I'm in Pokhara, Nepal and preparing to leave tomorrow to trek the mighty Annapurna Circuit.
I'm absolutely loving it here. It's so peaceful here and the setting beside the lake with the
Himalayas in the
background is simply beautiful. Well, okay...I haven't actually seen the Himalayas yet because it's been so cloudy (in fact it's
raining as I'm writing this) but the pictures I've seen look stunning. I
hope I'll get to see it like this when I return next month.
It's wonderful to escape the noise, pollution and constant attention that I've had so far in the big cities. Because it's just the beginning of the trekking season there aren't a lot of tourists here yet. But, for a few reasons I'm very glad to be here and starting my trek at this time. Firstly, the weather (once I get out of Pokhara I've been told) will be perfect for trekking. Secondly, this is the first time in over a decade that
I'm getting used to Nepalese bus travel after a seven hour trip across from
Kathmandu. I wondered as I waited for the bus that
morning whether Friday the 13th was the best day to be taking such a
journey. I wondered just a little more when we passed a point where
another bus had left the road and plunged into the river bed below… Fortunately
we were fine in our 'tourist' bus (the 'local' buses are often poorly
maintained) and I had relative comfort compared to other trips.
|Monkey Temple, Kathmandu|
Today I walked around the lake and hiked up to a stupa (Buddhist temple) on the far side. Only 90 minutes each way but a good hint of what the next three weeks will be like. Tomorrow I'll be on a bus to Besishahar. I'll be hiking the circuit around as far as Ghorepani which will take me over the
which is 5416m. Instead of continuing through to Birethanti I'll cut
across into the Annapurna Sanctuary and hike up to the Annapurna Base
Camp. From there I'll come back down the valley and finish at Phedi,
which is only a short taxi ride back to Pokhara. Altogether, my health and God willing it
should take me about 21 days. Thorung-La Pass