All posts tagged: Nepal

DAY 7 Machhermo to Gokyo

Before we start the day lets talk about tea houses, our accommodation of choice on our trek. There may be a more upmarket choice of digs up until Namche, but aside from the odd hotel all offerings are tea houses, or lodges. Most, if not all, are family run and comprise dining room with separate sleeping quarters. Sometime in the past a very persuasive salesman must have traveled these parts selling particle board by the ton, as it is the prevailing building material in all lodges. The sleeping quarters are a 3×3 particle box with single beds on each side and maybe a small table between then. The thin mattresses sit, surprisingly, on a particle board slab, with doonas on top with very strange covers made mainly of velour, which play havoc with thermals. Every time I’d turn over I’d have the doona cling to me like an over possessive girlfriend, prompting much wrangling to extricate myself from this unhealthy relationship. We are provided sleeping bags with inner liners, but up until now the temperature …

DAY 6 Dole to Machhermo

  We had a nice sleep in till 7 this morning, so a very leisurely approach to breakfast. While we’re on the topic of food, lets explore the culinary delights of the Nepalese high country. Not much grows up here except potatoes, cabbage, peas, and a few assorted veggies, and everything else has to be carried in. The main others being rice, oats, noodles, pasta and eggs. What we have here is a diet high in carbs and starch, low in fresh veg and protein, and dominated by the humble spud! If you so choose you can have fried spuds for breakfast, spud & veg for lunch, and “finger chips” for tea. Alternatively, how about potato with eggs, mixed fried noodles and fried momo’s? Fried macaroni with cheese, anyone? Mixed fried rice? Veg spring roll, or veg cheese pizza? Tibetan bread (you guessed it, fried) and jam…delicious! For dessert lets give the arteries a solid workout with a snickers or mars roll. That would be a ‘deep fried’ roll! Haven’t tried these yet, may risk …

DAY 5 Khumjung to Dole

We woke this morning to low cloud after rain overnight, before the cloud slowly lifted to reveal a taste of the Himalayas, one peak after another rising out of the mist, giving everyone a glimpse of what was to come. As it was our last morning together we gathered outside for a team photo before heading off at 8.30 for the long trek to Dole (4200mt). The views on the way to lunch were breathtaking, soaring peaks descending to the valley floor on both sides with us zigzagging our way both up and down along a thin ridge, forest of rhododendron and pine splitting the pathway, shear drops to the raging river below. We had morning tea at the Everest View tea house (3950mt), falsely advertised sadly as she was covered in mist, before cruelly descending back to 3600mt for our farewell lunch to the EBC crew, who we will see again briefly as our paths will cross in about a week. The highlight of the day for Rachael was being able to get enough …

DAY 4 Namche to Khumjung

After a good nights sleep, we woke at 6 to the most magnificent view of Mt. Kongde from our window, absolutely striking, and fleeting as the clouds rolled in 20 minutes later. Breakfast of porridge and Tibetan bread, then off for a leisurely stroll of about 4 hours to Khumjung (3790mt). Well, the first half was pretty relaxed, a beautiful walk thru pine and rhododendron forest with breathtaking views over the valley floor with soaring mountain peaks opposite. Unfortunately, to ascend you have to climb, and the second half was back to steep steps up, until a final descent to the wonderful village of Khumjung which is the largest Sherpa village in the Khumba region. After a long anticipated lunch we went for a walk around town, thankfully without our backpacks for the first time. We checked out the Khumjung Gompa (monastery) famous for housing a rare Yeti Skull, a legend around these parts. I must confess, it was a little underwhelming, a hairy dome stuck in a tiny glass and wooden box. After many …

Days 1 to3 Kathmandu to Namche

Leaving Kathmandu for Lukla, hopefully. A busy day today with a 4am start to be at the airport by 6, for a 6.30 flight to Lukla to start our trek. That is if the weather permits us flying, as the airport at Lukla is a manual landing requiring visual contact with the runway. Lukla airport is regarded as one of the hairiest places to land in the world, being both steep and short, finishing up the hill by a stone wall. Go too fast and the wall greets a new friend, misjudge the landing and crash into the ravine. Being able to see the runway becomes somewhat important, and the early morning weather deemed this improbable, so we sat around the unairconditioned departure lounge waiting for the clouds to lift. 6.30 turned into 9.30, then luckily we had the all clear to board for the 30 minute flight on a tiny 17 seater twin prop plane. But not before sitting on the tarmac for 30 minutes in the searing heat with no air conditioning in …

Two Days in Kathmandu

We got into Kathmandu at about 10.30 on Saturday night, but didn’t get to our hotel till about 12.30am due mainly to the shambles that is arrivals at the airport. Filling out Visa forms on ancient computers, lining up to pay for the visa, then queuing to go thru hand luggage scanning. Why? No idea, but only one machine worked, and regardless of whether it flashed red or green, the security guy just sat looking bored as. The baggage collection area was a sea of bags, flung every which way. Finally, after finding our bags randomly, a crawl thru to bag inspection, then thankfully out looking for our lift. A complete dogs breakfast! Our ride was there, so all ended well. Sunday was catch up with sleep morning till about 9, breakfast, then out to find coffee and a few supplies. Nepal is a third world country and Kathmandu fits the bill nicely. It is a glorious riot of crazy electrics, wild traffic on crumbling roads, cars and bikes competing for precious space, horns playing …

Melbourne to Kathmandu, via KL

Our journey begins at Melbourne International Airport, which would manage a miserably low score of about 2/10, and the 2 is for speed through customs, the rest, forget it! The whole place is under renovation, except Hungry Jacks, which should be!! Seriously folks, the most diabolical excuse for a hamburger EVER!! The queue went for ever, courtesy of being about the only joint open, and the end result…. This was Liz’s first Hungry Jacks experience, next time we’ll just slap two bits of cardboard together with a sliver of grease. To wash the horror out of our system we went searching for a drink, with limited success. Every promised offering was “coming soon”! Finally a beer was secured in a random bar, then thank God, our flight boarded. Thanks to changed layover times, we had 12 hours to kill in Kuala Lumpur which luckily included use of the airport hotel for the day. Man, the bed looked enticing, but why catch up on no sleep when you can schleep around town for a few hours? …

Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lake

I have been hinting, suggesting, and trying pathetic mind games on Rachael for quite some time now regarding a particular ‘bucket list’ item of mine. An item that needed to be ticked off while my knees could still hack it, not to mention the achilles, back, hammies, feet, shoulders etc, etc! Paris, London, Berlin? Exotic river cruising down the Nile, maybe? Doing the ‘sound of music’ in Salzburg, or catching the Orient Express? Nah….how ‘bout a nice pleasant stroll in the fresh air? A nice, LONG meander! Having not done any hiking/trekking for over 30 years, why not, how about…pretty please can we….take a stroll up to Everest Base Camp? How hard can it be? Oh, and seems as we are there, lets not do the standard 13 day trek like the sensible folk, but whatcha reckon we add a few days (5!) and make it harder (a lot) by going via the Gokyo Lakes? The views will be great, the track quieter (‘cos most people are sensible), and the air fresher, thinner, and just …