Pokhara, from sunrise to hiking and boating

5am and we are out and heading up to watch the sunrise at Sangrakot, which should give us a great view of the Annapurna range. Sadly not today, its misty, cloudy and not great visibility so we don’t even see the sun. We all just stand around freezing waiting patiently, to be honest its a massive tourist attraction not hugely impressed and extremely busy so every view has a load of tourists snapping picks and taking selfies!! I know I know, I am one of them, but hey why can’t all these things be just for me… lol

We stop at another Temple stop on way back to hotel for breakfast, a nice mountain view and I guess the best thing is the clean air, compared to Kathmandu and the pollution and endless dust Pokhara is so much cleaner. Breakfast wasn’t particularly great sadly, very basic so simple toast and eggs for me before we head out again at 9am.

Next stop is the Davi Falls and Cave visit, this is a waterfall that comes from the lake water and then goes many feet underground into a cave which then, well…. apparently no one knows where the water goes (its going somewhere otherwise the cave would be flooding!), but maybe its just our guide who has no idea. Nice guy, but not very knowledgeable but I think that is because he is a hiking guide not a culture guide. So anyway, he’s good with hiking trails!! Anyway, they are interesting, the cave is a bit like a construction site, at one point I am not sure I should carry on because of the welding work going on ahead of me. But the guide says to go ahead, and in the cave is about the only time you get a reasonable view of the falls. Everywhere else the view is heavily restricted which is a real shame.

Which is good, because that is what I am doing next while Nora heads up in the car I hike up a constant steep hill to the Stupa, World Peace Pagoda. We pass farms on the way, see monkeys in the wild. I have a little freak out when I see something walking (looked like stalking) after the monkeys and I guess I should have warn my glasses because I thought it was a lion! doh… nope just another bigger but furrier monkey!! lol – note to self, no lions in Nepal… only tigers!

Its a great walk, and I am pushing myself hard and was quite unexpected when I saw Nora was up there waiting at the top, I thought she’s have been and gone by the time I got up there. Must have been bad traffic! We take a stroll round the Stupa and take in the amazing view of the Lake Fewa in the distance and what we can see of the mountains which are still pretty much covered over with cloud. Then I set off back down the hill, through the forest and past the damn on the lake.

The sad thing here and across a lot of Nepal compared to Tibet and Bhutan, is the volume of litter and plastic everywhere lining the streets, the rivers, lakes etc. Its like mini landfills all over the place. The houses in the area don’t have drinking water, so people like around 15minutes maximum from a water tap, at least some plastic bottles are reused for carrying water back and forth to houses. You see women with large baskets full of water bottles filling them up and then taking them home, we pass over a river where they are washing clothes and themselves.

The interesting thing about travelling is meeting the local the people, in the places I have been so far on the trip I have noticed they have a huge sense of family and helping each other, more so than in western (so called more developed) countries and you wonder whether the more people have the more selfish they become. All the guides we have had are breadwinners in their family, they’ve had family members die young, or accidents that have left siblings injured and are now responsible for supporting not only themselves but their parents, and siblings. They work hard to take care of everyone, and at the same time they do a job to take care of tourists and go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable and trouble free. Its truly admirable.

Anyway, after the walk I again get back the same time as Nora who checked out the Tibetan Refugee camp which was apparently very interesting and she made some purchases. I have a well deserved shower, clean up and get ready for our little boat (kayak really) ride on the Lake to the temple in the middle and then back again. Now we are somewhere much warmer (altitude is only 800m compared to everywhere else we have been which is well over 1000), flip flops are on, and more summer wear, all nice a clean but a fleece in hand before the temperature drops at night!

The boat ride is nice, very relaxing and I am nicely tired (not exhausted) after my 3hrs of hiking, great getting he heart rate up. We pass lots of tourists in boats, Japanese, Chinese and Europeans (not that many of them) and all wave and say “hello” ! We get to the temple which is swarming with people and as is standard again in these parts, pigeons. Sadly I fall foul of the pigeons within about 2 minutes of stepping of the boat and 3 of them swoop in what feels like red arrow formation dropping the bombs of shit on my head and shoulders!!

Thankfully Nora helps to wipe the shite from my newly washed hair! and then I try to get over it.. but basically, make a very sharp exit from the temple so as not to risk another attack. I am hoping that this means I get extraordinary good luck now for the rest of the trip. On the way back I notice the trees have white stains on them, and am told (by the boat guy) this is from the other birds that basically swoop back and forth from the river and are sick or shit on the trees staining them white… needless to say I ask him to stay away from that area. We go reasonably close to shore though to see the monkeys coming down to drink, they hang upside down by their tails and drink from the lake and then go back in the trees.

After the boat ride finishes we walk up to Rosemary’s kitchen restaurant for an nice early dinner and a bottle of wine, the food and place is excellent, albeit very quite but then we are very early. Pokhara is such a calm place very nice, a bit hippy like in the area we are staying which is like Thamel is in Kathmandu, we are in Lakeview area again mainly for tourists. This is my last night with Nora and a really lovely end to a great trip, Nora has been lovely company and I hope this has been good for her as well as its her first major trip on her own.

We take a nice stroll home, quick pop into the shops on the way back (rule of not buying when you’ve had a drink thrown out of the window, but then prices are cheap and we don’t do too bad at bartering really) we both get something nice to take away. A lovely evening and walk home and then its off to sleep in the concrete beds.

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