Europe, Asia · 52 Days · 43 Moments · February 2019

Nepal Annapurna trek

12 April 2019

Up at 6 to get to the airport for 9.20 flight only to receive a text as I arrived at the airport to say it was delayed - then it was further delayed eventually leaving at midday. I passed the time catching up.on parkrun podcasts until my 90 minutes free WiFi at the airport ran out. On the plane I had my last glimpse of the Himalayas. Of course this delay meant I had missed my connection in Dubai so I was given a hotel until my 2.30am flight. Messaged Phil Banks who collected me and took me to Dubai Mall where we saw the Burge Khalifa fountain and light show. He then treated me to a burger - thanks Phil. Back to the hotel for a couple of hours before leaving for the airport. Can't wait to get home now.

11 April 2019

Today was my last day in Kathmandu. With Tony we started at Bhaktapur. This former capital of Nepal is the best preserved medieval town and has amazing architecture. We were adopted by a drunk guide which was entertaining. We saw the king's swimming pool as well as many temples. One covered in Kama Sutra carvings got the guide rather excited. There was a Hindu festival with an amazing chariot negotiating it's way around the square manouvered by many men pulling ropes. Then we went to Boudinath an enormous stupa that pilgrims trek round praying. Lastly we went to Pashputinath but I felt uncomfortable with this so declined to go inside. It is a Hindu temple where they burn their dead - making this a tourist spectacle for photo opportunities seemed wrong. Then we returned to Thamel for lunch before returning to my Homestay. I wanted a nice hot shower but the water has been cut off so I may be returning in a smelly condition.

10 April 2019

Well tonight Tony took me out for my farewell dinner with his wife and her sister. He wanted to take me to a burger bar but what is the point of that in Nepal? So we went Nepali. My Dal Baht was fine but their momo ( dumplings) were a disaster - shame. Still we had a nice night even if there were some communication issues as the girls English was similar to my Nepali!! Then back to the hotel I stayed in when I first arrived. I left a bag there while I trekked. Unfortunately my watch and monocular seem to have disappeared. Even stranger a Samsung phone that is not mine had appeared in the rucksack still with 60%charge. Very odd. They are investigating and giving me a call in the morning. Early start tomorrow as we are doing some more distant sightseeing so have hired a taxi. Taxis in Kathmandu are far more dangerous than high altitude trekking in avalanche zones in my opinion!
Well a hectic day sightseeing around Kathmandu. Got the local bus to Swayambumath the Monkey Temple. Somehow animals that are amazing when you see them in the jungle are vaguely creepy in a temple setting crawling over everything. Then a walk to Kathmandu Durbar Square. Full of temples with still evidence of major earthquake damage. There was a lot of excitement as a living goddess Kumari was about to appear. After many rantings of "No photos" a young girl in very gorgeous costume appeared at a window looking quite sad. Not sure how she is selected to be a goddess but don't think it is much of a life for a child and apparently she loses her status when she hits puberty. I then joined Kevin and Linda for lunch in an oasis of calm - The Garden of Dreams. Then a long walk to Pathan Durbar Square and more temples before heading for home and a hot shower.

9 April 2019

Well I had a long trip today. 8 and a half hours from Pokhara to Kathmandu. Ed who was a roommate in Jinhu was on the bus. He has entered the Marathon de Sable as a challenge. I wished him luck. I was sat by an elderly Nepal gentleman and there was a German girl behind me. At first I unfairly attributed the bad smell to him and BO until I realised the German girl had taken her socks off and her feet stank. The Nepali man wanted to see my photos so I showed him some. He said at the beginning with no beard I looked young but now I look old. When we arrived in Kathmandu Tony fetched me and took me to his cousins. After a while I went to catch Sarah before her flight to Hong Kong and share a last beer with Kevin and Linda. What a good group we made together.

8 April 2019

Well depression about having a cup final snatched away in the last 30 seconds meant I did not sleep well. At 4 am I thought I would go to Sangkarot viewpoint for sunrise. Unfortunately I got completely lost several times going up tracks and mountain paths that led nowhere. Eventually I found the path which climbed very steeply and I arrived at Sangkarot at 7.15 am. The views over the lake and towards the mountains were incredible. I said farewell to the Annapurna range and Fishtail. These mountains have been so imposing and part of my scenery for weeks. This was probably my last look at them.

7 April 2019

Up early this morning for a run. Decided to get myself lost then find my way home. After 4 miles started to work my way home. I could see The Peace Pagoda and knew that overlooked the lake so climbed steeply to it and enjoyed the view and the troop of monkeys on the way. Then it was steeply down and back to the hotel for breakfast. Tony took me to the Gurkha Museum and Mountain Museum which were both interesting. Tony then left for Kathmandu paying the driver to take me to the cave and Devil's Falls. It was bizarre the driver was in a hurry and ran me through the busy cave at speed. All right for him as he was about 4 foot six - I was trying to run bent double as the roof was low. The underground waterfall was impressive. I then did some shopping and drew some money out from an ATM which gave me my cash but kept my card. Got it back eventually.

6 April 2019

We had a long 3 hour jeep drive to Pokhara. A long hot shower was a delight. In the evening the group of us met for a meal. We pigged out. Happy hour deal of beer and slice of pizza then mixed grill. Why not we thought so more pizza and beer before dessert.
Left at 7.30 this morning for last five miles of my trek. Cracked on at a fair pace crossing one of the longest bridges we have encountered. Lots of birds including I think a kingfisher. All too soon we arrived at the last short suspension bridge before the bus station. I had a bit of a tear in my eye to realise it was all over. Then thought - no I can go back to meet my friends - so I did. I carried Nirmal the porter's pack for the last half a km. How they do it mile after mile I do not know? I took a picture of my support team. Lefty and Righty my boots over 200 miles and no blisters - thank you. Stick Sid ( six quid from Lidl never let me down) his twin Go Pole who was there as backup in case Sid broke but came into his own helping Gopal the porter down through the ice. Buddy my rucksack who I learned to appreciate - from being a struggle it became a part of me and could always be relied on. My water filter bottle was brilliant but as yet has no name - suggestions appreciated.

5 April 2019

We set off today for a relatively short trek. First a steep climb down to the river following a troop of mules being herded by a man on horseback. Incredible how he rode down steep steps and across the suspension bridge. Then it was up a flight of 2500 steps which I managed in one go without stopping beating my guide by 10 minutes but only a couple more minutes ahead of Nirmal and Gopal our friends Nepali porters carrying their incredible loads. Then I picked up the rest of my gear giving me a full pack for the last downhill As we descended eagles were soaring overhead. After lunch I bought some beer and we headed to the hot springs down by the river. Sat and soaked drinking beer in an amazing setting. Now feeling cleaner than I have in a long time. Sharing my room with a lad called Ed but did evict the large cockroach crawling over my bed.

4 April 2019

Just delighted that we have taken 4 points off Man United and knocked them out of the FA cup. Looking forward to discussing this with Mike Warman and other United fans when I get home.
We had a great sunrise today at MBC. The sun was catching the top of the Annapurna range. I tried a photo of them as a reflection in the window with Fishtail Mountain above. Sarah and I decided we wanted to walk at pace so headed off down the valley as fast as we could on crampons. We found Gopal one of the porters struggling down a steep icy slope with his enormous load in trainers. I lent him my spare pole which I have carried and never used. He was very grateful. Only time ever I overtook a Nepali porter. We took just over an hour to get down to Deurali. Then Sarah carried on with us to Bamboo where we stopped for lunch. The others caught up after about 40 minutes. Then on up a nasty set of steps to Sinawa where we are stopping for the night. Amazing food tonight - one of the best teahouses I have stayed in.

3 April 2019

Up early as a group to cross the avalanche zone on the way to MBC. It was a steep climb over 3 miles with crampons on. Near MBC we crossed an avalanche that happened yesterday. We all got to MBC for a well deserved breakfast. While eating breakfast we saw a major avalanche high on Annapurna South. There was a rumble and a plume of snow descended about 1500 metres. Good job we were not going near there. We then left to walk to Annapurna Base Camp - an hour and three quarters climb. Sarah and I were quicker than the others so we made a snowman and I did a great snow angel while we waited for the others to catch up. Then we all walked to the top together. After taking the obligatory photos we had a cup of tea in the remains of the lodge there. ABC was completely destroyed by an avalanche earlier this year. On the way down cloud closed in. I decided to descend at my own pace doing it in 32 minutes arriving 10 minutes before anyone else and an hour before the last of our group.
Today we trekked from Bamboo to Deurali. Like most days the trail went up and down. We stopped for tea in Himalaya and got to Deurali for lunch. Just before Deurali we had to cross a large avalanche. At Deurali the views of Fishtail mountain were incredible. It is considered a holy mountain and no one has ever climbed it. Soon Choong, Sarah, Kevin and Linda rolled in. Kevin could not get a room and was going to have to sleep in the dining room. As I had a double bed I offered to share which he gratefully accepted. The rest of the afternoon we played Dum Bal and Euchre. It was an early night as we had to be up before 5 in the morning to cross a major avalanche zone before the sun came up.

1 April 2019

First the sad news apparently the storm last night killed about 30 people in Nepal. Today we made our way up to Bamboo. Forget the steps at Trebarwith the first mile saw us descending 2500 steps to the river and then pretty much the same the other side though on the way up I could not be bothered to count them. The rest of the trek was very similar through dense bamboo forest first up then down. We walked a lot of the way with two porters Tony knows and in the afternoon the lady owner of the teahouse we are staying in. I think Tony enjoys having a good chat in Nepali rather than concentrate on his English with me. I quite enjoyed hearing them giggling and laughing. We saw more monkeys today. Also significant news 20 days after arriving in Nepal I finished my first loo roll today - only one night was toilet paper provided. Think the second roll (if I can avoid culinary disasters)should see me through the rest of my stay.

31 March 2019

A typical day this side of the mountains. We woke up to clear views of the mountains and soon it was very hot. We walked steeply down through rhododendron forest. We saw several monkeys but only one hung around for a photo. The path dropped nearly 800 metres to the river and then steeply back up again. In all in just under 6 miles we dropped vertically over a kilometre and climbed back up. I met a group of Dutch trekkers at lunch and we had a good chat together. Their English was amazing but they all spoke with an America accent. We got to Chomrong about 1 o'clock. I went for a wander to explore the town. About three o'clock there was another impressive storm. Not so much rain and hail as yesterday but as we are on top of a hill really wild wind and thunder and lightning. One of the windows in the dining room was blown in by the wind. Quite excited about tomorrow as we can leave a lot of stuff here and collect it in 5 days time on our way back to Pokhara. Light pack - very exciting.

30 March 2019

Well Tony knocked on my door at 5am to say that there was no point in going to Poon Hill as the town was shrouded in mist. A shame to miss it as the views are meant to be stunning - a 180 degree panorama of all the biggest mountains. It was a good call, however, as lots of people went and saw nothing while I had 2 hours more sleep. A walk through rhododendron forest today. There were some beautiful birds and butterflies too. The walk went up for an hour and a half, then down for two hours before finally climbing in the last hour to end up at pretty much last night's altitude. We got in just before the first serious rain we have had. It is hammering down. Favourite sight today a troop of ponies laden with goods including two new boxed computers and a printer. A good example of how Nepal blends the old with the new.

29 March 2019

Well today was a cheat. We took a jeep two thirds of the way up the climb. It was three hours of serious off roading and quite exciting. The driver was first class. They are widening the road so periodically you had to stop while a swing shovel or other machine did its work then reinstated the road so we could drive on. Once we had to wait an hour and then it was a steep slope up. The tractor and trailer in front of us got stuck and took a push from the swing shovel to get across. We had three tries and each time a little more repair to the road before we made it over sliding everywhere. At the place we had lunch some ceremony was taking place and I was given a garland. In rhododendron country now. Fingers crossed for views at sunrise tomorrow but we are in the clouds at the moment.

28 March 2019

Tatopani is s pretty place or it would be if all the construction work wasn't happening. They are improving the road so it is not only rutted but completely riddled with potholes. There is also a massive hydro electric plant being built. There is a hot spring so I wandered down with Irma a Dutch girl. She wanted someone who looked like her dad to discourage unwanted attention. One pool was so hot I could not get in. The other was like a warm bath. I bumped into a couple who crossed the pass on the same day as us. Back at the hotel it is the height of luxury. Toilet roll provided - first time, a towel and an en-suite. I am sitting in the courtyard with lemons growing on the tree behind me. The only fly in the ointment is that tomorrow we have 1800 metres of climb about 6000 foot. I am not looking forward to the 7 or 8 hours this will take. It will be the biggest single climb we have done. Then we get up early the following morning to climb Poon Hill and see sunrise over the mountains.
Today we set off at 8am as normal. It was warm so back into shorts. We had to drop 800 metres which is hard work. Especially as irritatingly every time you dropped a few hundred metres there would be a steep climb and you would have to do it all over again. We stopped for lunch in a delightful spot. There were oranges growing in the garden. There was an amazing assortment of large butterflies flitting about as well as a lot of small birds. Eagles cruised effortlessly overhead. A buffalo grazed below me. Lunch took an hour and by then I was very hot. What a disappointment chicken fried rice was a large bowl of rice with half a dozen overcooked pieces of chicken on top. By now it was very hot and foolishly I had not filled my water bottle so I struggled for the last three miles and arrived dehydrated in Tatopani.

27 March 2019

Well the morning was spent walking over a dry valley dust blowing everywhere in a strong wind. We followed a cattle herder taking his cows to the woods to graze. It was a 2.5 mile walk over shingle a bit like Newgale Beach. This also happens to be part of the main road from Nepal to Tibet!! Then we escaped into the woods and out of the wind for a while. We had a nice lunch and I treated Tony to some cake as he had a bad night. Another 5 miles after lunch making 13 in all and we arrived in Ghasa I had a hot shower ( only 4th in 12 days) - luxury and washed some clothes. I went for a stroll and had a great chat with a man weaving bamboo baskets.

26 March 2019

What an interesting night. The owner of the teahouse was a superb cook. Lunch and dinner were some of the best food I have had in Nepal. She explained she and her husband had just bought the teahouse and were doing it up. He was in Kathmandu buying furniture. It was more like staying in a Nepali home than a teahouse. Tony and I played lots of games of Dum Bal (Nepali card game) and I beat him. The owner and her two younger daughters joined in the game. It was freezing so as soon as we had dinner ( almost Warman time) at 9 pm we retired to bed and I had a good sleep. When I got up in the morning Tony did not look happy and said that he had not slept well and had a headache. He said that something bad happened. He told me that after we went to bed it got incredibly noisy downstairs. There was a bit of a party and lots of drinking so he could not sleep. The owner came into his room drunk 3 times propositioning him. After that he could not sleep. I snored through it all in the next room.
And so to Tukuche which seems Marpha's poor cousin. Not many teahouses are open so we are staying at one of the few that was. It is very dark dingy and cold. It is not helped by persistent rain this afternoon. We ordered Dal Bhat (curry) for lunch. It took ages but you knew it was being freshly cooked and when it came it was delicious - one of the best I have had. My room is somewhat stark. The lady however insisted she clean it before I moved in. She won't get a job at home as a cleaner but the thought was there. There is no WiFi and there has been a power cut since we arrived so all my electronic devices are about to die I have been lying on my bed reading all afternoon. Before that I did save Tony from embarrassment. He lost his cap yesterday in high winds and was selecting one to buy. - I advised him that the one pictured below is not a cap he should wear. He has good English but this obviously does not include swear words - good deed done for the day.
Today was an 8 mile walk downhill to Tukuche. Quite an easy day. We strolled along chatting and came to a village called Marpha. Most Nepali villages are functional with the background providing a beautiful setting. Marpha is stunningly pretty. Tiny streets with pretty stone houses. The stream that in most villages just spills over the road was carried through channels above ground and an underground tunnel. The landscape is covered with the apple and apricot trees for which it is famous. We stopped in a cafe and had a delicious apple juice. They were preparing for a festival with beautiful flower arrangements. There was a monastery up a long flight of steps giving great views over the town. The roofs are all covered in stacks of wood which are well weathered - apparently not firewood but an overt display of your wealth. The bigger the stack you don't need to burn the richer you are.
Well I feared the worst yesterday when a coach full of Hindu pilgrims retuning from a trip to Muktinath Temple arrived at the hotel. They were very noisy and excited when they arrived. They also brought in sacks of rice,all sorts of food ,cooker and large gas cylinders. Well at 4.15 this morning it started - shouting and banging - incredible noise as I think they set up their cooker and cooked breakfast in the courtyard of the hotel. It was impossible to sleep and carried on till ,6.30 am when they left. Just dozed off to sleep and the alarm went off at 7. My empathy for pilgrims is in short supply.

25 March 2019

Woken up by the bells on the ponies taking the pilgrims to the temple at 6.30. A less exciting trek today. First it was time to say goodbye to Alex,Alan and Andrea. They had become good friends but they were catching the bus to Tatopani to enjoy the hot springs. I hope to enjoy them too but will be walking there. This side of the pass is so different it is dry and dusty. We walked down a trail but then had to join the road - not as good quality as Mike's motorway up the far side of Tregragon valley. It was rough as rats but pickups, motorbikes, trucks and the odd bus came past throwing up clouds of dust. We arrived in Jonson the capital of this area of Nepal called Mustang just before the rain started. It is a big town with an airport which I plan to explore this afternoon.

24 March 2019

A great afternoon and evening yesterday. I walked up to Muktinath Temple which is an enormous pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. They all seem to ride up on little ponies even though it is a gentle stroll up the hill. If you have done bad sins you bathe in two cold outside pools and walk round a terrace under 108 water spouts and that's it all forgiven. Sounds pretty easy to me. There is also s monastery run by lady llamas where there is a natural leaking of sulphur gas from the rocks which is lit. In the evening we went to the hotel the Welsh family were in and Andrea,Alan,the Welsh family and two others and I shared stories of the crossing over a few local beers.
Well what an incredible day. We were up at and had breakfast then set off at 5.15am. We all had crampons on (except one guide who was in trainers) and there is no way I could have done it without. As we climbed through the snow on headtorches and in moonlight it was quite surreal The snow was frozen hard but occasionally you sank in past your knees. As the sun came up it was beautiful. It was cold so cold both my water bottles froze solid. Disconcerting to see a guy being brought down with HACE potentially fatal mountain sickness if you don't lose altitude quickly. We got to the top at 7.37 there was a really strong wind and it was at least -15. We grabbed some quick photos and opened Sophie's mint cake then left after a quarter of an hour. Having climbed 500 metres to 5416 metres we now rapidly descended over 1600 metres through the snow to Muktinath. I had two sit down falls but no injuries. We are now in our teahouse celebrating with yak burgers and beer,hot showers and WiFi

23 March 2019

Well tough day today. We worked as a group Nick from Moldova, Andrea from Italy, Alan from Ireland, myself and our guides. We climbed steadily through the snow before dropping down a really icy slope to a bridge over the river then climbed for another 45 minutes to Thorung Phedi where we had lunch early at 10.30. We had a choice between staying there - less chance of altitude sickness but on the long day crossing the pass you start with an hour and a half tough climb through the snow. We decided to do the climb and stay at High Camp at 4850 metres. While we climbed 2 helicopters came in and evacuated casualties one from High Camp and one from Thorung Phedi. When we got in we dumped our rucksacks and climbed a 100 metres higher which should help us sleep. Breakfast and off by 4.30am tomorrow to cross Thorung La - I am looking forward to Sophie's mint cake at the top.

22 March 2019

Well I am getting into serious altitude now. Today we started off at Manang at about 3500 metres. The first hour and a half was steeply up trudging through snow. There were several places where care was needed as there was a narrow path with a long icy slope below you - I am glad Bernie can't see this as she would not be happy. I saw vultures and an eagle glide effortlessly through the valley below. At the top a welcome cup of ginger honey and lemon tea then on over flatter territory but always up and always snow. Lunch was a delicious vegetarian moussaka. We could have stopped at Yak Karka but decided to push on to Letdar a half hour further on at 4300 metres. It is a good idea to help you sleep at altitude to always have climbed higher than where you sleep so after dropping off our rucksacks we walked another 100 metres higher before returning to the teahouse. By then Andrea and Alan had arrived. I felt fine today. The plan tomorrow is to go to High Camp at about 4900 metres.

21 March 2019

Today was a rest and acclimatisation day. The best thing was I only had to carry a 3 lb mini pack not the normal 34lbs. It was like walking on air. We climbed to local viewpoint through deep snow passing Annapurna Lake which was completely frozen. It was about a 300 metre climb and met Alan (Irish) and Andrea (Italian) at the top. Amazing views all round. I tried my crampons coming down and they did make it easy. After lunch we visited a monastery that is being built but it was locked. Then a lecture on altitude sickness by the Himalayan Rescue Association. It was very good and the best news over 50s are less likely to suffer - two of us cheered when he said this. Checked my resting heart rate on my watch and it is up to 54. Younger people were pissed off as their's was normally higher than this and it increases at altitude. One was 79 and the other 92. Wanted to go to the cinema after dinner tonight to see Himalayan Caravan but it was shut so we played cards - Dun Bal a Nepali game.

20 March 2019

Well two weeks ago there was a heavy snowfall in Nepal, 5 plus metres deep. We are walking through the remnants of this. Still seen drifts 3 metres deep. I assumed this was normal in Nepal until the 70 year old grandfather in the hotel at Pissang said that he has only seen snow that bad twice in his life once when he was 7 and this year. It also explains why I will not be in touch for nearly a week until we get over the Thorung La Pass - hopefully in four days time - though if we get much more snow this could be in doubt. The best excuse ever for no WiFi is that the mast on a small mountain (definitely not proper mountain in Tony's terms) that supplies internet to the whole of the upper valley is still completely buried in snow. They are not even sure it is still standing. Until it thaws they will not know and there will definitely be no WiFi.
Well an incredible day. A lot of it trudging through snow. We left at 8 o'clock and clambered over deep snow in the village where it is shaded from the sun. After 45 minutes there was the major climb of the day zigzagging up a hill for nearly an hour non stop. Well deserved tea and apple pie at the top. We met up with a Welsh family from Carmarthen - mum, dad and daughter ( who was a vet in Carmarthen but now is in Preston) and walked with them for the next few hours in glorious sunshine. There were a group of eagles soaring and floating effortlessly on thermals overhead. They had 2 porters carrying the bulk of their stuff in enormous packs by a tump strap - one was in trainers. I had a go at carrying it and managed a few yards must be 45/50 kg and they gallop along through the snow. A mile from Manang it began to snow and fairly chucked it down. We walked as quick as we could but were well covered by the time we arrived. Drying out by a lovely stove as I write this.

19 March 2019

Today has been the hardest but most amazing day. Hard because it was tough walking and the altitude is increasing and there is consequently less oxygen. Also because a lot of it was either through snow or trudging through the mud of melted snow. Amazing as the views opened out and more and more mountains appeared. We passed glaciers and frozen lakes before arriving in Upper Pissang. I have christened my guide satnav as he diverts off the trail cheerily saying,"shortcut." I use my trekking pole and sometimes my hands to scramble up rocky sections to emerge on the trail having cut off a hairpin. In Pissang there was a very beautiful monastery built entirely with local funds and voluntary labour. From my bedroom I had a great view of the Annapurna range. In the middle of the night there was a stunning full moon over the mountains.

18 March 2019

A bit about the teahouses I am staying in. They all give you a room.with a basic wooden bed and a thin mattress. There are normally a couple of blankets but not always. They all.have electric light and a power socket so I can charge my phone, watch and Kindle. They all have a toilet somewhere and they may have a shower. There is a dining room where you eat and can socialise. Beyond this they vary a lot. Last night's was rough everything was very grubby including all the bedding which was quite black and stained. I was glad I had my own sleeping bag (thank you Stratton School). The only good thing was that it had a sit down toilet not a squat one. Tonight on the other hand is the height of luxury. The rooms are in little individual cabins as you can see in photo. It is very clean and lovely inside with 2 beds. I have unpacked on one and will sleep on the other. The dining room is spotless and there is a stove they will light at night. There is also a sit down loo - I am in heaven.
Today we walked from Danaque to Chame. The first mile and a half brought out a sweat as we climbed about 400 metres up flights of steps that make Trebarwith steps of hell look a doddle. We encountered our first snow on the ground. At one point an avalanche had crossed the track which had been cleared by bulldozer, there were 4 metre snow banks either side of the trail. We also encountered our first yaks - they have mighty big horns and we stood well aside to let them pass. We also saw various Buddhist religious places - chortens, mani wall ( full of prayer wheels that spin) and a gompa (monastery). Our first sight of one of the Annapurna range - Annapurna 2 popped briefly out of the clouds.

17 March 2019

Well today at lunch stop we got WiFi and immediately checked BBC sport. Triumph we beat Man United! Tony owes me a beer. All.of a sudden he no longer wants to talk about football. Shame I won't see Mike for a while as would have enjoyed discussing it with him. Hope we can avoid Man City in the semi finals. Will also be interesting as we play them in premier League before I leave. Chance for double or quits.
Today was about a 9/10 mile trek to Danaque with about 500 metres of climb ending at about 2200 metres. On the way we crossed another suspension bridge. Next to it was the remains of the previous one destroyed by a rockfall. Then we were able to see another suspension bridge over a gorge which has the biggest drop of any suspension bridge in Nepal. It looked amazing - not sure the photo catches it. As in UK Scafell Pike is highest mountain about 1000 metres I love Tony's classification of mountains when I ask,"What we are looking at?" Anything under 6000 metres is "Not proper mountain." Under 7000 is minor peak no name. Only higher than this are worth bothering about in his opinion.

16 March 2019

First trekking day today. About 5 hours walking on quite a warm day. Initially trekked along the jeep track so it was a relief when at Chamje we left the track, descended to the river where we crossed a suspension bridge by a waterfall then followed the other bank of the river. Lunch was at a mountain teashop. Delicious corn bread and honey. The lady had a large fridge and you suddenly realise someone has carried this on their back up the same trail we followed. Rather them than me. Nearby the map marked fields of marijuana but I did not spot them. After a long steep climb we reached Taal our stop for the night at The Peaceful Guesthouse. Saw a monkey and lots of lizards today. Discovered that Tony supports Man United so there is a bet on over tonight's FA cup quarter final. Somewhat surprising but the day ended with a half hour game of volleyball in the street with Nangkojri (sp?) a girl from the teahouse across the road - great fun.

15 March 2019

First teahouse at Syange and lovely view from bedroom window. Had a short stroll to waterfall and first suspension bridge before dinner. This is more like it. Looking forward to getting my boots on tomorrow.
Not an easy journey. First the minibus for six hours driving with a short lunch stop. Seats for sixteen in that bus which is quite crowded but three more were given stools in the aisle. Then luggage was packed around us. Warm and sticky to say the least. The road was rough lots not tarmac and when it was tarmac it was very rutted. Driver was overtaking everywhere blind bends etc with lots of horn as he used his phone. However,next stage in jeep for 2 hours was something else. Serious off roading along a track by the river. Some good drops and now driver used phone smoked and watched a music dvd as he drove. Sometimes not sure if he had a hand left for the wheel. Jeep seated 6 we had 7 inside and 6 more in the back. They had to walk a mile when we came to the checkpoint as he is not allowed to transport people in the back. We arrived at our first teahouse in Syange all safe at 5pm after nine hours travelling.

14 March 2019

Arrived in Kathmandu yesterday. Met Tony my guide. Really good to be met at the airport after a long journey and three hours queuing for a visa. After a quick meal went to sleep. Today we sorted trekking permits and some equipment including crampons before lunch. Traffic is mad as in all Asian cities masses of motorcycles all honking their horns. At least they drive on the left so I look the right way for traffic as long as they obey the rules ( not guaranteed). This afternoon I found a peaceful respite in The Garden of Dreams and enjoyed an espresso and a read. Tomorrow we leave at 7 am for long bus ride to start of trek.

20 February 2019

Practice walk to Roughtor with full pack with Bernie