting a cup of tea and an open ear from a fellow Nepali, we went to bed. Yours, Pollybert

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Pokhara 

After a peaceful night in our huge bungalow at the Castle Resort Hotel we were ready to conquer the world again. For Sylvia this meant to play golf this morning. Our hosts at this family-lead hotel were Sofia and Joe and both of them play. Since their golf bags were prominently displayed in the dining hall Sylvia couldn’t help herself but ask to whom these belonged to. It didn’t take much convincing from Sofia for Sylvia to say yes to a round of golf the next day. As usual she lived up to the challenge to play a new course with borrowed clubs by writing two pars and beating the hostess. What a show-off! IMG_1464IMG_1463IMG_1466IMG_1467 While Sylvia walked around the golf course I enjoyed a long and lazy breakfast, waiting for our guide who in the end never showed up. IMG_1277IMG_1274

Eventually the hotel organized a neighbor who toured the city with me. Kul turned out to be also our guide for the next two days so it was nice to get to know him. We went first to the local Peace Stupa. As usual we had to get out of the car below and walk up. IMG_1281 IMG_1282

From there we drove to Devis Falls, a small waterfall within the city. IMG_1302IMG_1292

Next stop was the mountaineering museum in Pokhara, my first museum on this trip. I would have loved to stay longer, there was so much to read about the 12 highest mountains and the first expeditions up there. Lots of Austrians were also involved which made me proud. Even the Yeti had a small section.IMG_1303 IMG_1307

Here Kul showed me how far up the Annapurna we would get the next day.IMG_1305

 

After the museum Kul wanted to show me some religious caves, but these were all closed due to the earthquake. And then it started to rain so a tour on the lake was out of the question. I rather returned to the hotel and had a rest. But upon arrival he asked me if I wanted to drink a cup of coffee at his place. He grew the beans in his garden and his coffee was totally organic. I was all for trying it and since Sylvia had already made it back to the hotel we walked the 10 minutes up to his place together. We got a great cup of coffee, black for me and with yak milk for Sylvia and then helped Kul to peel some beans. That’s a really long and boring work.IMG_1320 IMG_1322

We spent the rest of the afternoon updating the blog and lazy in our garden. Very relaxing not to do anything and just sit down.IMG_1325 IMG_1326 IMG_1333 IMG_1336

We had dinner at the Castle resort, a vegetarian Dal Bhat and something sweet-sour. Sylvia even took desert that evening and had an orange muffin while I rather finished my Everest beer in preparation of the hike we had the next day. Yours, Pollybert IMG_1341 IMG_1342 IMG_1346

PS: Sorry for the late update but the Internet in China doesn’t like WordPress. Also all formatting problems are due to my blogging with my phone. It’s probably best if you read it on your phone.