My journey started the way any decent journey is supposed to start: with a major hangover and some Aspirin trying to fight it. Still digesting the, as I remember, two or three good-bye-Europe-beers I’ve had I was though excited for the trip afar. So to Kathmandu I flew (rhyme!).
And here I am, three weeks later. Each of those days here in Nepal featured such a vast amount of new and exciting impressions and experiences that I could write a blog post five to six pages long every day, still missing details. But because I’ve better things to do than writing blog posts and you with your busy life’s out there got better things to do than reading blog posts, here’s Nepal in a Nutshell.
To begin with, this is simply impossible. Nepal is one of the poorest and at the same time most astonishing and beautiful countries in the world. Everyone will tell you that, I can now approve. To study especially much of the countryside and beloved Nature, I’ve been on a trekking tour circling the Annapurna massive in central Nepal for the last 18 days. Without Internet, without a cell phone, and, sometimes, without electricity after all; utterly enjoyable.
The trek itself was not at all technically challenging, but carrying a 18kg rucksack for 250km and up a 5416m pass is a different story. But on the bright side, my pack got lighter and lighter every day as I kept using more and more toothpaste. I guess I could have packed lighter – so I carried my climbing shoes and chalk all the way for the sake of defining one (in numbers: 1) but world-class boulder problem at 3600m altitude (I propose V5/V6 – details and location on request). Furthermore, I found out the hard way that it actually gets painfully cold above 4000m. Anyway, the trek proved to be the perfect choice since I’ve witnessed a county so diverse that it was hard to believe that I am, somehow, still in Nepal. More, I felt like walking through four exceedingly different countries (with the common denominator that they served Dal Bhat in all of those countries) within just a few days: Starting deep in a rich, sub-tropical jungle, ascending to a desert surrounded by 7000m peaks, followed by a high alpine setting including snow showers, and finally strolling through rough Tibetan highlands with storm-like wind dusts.
Such a diversity is hard to grasp – if possible at all, only with a few days delay. Besides those almost unreal landscapes, the culture and people of Nepal deserve an equal share. To be honest, it takes its time to realize that you are actually trekking through a third-world country – and that that camera you just pointed to picture that cute little Nepali kid is probably worth more than this very kid will earn his or her entire life. I also started with the mission of not taking too many pictures – only the very picturesque moments should be covered. I kept to this mission – and ended up with 700 pictures. Here are some random four of them:
But as everything on this planet, also the Annapurna Circuit has its drawbacks: namely road construction. The plan to connect Manang to the main “highway” system destroys quite some otherwise peaceful trekking hours. So whoever is thinking of doing that trek should do it, well, now.
After all those days of walking and constantly moving on, I am now back to (well, relatively speaking) civilization in Pokhara where I’ll relax my tired feet and stuff my notoriously empty stomach – so if you’d excuse me, I’ll be lounging down at the lake, sipping on a Lassi and trying to delete at least 350 of those pictures. Ah, how peaceful a phenomena a lake.