Bhaktapur*

After the visit to Pashupatinath Temple we left Kathmandu and drove to Bhaktapur which is 30 minutes away from Kathmandu. The Changu Narayan Temple was another old Hindu temple but turned out to be the one we liked best so far. On the way to it we passed through an area that produces a lot of bricks but also has agriculture as everywhere in Tibet (after tourism the most important sector).

As with most temples or stupas we exited the car below and ascended via stairs to the holy building. The way was framed by little shops on both sides, offering all the goods we had already seen at the other sites. But here instead of monkeys some chickens were checking us out.IMG_0815 IMG_0814

Upon our arrival on top we got clear instructions on how to deal with the minimal begging. If people beg then they just sit beside the way and open their hands but they are not accosting you.

The temple was a simple wooden structure but with some intricate details and a monkey guardian.

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The monkey sat watch before the entrance and checked what goods had been sacrificed that he could eat.IMG_0840 IMG_0843 IMG_0848

And one more picture in front of temple. As you can clearly see it was taken by our guide.IMG_0862

 

Another short car ride brought us to Bhaktapur the third royal city in the Kathmandu valley. It was also the least modernized city we had seen so far. Our guide had to pay our entrance fee upon entering the city by car. The streets were not tarmac (not that the other cities had so many paved streets to begin with) but these here were similar to the cobblestone streets in old European cities, just done with bricks. No wonder after seeing  so many factories.

We started the visit of Bhaktapur with a lunch break and the best Momos Sylvia had so far. I went for salad and some greasy noodles while the guide got some fish and chips. The fish was not fried interestingly.IMG_0883 IMG_0884 IMG_0885 IMG_0886

After this invigorating meal we drove first to our hotel in Bhaktapur the Bhadgaon Guest House. We got the room right on top overlooking the Taumadhi Square on the 5th floor or so. Of course no elevator but we had a nice young guy carrying both bags (and looking as if he died underneath the weight). Here a picture of the room and the view from the bathroom.

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After refreshing ourselves, we met the guide again and started our tour right at the Taumadhi Square and then went in a circle around the inner city. IMG_0889IMG_0890IMG_0895

In the back streets it all looked a bit different, darker an smaller. Still people were always friendly and smiling.IMG_0897IMG_0899IMG_0902IMG_0903IMG_0907IMG_0908

And then we were finally at the Durbar Square of Bhaktapur (did I already mention that all three royal cities have a Durbar Square?) and met the obligatory temple, palace, statue of the king on a pillar etc. What I loved most here was that the square had been turned into a pedestrian zone and it really improved the quality of our sightseeing.IMG_0911IMG_0913IMG_0914
I also liked how all these historical buildings are part of every day life, they were not just there to admire but to actually enjoy them.IMG_0922
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After we were back at our hotel we said goodbye to our guide (and I am sorry to say that I don’t remember his name because he did a really good job), had a Nepali coffee at the hotel and then went shopping. Sylvia bought a local outfit in the colors yellow and lilac and then we had our dinner overlooking the Taumadhi Square were a band played. It was actually our first night out and already with music! Way to go!
The white stuff in the middle of the plate is uncooked flat rice (don’t know how they do it, but it is thin as paper and crunchy), and you eat it all with the soup. I am glad I tried it, but it will not become my favorite dish. Oh yeah, the big thing to the left is a hard-boiled egg fried again. IMG_0972

And here you can see the band playing here, the music was not good so that is not what I wanted to show you, but look how dark it is. There is almost no street light and most of the lights you see were coming from hotels and restaurants catering to tourists. Not much later we went back to the hotel and called it a night.
Yours, Pollybert
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*all pictures taken on April 24

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Yak&Yeti

About a week ago Sylvia, Angie and I went for dinner to Yak & Yeti. The restaurant serves authentic Nepalese cuisine and I wanted to make sure that whatever they serve is edible. All with good reason since Sylvia and I are leaving tomorrow for Kathmandu. In case of terrible food I would have packed some snacks. As it turned out this will not be necessary.

IMG_0231 The Yak&Yeti restaurant is located in the back of an old building and has a cozy courtyard which is decorated with little flags in all colors.IMG_0233

The restaurant has themes on three nights a week and we happened to visit on momo night. The place itself is small but fills up quickly; without a reservation I am not sure if we had gotten a table. I also noticed that the tables have a quick turnover. People come for food but do not linger over drinks. IMG_0235
We started with some bread and then quickly ordered the momos which came in four different kind of flavors.IMG_0237IMG_0239

The salad which was served alongside was delicious, the starter bread as well but the momos had a bit of a ‘prepared’ taste; meaning that they must have waited assembled on the plate for a bit. Not too long since they would have been totally dry after a while but long enough to make the dough quite chewy. The fillings inside were of similar texture and taste, so I only could only differentiate between meat and vegetable (which is already something, because some store-bought ravioli taste of sawdust). I liked that you could really get a second helping as advertised but minded that the bill showed one drink too many (I really hate to get cheated on).

In the end what mattered was that the food was edible and it passed this test with flying colors. So upon our arrival on Wednesday I will try the real Nepalese food and will let you know the difference.
Yours, Pollybert