We were on our flight from Dehli to Kathmandu when Ger nudged me to look out the window of the plane. I looked and said 'what its just clouds?'. On a second glance I could see what he was taking about. Peering up above the clouds we could see snow capped mountains of the Himalayas. What a sight! While I will never be a mountaineer, I can totally understand why people climb everest. It must be so amazing to be standing on top of the world.
We stayed in Kathmandu for a few days before beginning our 1st trek in the Annapurna range. We didnt get a chance yet to do some sightseeing in Kathmandu but we will on our return. I am prepared to give Kathmandu another chance but the first time around I wasnt overly impressed by it for one simple reason -the air pollution. I suppose im a bit sensitive to it giving the recent bout of chest problems. Apart from that, its a lively spot with good some good bars/restaurants. There are also millions of trekking shops selling fake trekking brands, Northface, Mammut etc. It is hilarious as the 'fakes' are so like the original that it can be very hard to tell but the shops dont lie about it so you know what your getting (its obvious from the price anyway). The quality varies though from shop to shop. Even though we had most of our stuff for trekking, we still had to do a bit of shopping which after 3 months of hardly no shopping, i was super excited!!!! The reality was that there was so much choice in gear that shopping actually became a bit of a headache. In the end we got all our stuff in a well known shop 'Shonas'. We did get some fake stuff and so far they seem good enough quality so happy with that.
From Kathmandu we met our trekking company and made arrangements for our trip to pokhara to begin the trek. Our guide was called Chandra and our porter was Diprecht. They were very nice and professional and we knew we had chose our trekking company (Jagat Lama) well. Chandra went over our itinerary of the Poon Hill trek and we headed for Pokhara. We ended up getting a flight to pokhara which was interesting. It was a small plane and it was recommended to us to sit on the right hand side so we could get the views. The trip is only 30mins and the recommendation was correct, there were stunning views out the window of the various Himalayan ranges.
The trek itself was amazing but tough going. The trek we done was in the annapurna range called the Poon Hill trek but we did extend it into Annapurna sanctuary too.. Its a very popular area as the scenery is very varied and then of course you reach parts where you get stunning views over the himalayas. The top of poon hill is approx (3200m) .and it is one of the best places for viewing the different ranges. The scenery was just spectacular and it was a sight I'll remember for the rest of my days.
A bit like the mountains, the trek itself had a few up and downs. The main one being that after the first day, i got sick with dehydration. It was unfortunate but these things happen and I recovered fully by the end of the trek. It just meant that we had to rest for complete day, drink a lot of electrolyte fluid and then after take it slowly until i regained strength. Ger was a brilliant nurse though so i was back to normal in no time. Apart from that minor set back, all went well. The trek itself was physically tough but we were both fit enough so we were able for it. Every day we probably trekked the equivalent of up and down carrauntoohil (sometimes more, sometimes less). We had the option of trekking to annapurna base camp (4100m) but we decided against it for two reasons. The first was after the dehydration, i was a bit nervous to put the body under more strain. The second reason is that I struggled a bit with the heights so heading further up wouldn't have been a good idea. While i loved the trek, we can now confirm that i have a slight fear of heights and that i will be be sticking to lower heights from now on. Unfortunately for Ger it means that we wont be able to do another high altitude trek on this trip. I felt really bad as I knew he was really looking forward to it but we both realised that I would not be a suitable partner for the higher altitudes. The guide also agreed with us. Hopefully he can come back someday and do Manaslu with some other people. We are both delighted that we got to see what we did so neither of us are too disappointed.
Now were are back in pokhara and its the perfect spot for relaxing. We have already changed our flights back to Kathmandu as we dont want to leave here. We were staying on one side of pokhara which wasn't that interesting and very touristy but we moved across town and its a lot better. There are lots of really great cafes/restaurants where you can sit out and watch the paragliders fly around. The weather here is fab too, not too hot but still in mid twenties. The great thing about Pokhara is that while at the moment its full of tourists & backpackers, there are lots of cool things to do. They have endless companies organising paragliding/rafting/kayaking etc. They also have yoga classes so we are attending them. (i am trying to pick up as many tips as I can from different teachers and get the flexibilty up). I think in the coming weeks we hope to do a short 'low altitude' village trek and some rafting but at the moment we are feeling rather lazy so we will see how that plan goes!!
Dodging Mosquito Status: They too seem to prefer the lower altitudes and are lurking about pokhara. I have spotted and been attacked by some but thankfully they are not as plentiful as India. Perhaps there is just more choice here as its full of unsuspecting trekkers.