Qatar, Nepal, United Kingdom · 15 Days · 106 Moments · February 2017

Louise's and Chris's adventures in Nepal

5 March 2017

Finally made it back to Manchester, not exactly refreshed but better travelled and what an amazing experience we've had. Thank you for following our adventures I hope you've enjoyed them as much as we have. All there is to do now is relax with our fur babies before meeting the real world head on. Till next time Lou xx
Breakfast in the sky, the food on Qatar has been pretty good.
Last flight homeward bound we've had a blast but I'm ready for snuggling on the couch, log fire and seeing my furry babies now.

4 March 2017

We had a really long lay over - we landed in Qatar at 19:20 and were not due to fly out again until 07:10. We managed to find a bar but after purchasing 1 beer and 1 coke for just short of Β£11 we decided it was time to find somewhere to settle. We found what they call the quiet room with lounge type chairs, it was anything but quiet it sounded like the frogs chorus with everyone snoring although chris tells me I also joined in this sweet song. I woke around 4am so had managed around 6 hours sleep which wasn't too bad considering. Chris on the other had had played the good boyfriend and looked after me so something tells me he will be shattered by the time we land in Manchester tomorrow lunch.
As we landed in Qatar the lights were bright, it's a funny runway you almost feel as though you are going to land on the ocean before touching down.
Seemed the obligatory thing to do on a Saturday night; beer and curry! The food in all the flights had been really good up to now. The flight itself was a little bumpy and the seatbelt signs were switched on and off on many occasions although most of the people seemed to ignore this and walk around the cabin anyway. 2 people got out of their seats as we were landing and the cabin crew had to shout from their seats to tell them to sit back down!
The hotel had arranged us a taxi to the airport, thankfully the taxi was happy for one of the cases to have the front seat instead of having to go on the roof. The journey from the hotel was around 30 minutes across town. The airport itself was very minimal and busy and had few international airline carriers flying in and out. Once we took off the views were stunning of the mountains below, sadly we were sat in the wrong side of the plane to get a glimpse of Everest although I'm not sure you would have been able to see it the direction we were travelling. Nepal you've been amazing πŸ˜‰
Well the time had come that we needed to check out. I had to say farewell to my trusty IT luggage case. When we arrived in Nepal my front lock and been damaged in the airplane but since then the zip had failed and I couldn't risk my underwear floating round the carousel at Manchester. I had to say goodbye and buy something else to get me home. The holdall was one of the options I found it was massive in fact I had tested and I could be transported using this!! My old case has seen some adventures with me; we have done Florida on more than one occasion, South Africa, Poland, Alaska to name but a few. RIP IT Case - enjoy your new life in Nepal (the manager of the hotel was overjoyed and adamant he could get it repaired) I have a feeling my case will continue its travels on the roof of buses and taxis.
After breakfast we went for a stroll around Thamel which was the district of Kathmandu we were staying in. Coincidently I ensured we strolled in the direction of the French Bakery so I could top my good coffee levels up. The coffee was equally as good as the previous day, as it was so early but all the cakes had been put out for the day but the manager tells me they make different ones everyday. I refrained from indulging further!
Lots to see out and about this morning. We had seen a beautifully decorated carriage and what appeared to be a decorated wedding car with a procession of a band headed through the streets. I'm not sure if the car and the carriage were headed to the same event however the horses didn't seem too happy about it after their carriage wheel got stuck in the mud it brought the whole road to a stand still and they kept bucking and rearing up before eventually they were off and on their way again.
We woke next morning and decided to give the hotel breakfast another go. The food was nice but again quite cold and I am never going to get up as the food is put out, to test it at that point. Breakfast is served in the hotel courtyard which is lovely, there can still be a slight chill in the air until the sun comes up but it's lovely all the same.

3 March 2017

The gardens were even more beautiful as the sun set. Thousands of birds roosted in the trees as dusk was upon us. All the little lights came on to light up the ponds and fountains. I'm really glad we decided to visit the gardens and we spent some time there relaxing and eating our cakes purchased earlier at the French bakery. Apologies we ate them before remembering pics might have been nice if we go for coffee in the morning I will get you some pictures in fact that gives me a perfectly good reason to ensure I do. Following the garden we headed pack to the hotel where we planned to relax for the rest of the evening before some last minute shopping in the morning. Sweet dreams all x
We visited the Garden of Dreams which was located only 10 minutes walk from our hotel but did mean playing frogger across one of the main roads in Kathmandu. The garden of dreams is a small oasis in the middle of Kathmandu described in the guide books as one of the most serene and beautiful enclaves in Kathmandu, its 2 minutes walk yet feels a million miles from central Thamel which is the district our hotel is in. The garden was built in 1920's by field Marshall Kaiser Shamser who's palace the garden completes. He built the garden of dreams after a visit to several Edwardian estates in England. The gardens suffered neglect. It was brought back to to life over a 6 year period by an Austrian financed team and reopened to the public in 1996. The garden hosts 6 pavilions named after the six Nepali seasons only 3 of these now remain. Lawn mats are supplied to help you relax and you are advised to bring a good book to distract you from the amorous couples that visit the gardens.
The earthquake damage is prevalent as you walk around town. On April 25th 2015 a major earthquake hit Nepal killing over 9,000 people, injuring 22,000 and leaving 3.5 million people homeless. The earthquake also known as the Gorkha Earthquake as this was the district it hit measured 7.8 on the Richter Scale. The Gorkha district is one of 75 districts in Nepal and was the worst hit during the earthquake. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest killing 21 people making April 25th 2015 the deadliest day on the mountain in history. Up until 24th May 2016 459 aftershocks were recorded at 4 and above on the Richter scale. On the 12th May one aftershock measured 7.3 and killed 200 people injuring 2,500 more.
Cuteness alert!! As I was looking at one of the temples in the streets of Kathmandu I saw a movement in this huge pile of rubbish and sacks. This little dude had a good stretch and settled down to sleep again. Someone told me that there used to be a massive stray dog problem in Nepal 3 years ago, the government now neuter and give relevant vaccinations to the strays. We haven't seen many puppies whilst been here and most strays are chilled and live amongst the people. Although most look like they could do with a good bath and brush I haven't seen many who are showing ribs so the people of Nepal must be feeding them or they are finding enough food of their own on the streets .
The walking tour was 2km and started at the southwestern corner of Durbar square. We saw many temples and Stupas on our walk which ventured into an area less travelled by the tourist. The sights were interesting and plentiful from locals setting up their stalls for the day to people visiting their local places of worship to show their respects to their gods of choice. People are really friendly and often like to try and practice their English by speaking to you. I've not met a Nepalese person all holiday who hadn't heard of Manchester a lot of them asking City or United and being very disappointed when we said we didn't follow football.
Kathmandu was bustling this morning. We had decided to head to Durbar square (Durbar means palace). The city comes alive really early but seems to quieten much earlier than others, at around 9pm the shops close most restaurants and bars serve until 10pm. When we arrived at Durbar square it was 1000nrs to enter which is around Β£8 however if you are Nepali it's free and if you are Indian it's only 150nrs (Β£1.20). We decided not to bother and instead followed a walking tour of the south of Durbar square. We witnessed lots of people question the price some like us also decided not to both, the ticket guards were quite pushy and were even reluctant to allow you to walk on the outskirts of the square. Sadly 80% of the square was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake so we couldn't see the value in our 1000 rupee. The hotel travel guide had said he wouldn't recommend it, hopefully Nepal will see sense and reduce the cost to attract more tourists to the square.
We got up this morning and following my experience of breakfast in this hotel previously I decided we would go to Frens where we had our evening meal last night. Chris opted for a traditional Nepalese breakfast of veg chow mien I had a simple breakfast which consisted of 2 fried eggs, potatoes, 2 slices of toast, jam and a coffee it was perfect and set me up for the day!
Update on the eye swelling - thankfully it's gone down now I'm just left with a distinct mozzy bite, I hope some buggers squashed him!!

2 March 2017

We decided to venture out to find a pharmacy for the one blocked nostril and find food after our long day of travelling. The pharmacy were great although I did find out my tablets would of lasted me longer ink had stuck to the recommended dose of 1 3times a day and not 2 4 times a day no wander I was floating. (Nobody panic though I did check the ingredients online to see how much I could take in a day). They were that good I've stocked up to come home. We chose a restaurant close to the hotel so we didn't have far to go to get home. We had momos to start which are a traditional Tibetan food widely eaten in Nepal. Chris enjoyed veg whilst I had buffalo my favourite variety. Buffalo is widely eaten here as the cow is sacred to the Hindu religion. For main course I had chicken chow mien and Chris had a paneer curry with cumin rice- he really enjoyed it. It wasn't too late before we were ready for bed and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
We arrived back at our first hotel the Taleju Boutique hotel. I decided to pull a diva strop when the manager regretfully informed us he only had a twin room! I had spent the last 4 nights sleeping if on a hardwood no mattress bed I was refusing to fall out of a single every time I rolled over. I reminded the manager I had booked last year and he decided to upgrade us so the girl did well. The room was lovely and I couldn't wait to sleep on a nice soft mattress again although my back had felt surprisingly good for sleeping on a hardboard.
The journey over the mountain road was nearly 9 hours which is 5/6 in Nepali time, but we soon realised when we were back in the madness of Kathmandu. It doesn't take long for the constant horns to become a non existent noise. I'm glad we didn't stay here for the duration of our holiday it's so chaotic it's hard to describe, it is however a very interesting and intriguing place with all its nooks and crannies. One minute you are in the madness and the next you find yourself in a courtyard complete with Stupa or temple and people relaxing in the heat of the sun.
So here we are back at the bus station in Sauraha ready for our last bus trip headed for Kathmandu. We have managed to get the same bus and crew as our last journey from Pokhara which means we have Nigel Mansell driving a smart car at the wheel again which is somewhat disconcerting. I manage to realise it could of been worse as I look out of the window to see all the cases being loaded on the top of the bus next to us. There would be no way our cases would get back with this nut job at the wheel so we are thankful they are loaded inside the bus. The bus journeys have been really good value ranging from Β£6 and Β£12 this included a bottle of water and a fan. The bus journeys are pretty brutal though they are long, laborious, extremely bumpy, and like driving up a road with major pot holes constantly. The buses actually hand out sick bags as part of their routine. I can't imagine what the roads must be like in monsoon season considering they are only mud and clay.
So today to add to my single blocked nostril despite being lathered in deet a bloody mosquito managed to bite my eyelid!! Can you believe it my eyelid either that or Chris has given me a swift elbow in the night if I couldn't see the bite he would have received the blame for sure.
Last glimpse of the village as we head to the bus park this morning for a long bumpy ride to Kathmandu. I asked the hotel manager how long the journey would be he said maybe six hour but if you hit traffic who knows! I read in the guide books not to depend on anything especially transport in Nepal at least we have a 2 day buffer before we have to start catching planes.

1 March 2017

Before heading back to the hotel we stopped by The river park pub to say goodbye to Bidur and his friends. This is where we had spent the night round the fire and got locked out of our hotel! We kept and eye on the time to ensure this wouldn't happen again although I think we were both more conscious of been chased by a Rhino or mauled by a tiger I think our jungle adventure days may be over. It was a lovely evening no fire tonight so we were covered in deet but the firefly were out and dancing for us. Perfect!
I saw this and thought it very apt, one thing I can say about Nepal is the people are amazing!! Everyone we have met has welcomed us so warmly. I would definitely come back and I'm pretty sure the people we have met would remember us.
So my day panned out pretty much as I expected I found a great place to chill, I drank lemon and honey tea which was lovely and I'm sure very good for my one blocked nostril! I stayed in the same hotel chilling all day right until sunset. We then made tracks back towards the hotel, since our Safari adventure we have both been quite jumpy I jumped a mile in the afternoon when one of the ladies dropped her washing basket in the hotel grounds I thought and elephant was coming to get us lol.
Woke this morning with one blocked nostril yes just the one so I'm half ok!! We are planning having a lazy day today involving reading, possibly a beer or 2 and lazing in the beautiful sunshine, it's great for me but not so good for your blog fix sorry guys. Louise x🌞🌞 p.s you will be pleased to know the water doesn't contain arsenic so it's all good!

28 February 2017

We were lucky and only just managed to make the boat by seconds, the little boat man was just chaining his boats for the evening. I'm not sure what they were shouting to one another across the river but my guess is the boatman was't pleased we were so late out of the jungle. No one is permitted to enter the jungle after dusk the only people there are the soldiers who live there within their high fenced barracks hopefully safe from the prowling wild animals. I had a great day but looking back and since reading about incidents that have happened in the park I'm not sure I would do it again. We certainly chose the safest way to see the jungle but I'm sure in years to come this will change and guides may be armed and I'm damn sure walking in the jungle will be forbidden the Incidents are endless and often fatal.
We ended our day continuing to search for the Bengal Tiger, we sat in the grasslands hoping one would show its face. It had been an exciting day but as the sun started to descend I wandered if we could end up tiger prey as this was the perfect time for them to be hunting their next meal. Let's hope they preferred spicy meat and would leave the Brits alone. We chose this spot as the guide heard the noise of the tiger in the distance. I later learnt it was Chris' stomach whilst smelling the tiger pee on the tree and he was to embarrassed to tell the guides πŸ˜‚ We stayed as long as we possibly could, all the other jeeps filled with tourists seem to have long since passed us and we were alone in the jungle at dusk.
All 3 of our guides were in panic mode and 1 had even climbed a tree to see if he could see which way the elephant had headed. Thankfully and very lucky for us the elephant had veered off to the right and across the jungle. Our guide had recognised the elephant as Turbei; named after the first human he killed, according to the guide he had since then killed up to 20 more people both in the park and also in the villages. It had never occurred to me previously that the elephant and probably Rhinos could cross the river without problem. We had a close shave but luckily I am here to tell you the tale!
Not long after lunch we turned back on ourselves and headed back towards the tiger prints in the hope we would get a glimpse before the day as out. When spotting an animal our guide would tap a stone on the metal work of the chairs to alert the driver to stop. We had crossed the watering hole and turned a corner and the guide ferocious and with urgency started hitting his stone as a sign to the driver to stop. They were shouting at each other in Nepalese and I could clearly make out the panic in their voices. Up ahead was a wild elephant headed directly into our path. The elephant was the biggest I had ever laid eyes on and his tusks appeared to be as long as his trunk. According to our guide an elephant could easily outrun a truck and if it chose to charge the chances of survival were slim. The driver shifted the truck into reverse and headed back around a corner at what felt like full speed out of view of the elephant.
We stopped along side the river Rapti to enjoy our lunch of chicken and friend rice. The sun was now hot and after 4/5 hours scouting the jungle for animals we were all more than ready to rest for a while. Whilst we were enjoying the midday sun we heard a loud noise from the jungle our guide, spotter and driver were all up and looking to see what was headed our way, thankfully it was just a cheeky monkey swinging from the trees.
The one horned Rhino also known as the Indian Rhino is most prevalent in the Chitwan National Park, it is estimated that there are around 700 in Nepal and India. 600 of these live within the Chitwan National Park. I have added a reference shot of what a one horned Rhino looks like. The one horned Rhino is giant second only to an elephant and weighs in around 2 - 2.5 tonnes. Rhinos are generally solitary animals except when mating or nursing their young. Whilst looking after their young they could become dangerous and charge and yet again we had timed it perfectly lots of protective Rhino mothers in the park for us to meet with. The 2nd pic is Rhino poo - rhinos always poop in the same place I found this fact fascinating!
During our day in the jungle we saw a whole host of animals, my pictures aren't great being only an iPhone photographer; you will have to make do with me telling you rather than professional glossy images and being selfish I spent most of the day with my eyes pressed firmly to my binoculars taking in the sights. We saw eagles, kingfishers, lizards, one horned rhinos, elephant bull, leopards, sloth bears, samba deer, hog deer, monkeys, mugger crocodiles and wild pigs to name a few I'm sure there are others I have forgotten. In total the national park has 68 species of mammals, 543 species of birds.
We were on the right track for the tiger and even managed to spot some freshly laid tracks, Chris was lucky enough to smell tiger pee! Thankfully I was never invited to; I've smelt enough pee In Nepal to last me a lifetime in the squat non flushable toilets. The Bengal Tiger is a protected species, around 120 live in the Chitwan National Park. Chitwan is said to be one of the best habitats in the world for the tiger so we were keeping everything crossed for a viewing of the elusive super cat! We searched the grasslands and visited tower where we relaxed scanning the horizons in hopes of a glimpse.
We met our driver and purchased our pass into the park, everyone who enters the park has to have one of these and the money is divided into supporting the local Sauraha village and the National Park and its upkeep. The terrains differed from grass lands to swaps, sandy roads to stoney pathways and sometimes jungle vines, I really did feel like India jones or that I had entered Jurassic Park. It was going to be like trying to find a needle in a haystack looking for the Bengal tiger in here.
We woke early in preparation for a full days jeep Safari in the Chitwan National Park. In order to get into the National Park we had to cross the Crocodile infested Rapti river in a dug out canoe. We were accompanied by our guide and a spotter who would help spot the wild animals from the back of our jeep. Our driver was already in the national park and would be waiting for us a short walk away after crossing the river. We were excited but also a little anxious what we were about to see was not animals in a reserve or Safari park, but wild animals in their own habitat protecting their young and territories. The most worrying thing was the guide carried only a stick no gun or tranquilliser if anything was to go wrong we were on our own. The vehicles are all tracked in the park which is run by the military to protect it from poachers and you could call for help if needed but I'm not sure they would reach you in time for a charging rhino or stampeding elephant.

27 February 2017

We ate at a restaurant called KC's in the centre of the town. The food was great apart from everything arriving together which in Nepal is a miracle in itself. I enjoyed an extra strong Mojito and again had to buy a soft drink to water it down. Every cocktail I've had so far in Nepal I've had to do this I reckon their measure is much bigger than mine! The Waiter lit some incense and candles on the table to keep the mosquitoes at bay which really helped. The kitchen was well staffed and open plan which was great as you could see your meal prepared. The restaurant was lovely and had beautiful gardens which would be lovely to visit during the day but I'm not willing to risk being eaten by sitting there at night so we did opt for a table inside.
Following my swim and a couple of hours reading my book we headed back to the river side to watch the sunset again. It wasn't as clear as the night before but was still beautiful and once again started the evening ritual of mosquito dodging so we set off to find cover reminding ourselves of our 10pm curfew πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
We chose the hotel as it had a pool, the weather is generally between 25 and 30c at the hottest part of the day. On an evening however it can drop as low as 10, as a result the pool is freezing but I refused not to use it for the reason and as you can see none of the other guests wanted to play resulting in a swimming pool all to myself. The locals are still wearing thick coats and hats however the mid day sun to us here would be BBQ weather at home it's lovely.
Following our close encounter with the elephants we found a roof top garden to enjoy the sunshine. Some of us enjoyed it a little too much and are currently sporting a great colour of lobster pink!! This is the view of Sauraha village which is the location we are staying close to Chitwan National Park.
The guide from the hotel took us down to see the elephants bathing. It was lovely to see them looking so natural and they really seemed to enjoy their bath. I didn't like that they let tourists sit on their backs for 200 rupee and have water sprayed at them. I also felt some of the keepers were a little heavy handed although I'm no elephant trainer so it's difficult for me to comment. They are however amazing animals but we need to remember they are wild and in my opinion should stay that way.
Following breakfast whilst relaxing in the garden these guys passed the hotel entrance on their way to their favourite bathing spot on the river. Apparently they do this daily, I've never seen so many elephants wandering around town as I have here. It now feels normal but if this happened at home I would still run a mile!
After our late night of beer and the contemplation of scaling the hotel fence we had a lie in and planned a relaxing day. When we headed across the hotel gardens the guy from the restaurant came running out and set us a table up in the middle of the garden it was lovely. Once I had taken part in a yet another photo shoot and once the package tour people had left on their tours it was really peaceful. I dread to think how many holiday albums and mantelpieces I could end up on across India and Nepal.
The bar we went into last night had this cute little bunny as a pet. We were checking out the menu together it was so cute and really calm for a rabbit this tiny.

26 February 2017

On our way to the bar we (or should I say I) were followed by this little dude, he followed us all the way into the bar and when we were given cushions on the seats he clambered over 4 or 5 chairs to secure the chair next to mine which of course had been intended for Chris. He stayed with me most of the night and even barked to fend something off he heard in the distance. When we left and headed up the road back to the hotel he followed, we had been locked out and missed our curfew which we have since learnt is 10pm. Some local guys were passing and stopped to help us bang on the gate and shout whilst I shone my torch into the reception window. My last resort was to jump the fence luckily before I started scaling the wall in a lady like fashion someone came to let us in and in followed my new friend. He followed me all the way to our room and seemed rather offended when I didn't let him in but he laid behind the door and slept. He had gone again this morning I hope to see him later.
We found a lovely bar not far from the hotel who were more than happy to light a fire to save our white skin from being lunch to a thousand flies. We ordered some food and they joined us around the fire where we laughed and chatted late into the night. The bar was situated on the side of the river and using my torch we were scanning the horizon and the edge of the forest looking for animal eyes when we spotted a poacher out on the river fishing. It's illegal to fish the river due to toe crocodiles as one of the breeds that lives here only eats fish so they want to ensure there's enough food for them. The boys from the bar Bidur and his friends thought it funny to use my torches flashing function to blind the poacher and make him think it was the police I do hope he didn't scarper into the jungle and find himself Tiger snacks.
The flies were unbearable and we felt as though we were being eaten alive despite the thick layer of skin so soft, I think I might have to lather in deet to make sure I come home with all my limbs in tact. We headed out of the hotel in search of a fire pit to keep the flies at bay.
So as the sun went down out came the flies in their hundreds. Whilst in Pokhara I had been buying my beer from a little shop opposite the hotel. (This was the Yorkshire coming out in me I could buy 2 beers for the price of 1 in the hotel) In fact I think I had become one of her favoured customers despite her doing my laundry and dying my white underwear, pjs and white t-shirts a lovely tinge of blue πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Anyway this is the only hotel we have stayed in without a fridge in the room, as I had 2 bottles of beer I had travelled with I sauntered into the hotel bar and in my best Nepalese asked them how they were and smiled asking if I could exchange my warm for cold, he then sat us down gave us glasses and even took our pictures this would just never happen in Manchester. My Nepalese is coming along nicely they even helped me with a few more statements I can now introduce myself explain where I am from and then wish good day and let them know I will be back tomorrow.
Meet Pinky who lives across from the hotel with her owners. Pinky is 24 years old and came to Nepal from India, she was quite a cheeky girl and kept trying to pinch people's cameras whilst they were taking pictures. I don't entirely agree with keeping wild animals as pets however I guess every culture is different and I'm certainly not here to judge or ridicule but to learn.
Seeing elephants trudging through the town isn't unusual, neither is the sight of their poop in the road which could be considered a trip hazard considering its size! Maybe I could start a business selling elephant poop bags for their keepers 😊
We found a lovely spot at the side of the river to enjoy the sunset. The sun was massive and it moved down very quickly. The people who are crossing the river on boats are returning from Safari within the national park. The National Park was established in 1973 and in 2011 a decision to not renew the hotel leases inside the National Park was made so now all hotels are external to the park to try and maintain the habitats for the animals who live here which includes, the white horned rhino, elephants, bears, deer, monkeys and the Bengal tiger all of which I hope to see whilst on our Safari.
I was mesmerised by this little boy and how big his bag was compared to him. I have noticed everywhere we have been in Nepal the children all look well turned out for school, these children were dropped off by this bus so I'm not sure how far they travel on a daily basis to get to and know on school. The school day here in Nepal is 10am - 4pm and it must of being around 5pm/5:30pm when we saw them which would suggest school was a journey away.
It's a very traditional place although you can see the effect tourism has had as a lot of the shops are geared towards westerners and souvenirs. Whilst out and about we saw a whole host of different things and different methods of transport.
We were invited by the hotel to go on a walking tour of the town before watching the sun set on the river overlooking the National Park. Our first stop was a traditional village of the Tharu people who have lived in this part of Nepal for centuries. Up until only recently the national park or jungle spread throughout most of this area, whilst the people had plenty to live on the jungle made life difficult and malaria was high in this region. They are now malaria free but said it was once courted by eating chilli and drinking alcohol so I plan to keep my levels up whilst here just to be in the safe side. The houses are traditionally built using mud and reeds taken from the jungle, food is prepared over an open fire in the house itself. The Chitwan National Park supports the village and 50% of the money paid by people like me to enter the national park goes back to the villages so they are very welcoming and happy to help.
We have finally arrived at our hotel The Jungle World Resort. The gardens are stunning and you can hear nothing but the chirp chirp of the birds. The room is basic but clean I did do a slight diva and checked out the other empty rooms before choosing the one I wanted as I wasn't overly pleased with the first we were allocated but the hotel were great about it. I hope Chris sleeps ok though as these beds are a bit harder than the ones in the room type we were first allocated. We are overlooking the pool which judging from the noises I have heard when people get in is cold but I'm sure I will give it a whirl whilst I'm here. The sun is hot although we are a little overcast today I'm sure I would dry quickly. Been here about 2hrs now and already booked a day long Safari I'm hoping we see the Bengal Tiger so my relaxation plan is coming together nicely.
On the way to the hotel we passed some interesting wheels.
When we arrived at the coach park people started to flock towards the bus as we pulled in, you may recall earlier I mentioned in Pokhara we were hounded and Chris's case was thrown on the top of a taxi roof and away we went. Well what a difference 90 miles makes, these guys had a really civilised system each in turn politely shouted their hotel names before a little voice from the back said and 'I have a taxi'! They stood on the curb side not coming any closer it was really weird and I had prepared myself to fend them off again. Despite not responding to an email we had sent to the hotel yesterday they were waiting for us with a Chris and Louise sign. There were 2 of them our previous hotel must have called ahead an warned them about the weight of our cases.
This little chap was having a good old standoff with this lizard at one of the stops we made. It reminded me of the time Trixie met a frog in the garden!! Chris has a great little video of this but sadly I can't post video here.
The journey was uncomfortable and bumpy!! We travelled around 90miles from Pokhara and it took us around 6 hours. The roads were so bumpy which made the journey arduous and Chris compared his leg room with the flight from Manchester to Qatar. We stopped a couple of times along the way which broke the journey up a little. Thankfully it wasn't as long as our last bus trip and we only have around the same to do to to get back to Kathmandu in a few days time.
We were up early this morning to catch the bus to Chitwan National Park in the South of Nepal close to the Indian boarder. Chris keeps telling me this is my relaxation time but I have a list as long as my arm of things I would like to see and do, maybe I will have to sneak off whilst he is chillingπŸ‘ (Don't worry Mum I'm only joking) 😘

25 February 2017

We headed back to the hotel and were on a strict time line as I had arranged a little something with the hotel. Ram was meeting us and we were going to share some Western food with him as he had shown us the way with the local food whilst in Pokhara. The hotel had helped me to arrange a cake for Chris but then insisted on it being on the house as a birthday treat, I had travelled all this way with a bottle of fizz for Chris to enjoy on the day courtesy of Mum, the fizz is Chris' favourite as it's sweet and doesn't require added lemonade! The scarfs is a blessing and a good Luck symbol traditional in Nepal, Ram had brought one for Chris and said some words as he put it around his neck and the hotel followed suit. Following our bottle and a slice of cake we headed to cafe couture where we enjoyed bruschetta and pizza before heading home for an early night in preparation for our early start and bus ride to Chitwan National Park. Overall I think the boy had enjoyed his day 😊
Our next stop was the bar at the far side of the lake, whilst getting on the boat at the last stop I had positioned myself sat on the end like I had seen the locals doing and had really found my rhythm. When we landed we had 2 choices we could either walk up to the top of the hill to the posh hotel or relax in the sun at the shack - we took option 2 and had a fantastic time chatting to people as the passed along with the locals. This little pooch came and sat with me I have been like the dog whisperer this holiday, the strays seem to enjoy human company and just come and sit at your feet they don't pester you at all. We then decided it was time to head on and on checking my watch we had 20 minutes to get the boat back to its home - I have never paddled so fast in my life maybe the lager helped, we certainly had more Dutch courage as I pushed the boat out to the lake and jumped in at the last minute. The birthday boy had had a lovely day and still had the promise of pizza to come.
We managed to secure our boat and we were once again on dry land. The temple was a Hindu temple and people were walking around the temple ringing bells it sounded lovely. The only downside for me was that they had been feeding the birds and there were pigeons everywhere I'm not a big fan of pigeons and even less of a fan of the smell of their poop!! Chris went and explored the temple and played his best rendition of the final countdown on the bells. As you walked to the side of the island and looked over into the lake you could see hundreds of fish swimming around the lake it was amazing. You could see how deep the lake was here and how quickly from the edge of the island it dropped away into nothingness, the maximum depth of the lake was 19 meters!! We managed to get into our boat again and untether it from the wall we had somehow got ourself stuck but thankfully a boat man waiting for his passengers was happy to help or that could of been the end of our 4 hour boat hire.
So as requested by the birthday boy we hired a boat for half day so we could explore the lake and relax a little. The boat was a rowing boat that if not balanced correct was rather uneven and rickety, this caused much amusement for me until Chris reminded me his camera was on board and i imagined a month of working for free to replace a camera lost at the bottom of the lake not to mention the sulks I would get for the remainder of the holiday. So although tipping the boat over appeared like a fun thing to do I thought better of it!! Chris requested cake so cake he got whilst on the lake. The boat was great but we were not very good at rowing in we spent the first 30 minutes going in circles and the other boats laughing at us.The closest stop to the boat hire was a temple on an island on the lake. It took us a good hour to get here πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚it's just as well we booked the boat for 4 hrs!
So today is the boys birthday, we did cards and a couple of pressies this morning before going downstairs for breakfast.

24 February 2017

Following a little bit of relaxation time we headed out to find out how the locals celebrated Shiva Ratri! The hotel sounded like it was having a party and playing loud traditional music the garden was full of people dancing. We had heard about fires and sugar cane but we were a little unsure how the 2 things came together. We found an excellent spot sat in a bar opposite one of these fires. What happens is you put a sugar cane inside the fire and leave it for a few minutes, when the end is glowing you take it out of the fire and hit it on the floor and it makes an explosion like a firework. When you have finished or the cane is too short to try again you can eat the sugar cane. It had the texture like liquorice root but it was of course very sweet. We were invited to come and sit around the fire and drink beer so we ended our evening looking at the bar we had started in. The people here are very warm and welcoming we had a fantastic time.
We then Stopped in the restaurant next door to the hotel and ate chow mien it was lovely and well deserved after another long day!
These pictures were taken inside the mountaineering museum and are inside a replica of a Sherpas house. Prior to taking someone on a climb to a peak they say prayers in this room to keep them safe. The colour was amazing and there was so much to look at.
We then visited the mountaineering museum which was really interesting. One of the exhibitions compared the people who live in The Himalayas today to the people who lived in the Alps 50 years ago. The similarities were uncanny. There were facts and figures surrounding some of the largest mountains in the world. 8 of the highest peaks in the world are located here in Nepal! Chris made friends with a Yeti and I scaled a mountain before coming back down on my bum, thankfully I only have the evidence of this as video so I am unable to share on here πŸ˜‚
Following my 15 minutes of fame we crossed the road to visit the Gupteshwor Mahadev Caves due to the festival it was extremely busy as people were worshipping Shiva. The place was really vibrant with colour and people were dancing and music playing it was fantastic to see.
Thankfully for the locals who had travelled from all over Nepal to celebrate Shiva Rati I was able to take the disappointment away from the waterfall. Some of the guys had never seen a white person and they were mesmerised with us. Whilst Chris was busy taking photos I had a queue of people forming for photographs if only I'd of charged it would of been a free night out!
We then travelled down the hill to visit Devis falls. We are currently in the dry season and Nepal gets 90% of its annual rainfall in 3 months of the year. I imagine in the wet season it would have been much more spectacular.
Following a lovely breakfast we walked the rest of the way up the hill to the Peace Pagoda a Buddhist Stupa at the top of the hill. We can see this Stupa from our hotel room balcony. It was another beautiful day and the Stupa was busy for to the public holiday Shiva Ratri, one of the biggest festivals on the Hindu calendar.
Breakfast with a view! Stunning although I was the only one who ate breakfast everyone else must have been up earlier than me and had already eaten. Their loss πŸ‘

23 February 2017

We were taken back to Pokhara. In Nepal cars are expensive and many people don't have them. Some i of the people from the village had to get to the town, at one point we had 5 people on the roof, 3 in the back and Chris and I, Ram our guide and the driver all inside the vehicle. Chris was quite eager to sit on the roof Ram our guide was not so keen so we managed to distract him from this idea.
We eventually reached Ghalel school all the children were waiting for us, we were given an official welcome and blessing complete with marigold necklace and Hindu paint. Each child had a flower for us it was so overwhelming. We were shown around the school and the teachers spoke to us about their school. Schooling in Nepal isn't compulsory, there are 120 students at Ghalel school and 10 teachers, the children are nursery age up to grade 8 which is around 11 then they go into a second school which is more than an hours walk from the village. Many of the children only get the first school education before working the fields with their families. All the children were polite and appeared so well behaved, the classrooms were basic and were simple stone buildings which in the winter had no heating. It's an experience that will stay with me for a long time it really makes you put things into perspective.
We stopped along the way to see a waterfall and here are a handful of other pictures I took on our journey.
We then headed up to the Ghalel mountain village nestled on a mountainside. The journey in terms of miles wasn't very far but the terrain was challenging the roads steep, dusty single track roads clinging to the mountainside. We were taken by jeep many of the roads were through rivers I couldn't imaging having to do this journey just to get to the city. Some of the people who live in Ghalel will never leave the village to see the the town. The journey took us around 2 hours it was a very uncomfortable bouncy ride!
Following the sunrise we headed right to the top of Sarangkot mountain to do the zip flyer said to be the Highest, fastest and longest Zip line in the world. It had a 2000 meter drop was 1800 meters long (over a mile) and did speeds of up to 120kph. When I first got to the top and realised how high we were I couldn't believe the mess I had gotten us into. Why did I have these great ideas? However we both did it and loved it and breakfast was waiting for us down the mountain.
Toilet with a view it certainly won't win any awards but it had a beautiful view. Most of the public toilets in Nepal are squat toilets and on a hill side like this don't tend to have a flush facility, tissue is a western thing so is an essential friend to have to hand. The hotel toilets are perfect as are most of the other places geared towards tourists. If you were to select where you ate based on the toilet facilities it would work wonders for my diet😝
Wow what a sunrise! So we were collected by taxi from the hotel at 5am to drive up Sarangkot mountain to see the sunrise. Slight confusion first thing, I had nipped back to the room to collect something by the time I got back there were 2 taxi's and yes you've guessed it we got in the wrong one! We were dropped off in the middle of nowhere thankfully Ram who was looking after us came out on his motorbike to rescue us and wait for the right taxi to come back for us, who knows where we might have ended up? The mountain was busy it's a regular tourist spot to see the sunrise it was stunning but not as stunning as the view that appeared before us as the sun slowly came over the mountain tops it was well worth the early start.

22 February 2017

Lovely relaxing day today we had a nice wander on the lakeside before finding somewhere for a lovely massage. The pictures show the gardens and each little hut was a massage cottage. I booked an hour long all over body Nepalese massage, the lady was very through she even included a bottom massage and at one point even straddled me whilst massaging my back, I really enjoyed it though feeling very relaxed now. We finished our evening with momos (traditional Tibetan dumplings) in a local Tibetan restaurant. The food wasn't too bad it was family run and the children were playing in the restaurant. Tomorrow we are getting picked up at 5am to go and watch the sunrise over the Annapurna mountains before zip lining to the bottom, we are then going to experience life in a traditional Nepalese village we can't wait.
Lovely breakfast, Chris opted for the Indian option and I was made fresh scrambled eggs with toast. I actually think when it comes to the food he is the most adventurous of the 2 whilst on holiday. I am happy to try but maybe it's the Yorkshire but I would be gutted if I bought a meal I didn't like what a waste! I finished my brekkie with toast and jam, mango juice and 2 hot coffees it's the best breakfast I've had since arriving In Nepal.

21 February 2017

In the evening I found us a lovely restaurant on the lakeside Caffe Couture it was an Italian restaurant and knowing the boy would be having Pizza withdrawal by now. I chose the restaurant as it was close but also had an inside fire pit which I thought would be great for the cold evenings.
The hotel was lovely The White Pearl, we were given a 5th floor room with views in the distance of the lake. I was looking forward to settling for a few days in the same place.
The journey was long and bumpy so much so my Fitbit (step tracker) registered that whilst on the bus I done 11,000 steps and climbed 174 flights of stairs I was awarded a couple of badges, at least the journey had some benefits. I have to admit when realising I was only 1 flight of stairs off the next badge I climbed an extra flight in the hotel whilst wearing my pjs lol, the only way my tracker would achieve this many in a day is if I attached it to one of the trekkers backpacks. We arrived at the bus station in Pokhara which was complete madness, I had read about this. There's loads of hotel touts trying to get you to stay in their hotel of course we were already booked and sorted, once we made this clear we were left alone. We were ushered into a tiny taxi and Chris' suitcase thrown on the roof I think we spent the whole 5/10 minute journey checking that his case had stayed put. My case was in the boot, i reassured Chris I had packed enough underwear for the both of us πŸ˜‰
We stopped a couple of times along the way, the toilets were interesting I soon discovered if I waited for the commode it would be a toilet as we know it although it would have no seat, unlikely to be plumbed in and you would still want to practice the hover...... I will have thighs of steel by the time I get home. I am very smug at my pocket sized tissues too hoping they last the fortnight!!
The sights we saw whilst on our journey were varied and interesting. It took us 3 hours to travel the first 9 miles resulting in an overall 10 hour day! It wasn't the most pleasant journey I have ever done but there were lots to see along the way.
As we were setting off early we missed breakfast so this is how my coffee was made by a street food vendor, I reckon I could make a packet doing this in Manchester.
We were up with the birds this morning to start our journey to Pokhara. Pokhara is located to the west of Kathmandu we were expecting a 6/7 hour drive through the Himalayas complete with stops. We had booked the bus through the hotel who advised us to go mid range rather than budget or luxury costing us around Β£15 each. Kathmandu is around 160 miles from Pokhara but the roads can make this journey longer than we might think.

20 February 2017

We eventually found our way back to the hotel after been dropped off nearby by a taxi driver. Throughout the whole day we traveled 8.8 miles and doing nearly 22,000 steps. We found a beautiful restaurant called Rosemary's where we enjoyed a lovely meal. We shared momos to start, they are traditional Nepalese dumplings lovely. I had the spinach, mushroom and mozzarella stuffed chicken and Chris had a tomato and Rosemary pasta. We found our way home through the weaving streets with the help of our head torches.
Next we went to visit Swayambhunath also known as the Monkey Temple. This was located the opposite side of the city meant a 30 minute journey by taxi through rush hour traffic. Swayambhunath is also an unesco heritage site and is a place of worship for Buddhists. Swayambhunath is located high on a hill overlooking Kathmandu and is often a place to visit for sunrise and sunset unfortunately we slept through the first so had to make do with the second.
When we arrived at Pashupatinath Temple which is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the world we were quickly followed by a guide who insisted on showing us round. Hindus from all over the world come here to die, it is said that regardless of any wrongdoings in your life if you die at the Pashupatinath temple and are cremated on the banks of the bagmati you will be reborn a human in your next life. The prices for this start at 20,000 rupee which is approximately Β£160. The bagmati river is said to reach the Ganges in India We were lucky to see the start of a cremation. The body is set on fire at the mouth as this is how life starts with the first breath, the body is then covered in Straw and depending on size the average body takes around 3 hours to cremate fully before the ashes are brushed into river and the person starts on their journey to their next life.
Following breakfast and arranging our travel for the next day we headed out to pashupatinath temple which is a UNESCO heritage site based in Kathmandu known as the Hindu golden temple. Kathmandu has an array of smells,sights and surprises. The streets were weaved and every available part was filled with shops and produce. My eyes are going to be tired after this adventure there's so much to see. My biggest concern is the lack of pavements and been so intertwined and weaving it's a battle of wills between the pedestrians and the huge amount of scooter users. Chris described it as been a bee in a swarm and I don't think he's far wrong!
We were hoping to wake early and catch the sunrise at swayambhunath (monkey temple), we did wake at around 3:30am but managed to go back to sleep when we woke naturally at around 9am way past sunrise so we would have to settle for sunset today. The pictures you can see is the garden area of the hotel including the tortoise I was convinced was real from the room window. Breakfast was different and unfortunately cold. Breakfast was serve 7am till 11am so maybe been the latter end of this result in cold food.

19 February 2017

So we finally arrived at the hotel following nearly 24 hours travelling. Most of the journey was good, the flight from Manchester to Qatar was the most cramped I have ever felt on a plane which was surprising for a Dreamliner, when we checked they had somehow managed to put 40 more seats than the Thompson's Dreamliner to Florida. When we left the airport it was chaos there were bikes, vans, taxis and mini buses everywhere someone helped us find our driver but were highly disappointed when we had no money for tips! The journey from the airport was around 25 minutes and wasn't as hairy as I was expecting although there is no road markings, give way rules or driving etiquette from what I could fathom. You basically drive and hope everyone else gets out of your way. The hotel is lovely we are quite happy with our choice and was a welcome haven from the hustle and bustle of the Kathmandu streets.
Yeah we made it!! The landing was the strangest I've ever experienced, the world beneath the plane was black and where there were lights they werespiradic and very dim.
The flight from Doha to Kathmandu was much more pleasant than the manchester to Doha leg, you actually had some room to move. I thought it was great when it was going to be a Dreamliner little did I know that this Dreamliner would have 40 extra seats than the last one I went on it's just greedy!
Boarding the plane for the final leg of our journey it will be dark by the time we arrive in Kathmandu so we will have to wait until tomorrow to see the views. The hotel we are staying in has a roof top Terrance so we should get a glimpse of the city tonight.
This was a spaghetti tree that was at Doha airport they obviously haven't realised it's an April fools
Drinking mint and lime juice in the bar, lovely and refreshing
Breakfast is served at 41 thousand feet. I nearly managed to get 2 after telling Chris the egg looked like sweet corn ha ha. The flight was cramped and uncomfortable but we have landed safely in Doha awaiting our next flight at midday Doha time 3 hours ahead to Kathmandu.
We arrived just as the sun was coming up In Doha 12c at 7am I might be able to address my white legs later.