Escape to Kathmandu

The walk down to Paseban from the tented camp took 4 hours. The last 2k was still tricky but with help from our guides we made it down safely. No more uphill walks, whoopee. We all felt it was a big achievement as none of us are dedicated walkers and unless you can afford a helicopter, there’s no other way to get this high and see the mountains. It was well worth the effort.

We relaxed, read, showered and just admired the view. We did a village walk and the houses were very beautifully decorated unlike many of the more basic houses of other villages.

There were lots of young teenagers and when we visited the porters house Trish bought scarves, Chris bought some beers, everyone was happy.

The porters

We had lovely food made by two lovely young cooks back at the guesthouse, they were so eager to please. We ate everything but the daal, that was it, no more, ever. Now we were dreaming of roast chicken dinners and cheese every night in our dreams.

The last evening in the guesthouse under the dark night sky full of twinkling stars and planets. The Milky Way as bold and obvious as can be, we had a big campfire. All the villagers turned up with music and their cheery personalities.

We danced all night, the teenagers treating us to TikTok dance routines. Even Chris danced. We will never forget this night it was truly magical and will be forever imprinted in our memories.

Our 2 young dancers

We took pictures of the 2 girls, porters and the guides who looked after us and after big hugs we walked for 2 hours back down to our original driver.

Chef’s, porters and guides

It took a further couple of hours to drop the guides off in their village. We all felt emotional, we can’t praise them enough. They were funny, kind, knowledgeable and genuinely nice young men. We will stay in touch.

It took several hours before we made our next hotel 2 hours from Kathmandu. The next day we returned to our favourite hotel The Shambaling.

Hosts from the Shambaling

I went all the way through their extensive breakfast menu, ate everything, yum.

Now to explore the Boudhenath stupa we were saving until our return.

It’s the holiest and most important Stupa outside Tibet. Built around the 14th century but has roots back to 600 AD. It was on a popular trade route between Tibet and Nepal. It’s now a UNESCO world heritage site.

The giant Boudhanath stupa is a gateway to heaven serving as a horizon between the earth and sky. The base of the stupa structure consists of three large platforms decreasing in size. These platforms symbolizes the sky, whereas the circular vase supporting the semi-sphere signifies water. The eyes of Buddha painted on the stupa are diversely described as inscrutable, impassive, empathetic and shrewd. The five most promising elements representing Buddha i.e. earth, air, water, fire and space are comprised in the Stupa architecture.

There was a real buzz as you get near the stupa, it’s the biggest I have ever seen.

People circumambulate, large numbers moving slowly, 3 times around. The unmoving centre symbolises enlightenment and it’s a form of meditation. Again we were very lucky to be here on an auspicious day in the Buddhist calendar.

Even more impressive at night

Many Tibetan monks gliding along in their deep red robes, young and old mingling amongst tourists, Tibetans and Nepali people offering their blessings. Enormous prayer wheels perhaps 12 feet tall and 6 foot wide, all a red and gold blur as they constantly were spun around.

The smell of burning incense hanging in the air and the twinkling lights and aromas of the yak butter candles adding to the atmospheric feel.

We entered The Jamchen monastery, just outside the stupa, which had drawings from Buddhist texts, all over the walls, beautifully drawn.

Entering a large room full of statues of enlightened beings, no photos but many monks happy to chat. The decorations and artworks were a sight to behold. Chris and I had a blessing, we need all the help we can get..

We would come back to Kathmandu and Nepal. We love the quiet serenity of the place, the beautiful friendly nature of the people and the amazing scenery.

Thank you Nepal 🙏

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