As we left Varanasi with a 26hr journey ahead of us we waved goodbye to crazy India and had our sights on Nepal. As we crossed the boarder we were welcomed with a much appreciated relaxed friendly atmosphere, as well as torrential rain! We took shelter with the kind immigration officers while Helena and Ruth very kindly volunteered to brave the rain to check out the bus situation at the station. They came running back saying come quick, bus to Pawhara is going to wait 5mins for us. We had read different info on how far away Pawhara was from the boarder so we weren’t quite sure when we’d make it; an adventure yayyy! As we jumped on the bus like drowned rats we got settled for what we knew was going to be a long ride. As the bus moved from the station and stopped at every hole in the hedge it become evident this was a local bus. Locals were packed in everywhere and anywhere on this bus it was incredible. We sat at the front so couldn’t see exactly where everyone was sitting but at every stop 100s of people seemed to pile out off the bus and back in again. Novelty was starting to wear off us a few hrs in; our wet backpacks were all around us, we were in wet clothes, tired, hungry (lays crisps just weren’t cutting it) and grumpiness was creeping in. We started to ask our fellow passagers ‘how long to Pawhara?’ with the hope of hearing ‘we’re round the corner’; No such luck. We had many different answers ranging from 4hrs to 12hrs. We prayed for 4hrs but tried not to cry as we prepared for 12hours. It was the most uncomfortable journey of my life and it seemed like it was never going to end. Ruth said at one point she thought she had died (no drama Queens here). Eventually 12 and a half hrs later at 5.30am, having left Varanasi at 4am the previous day we arrived in Pawhara. Straight to bed it was.
The next day as we wondered along Pawhara lakeside the bus journey didn’t seem as bad as it previously had and we all agreed it was worth it to see this beautiful town. Situated in a valley in the himalays, the town hosts many trekkers however due to it being low season and with tourism being affected by the devastating earthquake, the town was very quiet. We were happy to spend our nepealese repees on the activities on offer. We got the blood flowing while jumping off the mountain and paragliding over the mountains and lake, were greatly informed on the tiabet situation when we visited a tibetan refugee camp(another story for another blog), got our sweat on during a hike and got to hear the realities for local people post earthquake. A great few days in what felt like a little holiday town came to an emotional end when our 4some broke up 😦 Me, Ruth and Nicola departed for Kathmandu while the lovely Helena stayed in Pawhara where she will eventually leave to carry on with her world trip lucky duck! Although this has only been a 3week trip I feel we have been through a lot together; many highs and some lows (for me these mainly involve rats and mice) travelling with a group of people is a sure way of getting to know them well, I think it can make or break any relationship and I’m feeling very fortunate that this trip has strengthened the lovely friendship the 4 of us share x
Last few days in Kathmandu were tiring! Back on the 24/7 guard required a lot of energy, something we didn’t have much of. We traveled from Varanasi with two lovely Europeans, Kim who was braving an 8 day solo trek when we left her in Pawhara and Marcus, who we had adopted as our wee brother. Marcus came with us to Kathmandu and God love him ended up sharing a room with 3girls 10 years his senior, a few days I’m sure he won’t forget!
In Kathmandu there is much more evidence of the earthquake. Many monuments and temples which were once iconic tourist spots have fallen to the ground. What were houses throughout the city were now bricks on the ground and tent cities were set up by various NGOs. We visited Nepali Red Cross and could an insight into the relief and aid work they are providing. Thanks to their preparation plans they were able to get food parcels, blankets and tent out to people within two hours of the earthquake hitting. Staff talked about the resilance of people in Nepal and their determination to get back on their feet.
Nepal is such a naturally beautiful country with beautiful people and a lot to offer anyone wanting an adventure. From the taxi man to the lady making jewellery, the hostel owner to the guide hiking up mountains, the waiter in a restaurant to the market owners. The bulk of many people’s livihoods is affected by tourism. If you want to help this beautiful country get back on its feet donate to one of the many What a adventurous/tiring/crazy few weeks! Looking back at the end of this 3week trip it’s crazy to think it’s only been 3weeks! The amount of ground we covered and experiences we had makes it feel more like a few months trip! doing great work and book Nepal for your next holiday, you won’t be disappointed!
What a adventurous/tiring/crazy few weeks! Looking back at the end of this 3week trip it’s crazy to think it’s only been less than a month; the amount of ground we covered and experiences we had makes it feel more like a few months trip! I’m very keen to see more of India, maybe the less crazy parts (if they exist….) and would happily return to beautiful Nepal. As always I’m returning home with new motivation, learning and a want to explore more!