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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In the pink of things

When I look out of my window on a day like this, I can’t help but feeling a bit gloomy. The sun has left Vienna and will probably not make a comeback until next spring. Ok, maybe that’s not fair, but this is the impression one gets from this high fog weather. Always grey in grey, a bit windy and kind of wet. And all of a sudden everybody runs with a scowl around. Hurrah, welcome to Vienna in autumn!

Besides doing a mountain of sports to combat the fall depression, one has to find his Prozac wherever possible. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be a pill, sometimes getting together with friends helps as well! And what’s better than getting together and partying?015 I know it’s not really visible but last Friday I got invited to the Wiener Wiesn, an event that tries hard to become the next Oktoberfest. Just missing a few tents (and maybe 176 years of experience). Nevermind, we Austrians can party on a smaller scale and have lots of fun.

The tent I got invited to held the GLTB party, therefore everything was bathed in pink light. All the guys were gorgeous (at least the unavailable ones), the girls not so much (except for us of course).001002
Right away a woman came up to us and told us that they might be lesbians but that they don’t bite. Which was good to know because from then on we partied like there was no tomorrow. In all honesty it was not fear of being bitten the damped our spirit in the begining, it was our being sober compared to the alcohol level of everyone around. We needed some time to catch up!012014 And then Pat arrived and we were back in vacation mode.017I made lots of new friends for this evening023037040019but had the most fun with the girls!024025041045046
Thank you Nina, Leni, Pat for another wonderful memory! I had the best evening with you girls! We have to do this again soon!
Yours, Pollybert
PS: I just recently got these pictures and I really think that they belong in this post. So an update is needed.

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Venice, what a difference a day makes

Yesterday we had the perfect day with lots of sunshine and blue sky. Here, take a look:

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Campanile and Palazzo Ducale

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Rialto Bridge

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Basilica San Marco

And then this morning, look at the view we had from our window:

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So this is Venice when it is foggy! Just loved it. I was looking forward starting our day before all the day-tourists arrived. But first, breakfast! And this you shouldn’t miss if you stay at Bloom. Best breakfast I had in Italia so far. Not one dry biscotti to be found here.

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Instead fresh fruits, prosciutto and cornetto!

And then we were on our way to San Marco. The plan was to see the Basilica and also go up on the Campanile. We did just this and made our way around the palazzo as well to see the Bridge of Sighs.

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Now we were tired and deserved a coffee at the Danieli, one of the finest hotels in Venice.

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After finishing our cultural ‘obligation’, we started with the other important part if our trip, shopping!

Two pairs of boots and a purse later, I was exhausted and my friend hadn’t even started. We finally made it back to the hotel at 6:30, rejuvenated with a glass of Prosecco (grazie mille, Bloom) and left for dinner a bit later.

And I really don’t want to dish any place but the Taverne San Mauricio was the worst place ever!!! Stay clear off it, as should we have. We should have rather gone back to the place we went the night before, Caffe Centrale.

Below a few impressions from our lovely day. Enjoy, Pollybert

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