Saturday, 21 February 2009

"We came to Nepal to walk not to get a taxi"

After our six hour journey from Kathmandu we arrived at Pokhara bus station to be greeted by a hoard of hotel reps and taxi drivers.

Our response to the hotels reps was: "We have a reservation at New Future Way Guest House." We didn't at all, but we knew that it would get them off our backs. And it did.

To evade the taxi drivers came the line: "We came to Nepal to walk not to get a taxi." This line was suprisingly successful. Most people do come to Nepal to trek, so it was fine.

I say most people come to Nepal to trek. We didn't. We came to Nepal to escape the hectic world of India and to see the beautiful landscapes.

Yesterday, however, we did decide to go for a trek. A trek by ourselves with our (not so trusty) Lonely Planet.

The World Peace Pagoda was situated atop one of the many mountains that surrounds Phewa Tal, the lake in the centre of Pokhara. And it was this mountain that we decided to climb.

LP offered three routes, the quicky which involved taking a bus most of the way, the hour trek which involved taking a boat from the lake, and the scenic route through padi fields which would take about 2 hours. In the chilled out mindset of Nepal we decided to take the scenic route.

The first part of the journey which followed roads was easy, but as we crossed the dam into the wild the single path that was marked on our LP map was nowhere to be seen.

In true Duke of Edinburgh stylie I was armed with a compass. Quite possibly the most useful thing in the world.

Sticking to the compass, we headed West and up the hillside.

We trekked along padi fields, through woods, and through local villages.

Helpfully, the Peace Pagoda was not actually marked on the map, it simply went off the page with an arrow saying 500km west.

After 90 minutes we figured we might be in sight of the pagoda. But we couldn't see it anywhere.

We trudged on further keeping West. We bumped into villagers on our walk and they told us to keep going West, so West we went.

By the time we had been walking for 3 hours it was midday and we had still not reached our destination - some two hour scenic route this had turned out to be!

The heat was a real struggle and as we sat in the shade some tourists passed us. We asked them how much further it was and they reckoned it was thirty minutes.

45 minutes later we arrived. We were at the peak of the mountain and could see the spectacular lake and the impressive temple.

4 hours altogether.

Emma and I are not particularly fit, nor are we particularly unfit. We are just average I guess. But we were knackered after this trek and were happy to delve into our picnic of jam sandwiches and crisps as we enjoyed the view that had been so painful to reach.

Once again, the Lonely Planet Guide to Nepal is useless.

We are going on another trek tomorrow, but will be leaving at 5.30am so we reach the summit of Sarangkot before noon. We will be taking our trusted compass again, but might leave the Lonely Planet behind.

1 comment:

  1. wow sounds amazing!!! but why are you eating jam sandwiches in India?!?!?!is my question?xxxx