Friday, February 14, 2014

Yak Attack - Last minute tips for Nepal, and surviving Kathmandu! (and some inspiration!).


If your idea of idyll is a tourist brochure paradise with all the comforts of a developed society it's probably for the best if you don't come! :D
However if you have a sense of adventure and wonder for the world, and you can leave a few of your "necessary" comforts on the doorstep, then this could be just the place for you!

Colours of Kathmandu.

For newcomers to Nepal, and particularly Kathmandu, the culture shock can be overwhelming.
Hopefully I can prepare you a little for what's in store.
Kathmandu can be a beautiful place to visit but it also has some environmental and social problems to which unprepared Western visitors might find hard to adjust.

The first thing to remember above all is that Nepali people are trustworthy and friendly. It is unlikely that you will be ripped off, scammed, or robbed. In fact it is more likely that you will get the better end of any deal! I have been followed down the road after leaving expensive items in cafe's and restaurants.
And, of course, a smile earns a smile :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In the shade of the Banyan Tree.

In the shade of the Banyan tree.
An unmitigated disaster? Or a mini-adventure!

The start of a mini-adventure. The teashop at Mudkhu.

If you have no real grasp of irony, satire, or downright sarcasm this piece may not be worth continuing with. If however you are blessed with a certain sense of humour then feel free to enjoy.

Much of it was written "on the fly" and some of it was written post-ride each day so I apologise in advance for the mix of past and present tense. I've cleaned it up as best I can. And also for the mix of imperial (miles) and metric (kilometres) here and there, in Nepal they use kilometres but my Garmin GPS is set to record miles and I haven't bothered to change it over.

Day 1 - Monday 3rd February.

I left Kathmandu at 11.30am, bound ultimately for Manang, a beautiful town in the shadow of The Annapurna's.
The four mile ride to Mudkhu was harder than the usual easy spin carrying an extra 14 or 15kgs of backpack! I stopped for tea at Mudkhu knowing I had some big climbs ahead. It was going to be good strength training for the old legs.

The climb to Kakani was long but actually pretty steady as it turned out (on mostly sealed road). I was starting to enjoy the extra power I've developed over the last few weeks of long rides and huge hills. Faster would be even better!

The view from Kakani.