My First Time in Nepal
03, Jul 2018
I am a responsible person who knows exactly what she wants from life. A total negation of this statement (in line with the exception proves the rule) is my trip to Nepal. The direction of which I did not know absolutely nothing, excess free cash in my account, lonely March evening in front of the computer and the need to face the new challenge, for me it was to travel alone, contributed to the fact that after repeated “refresh” the page with already filled in credit card datas I clicked “confirm”. In this way I became proud of myself to own tickets for August from Berlin to Kathmandu – the capital of the country quite unknown to me.
The feeling of pride disappeared in the morning and it had been replaced by complete terror and the question: What have I done. After a few days of panic and constant questions about the dubious state of health of my mind there came conclusion that became my mantra – nothing happens without a reason. My original plans, and any assumptions spoil the April earthquake which so badly affected this beautiful country. Despite all the signs in the heavens and the earth, the greatest fear in life, sometimes bordering panic and doubt trillion decided to go. It was my best decision that I made so far in my 30 years life.
After landing in Kathmandu smoothly and without problems I went through the visa process, although the only thing I could say the nepalese is “Namaste”. Leaving the international airport, which fortunately was not impressive (I tend to losing everywhere) I still could not believe that I was in a country that has the largest number of eight-thousanders moutains in the world (obviously I did not planned even make attempts to gain even the local hills). The city stole my heart, it was love at first sight (and definitely I do not belong to those amorous).
As a typical white girl I had a hotel in the center of the tourist district, in Thamel. I would recommend that solution to anyone who does not shy away from the company and evening entertainment in the form of a pub/restaurant under his breath. You can go to one of them and spend a lovely evening with Nepalese live music, sensational local beer Gorkha (Nepalese as it turns out are definitely beer drinkers), and delicious cuisine. Major roads in the city are paved with asphalt full of holes and hills. However, both the side streets and the whole Thamel is a threshing floor. A tangle of narrow streets gives the place an incredible charm. Number of souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels testifies to the fact that in the season, which starts in October and lasts until March Nepal is downright besieged by tourists.
For me the only explanation why the number of places offering the same range of services still has a raison to exist. Every few turns we encounter this or that god’s temple. From every place we takes we can find a look of the Buddha’s eyes watching our every step. No matter what part of town we find ourselves constantly there are hang over our heads all the bundles of electrical cables supplying power to each of even the humblest homes. The surrounding palette of colors and sincere smiles completes the picture.
Children dressed in uniforms going to school, women in all colors of the rainbow exchanging between the latest news, men opening shops, homeless dogs looking for their luck scampering for merchant snacks. Around you can hear the horns of cars and bikes extremely popular in here. License plates are issued here in three colors: green, red and black, depending on the purposes for which the vehicle will be dedicated – private, government or official. Of course, it is prowling the streets of the plethora powered vehicles like rickshaws or all stalls of seasonal fruit. View of a bicycle laden with mangoes with smiling owner next to it – priceless.
As is widely known as a result of the earthquake that took place on 25 April this year, the entire Kathmandu valley has lost much of its gems. One of them is the tower, which towered over the city. At the moment we can only see its base tightly separated by a fence. The same applies to several temples, including that which was entirely composed of a single tree. In the place where it was located, we can only marvel at her picture. Buildings that were more fortunate are supported with long, massive beams and bravely waiting for renovations.
At first glance you do not see much, but to the trained eye (or with the help of a good guide as in my case), you can see deep cracks, crevices and sometimes dropouts buildings. Nevertheless, neighborhoods described extensively in every guide book like Dubar Square in KTM, Patan and Bhaktapur have not lost even a little charm and even now, when they are not in their best condition you can feel all their power and majesty. In addition, if you’ll crouching for a moment, you can see with your mind’s eye kings once lived here and world whitch was all around them and whitch is not so different from the one we find there today.
Nepal is the birthplace of the Buddha (which of course I had no idea about when I was buying the tickets). One very charming Nepalese informed me, although the main religion here is Hinduism, every Nepalese is a Buddhist. That is why numerous, often gilded statues of the Buddha in different moods, smaller and larger temples, multicolored flags inscribed with prayers on them and, my favorite ones, prayer wheels are an essential element of the landscape. Walking around the temple of Swayambhunath Stupa, Boudhanah Stupa or any other you should go so that the temple was on our right side. Each of them is surrounded by countless decorated with Tibetian Script prayer wheels, which are trace by passing next to them praying people. Even when those people already passed by, for some time they spin around its own axis, giving the place mysticism.
I especially recommend something that drew my attention by my indispensable guide. Because the land in Nepal, especially in the capital, is very expensive, all the buildings are placed in a small area and expect a few floors, at least 4. I would recommend to climb to the top of such a building, for example to the restaurant, there are a lot of them. Once we get there, let’s stop in the middle of the terrace and start to rotate around its axis. In carrying out the rotation of 360 degrees everywhere in our sight we’ll find hills. Not since the parade is called the valley of Kathmandu and with a little luck and appropriate weather conditions in the background will emergeHymalayas. That impression will stay with you for the rest of your life.
If you want to go in any direction you need to get out of the valley means climb the hill. The trip itself guarantees the breathtaking views. Whether you decide to rent a car with a driver or taking public transport duration of your trip will not be much different. The roads are narrow lead in most uphill or downhill and varied are the many bends and not the best quality turf.
For those who like communing with wild nature I suggest visiting Chitwan National Park located around 5 hours way from the capital. By purchasing a tour in one of the many Nepalese tourist agencies we do not have to worry about anything. However, in place most of the hotels and resorts has in its offer attractions provided to tourists. An elephant trip to the the jungle, morning bird watching, rafting across river full of crocodiles, visiting an elephants farm, evening show of local dance groups or a short trip by carriage drawn by mules to local villages.
Of course, I took part in everything. The villages are very poor, buildings are constructed from bamboo and a mixture of mud thatched and surrounded by picturesque rice fields. At every household gravitate goats, chickens, mules .. Probably I had never seen happier kids. Sometimes they runs barefoot, sometimes in flip-flops from one house to the next, they rolls off the upturned banana palms, chasing each other constantly laughing out loud.
Because I love children of all stripes, my heart was stolen by two girls who sat next to me during a local dance performance. The moment when at the beginning of the show they stood up and put their little hands on their hearts and tearfully sang their national anthem will stay forever in my memory. Courtesy guide the girls learned my name and get known where I came from. They were delighted that they could sit next to me, and I was honored to be so noble company.
Another place on my route was Pokhara – base for most trekking in the Himalayas. The city is not that big, very charming with a huge lake in the center. Before the earthquake the lake reflected in its panes of vertices peaks. Unfortunately, I was not given to see it cause of two reasons: in August is monsoon in Nepal so all peaks are buried in the clouds and because after the quake lake water looks more like a muddy puddle than crystalline pane. After all boat ride to temple built on the small island located in the middle of the lake was very pleasant.
If you would choose to visit Nepal in the monsoon season would I suggest to don’t leave your raincoat even for a moment. It is true that it won’t help much when the sky floating down gallons of water per second and replacing all the streets in torrents, but in any other case it is precious advice. If you would like to test your shape you can climb on one of viewpoints. That is where we meet a young Nepalese trainees before the exams for the British Army. Number of steps to overcome is alarming, but our effort will be handsomely rewarded with a fabulous view of the majestic mountains towering in the background. Another memory that nobody can steal from you.
If you want to support Nepal and help rebuild this amazing country – go there for your holiday. I subscribe to that with my both hands.
I already have my tickets to Nepal, do you?