Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mountains and Monkeys


Pokhara is a city that sits on Lake Phewa, and a strip right on the shores has become a major tourist hub. It's kind of a weird mix of people – families, backpackers resting for a while, people who have just returned from trekking, and older hippies who have been there for years. You ask some people how long they've been there, and they don't really know. It's easy to see why – life here is easy. There are plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, bars and bakeries with delicious food and good views to hang out at. Not to mention the lake and mountains that fill the skyline. It's the kind of place backpackers call a vortex – easy to get stuck here for way longer than intended.

I planned on spending a few days here, and possibly volunteering at a coffee farm nearby. But thanks to Jordan, I met Melanie, who wanted to go trekking and was looking for people to go with her. So she, a friend of a friend of hers Daniel, and I decided to go to Poon Hill in the Annapurna region. It's a short and simple but challenging trek with amazing views. After we finally found the right bus (where we were banished to the roof), we got our permits sorted out and set off on our way. There were lots of stairs. But we made it to our first stop and picked up two other guys who were on there own – Tom form Canada and Yannick from Belgium. Because of the lack of tourists, the guesthouses along the way are desperate for business. We were able to stay for free if we bought food, but the food is where they make their money anyway. We played some cards and chatted with the few other guests and their guides before heading to bed early.

On the third day we reached our destination – the little town just below Poon Hill. Most of us were tired, but I went up with Yannick at sunset. The view was incredible. The next morning, we trekked up in the dark to see the sunrise which was equally impressive, although much colder. We came back and ate breakfast before starting out again. We made it a short day so we could stay with Yannick one more night before he broke off to continue on to Annapurna Base Camp. Tom went on ahead, so for our last long day it was back to the original 3 of us. We made it back without much complication.

I had a few more days in Pokhara which were spend relaxing by the lake eating delicious breakfasts, hanging out with new friends, playing mafia on an 8 person paddle boat at sunset, and really just enjoying the rest of my time there. Before I knew it I was off to Kathmandu with Melanie and another trekker we'd met. I met up with Jordan and Hanna from the farm for a day, and we went to the monkey temple which was pretty entertaining. My month in Nepal went by so fast! I loved this country and hope to be back many times!
Tom and I set off at 4am to hike almost 2 hours and see the sunrise from Sarangkot just above Pokhara. We only got lost in the dark once...


From the World Peace Stupa

World Peace Stupa

On the way to start trekking - we were banished to the top of the bus

The crew on Poon Hill

puppy outside the monkey temple, Kathmandu

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