Kathmandu 2012

Well folks Naomi and myself are now in Nagarkot and I’ve just spent 2 hours up loading 78 photos of our time in Kathmandu to Facebook, just as I finished up loading them the electricity went out and with it the Wi Fi so this may well be my first blog without photos !!
Arriving at Kathmandu airport in the dark was a bit of a shame as we didn’t get to see the Himalayas as we flew in (since rectified this, more later). We’d arranged a transfer for us and our bikes and they duly turned up and promptly stashed our bikes and luggage in the mini van and we set off for The Kathmandu Guest House, the road there was as if Nepal has been at war for a while, very uneven and unmade in some places, I must admit that both Naomi and myself were a bit worried but we needn’t have been as very soon we drove through the gates at the guest house.
The Kathmandu Guest House is famous here and rightly so, it was a Rana Palace and therefore has a very stately air about it, it was the first hotel to open in Thamel the area of Kathmandu that we were staying in.
Although we liked it very much it is expensive so we’d already made arrangements for a cheaper guest house for the next three nights, as I say we arrived late and after locking the bikes away we soon retired to bed.
Waking the next morning to a hearty breakfast buffet and plenty of coffee was a great start to our day and we were soon found to be tackling the job of assembling our bikes, the Guest House has a bike shop / hire / on site and with a bit of help the bikes were ready and we were sweaty πŸ˜‰
We collected our luggage and set of in search of our new accommodation at the Kathmandu Terrace Hotel !!
Well we wanted cheap and we got it, four floors up, dingy room with little light or electricity and the bathroom, well all I can say here is that my mum and a bottle of bleach would have a field day…
Still at least we had room to keep our bikes in the room with us πŸ˜‰
We showered quickly, no hot water, and set about arranging our time in Nepal, first step was to contact Dinesh and Deepak, contacts that we’d been given by Navin at the Royal Oak in Stokenchurch, they duly arrived with in. 15 mins and took us to a 5 star hotel where we had lunch while discussing our plans πŸ˜‰
They were great and shortly they’d come up with what seemed to be the perfect plan, all that was needed was for them to find a cycle guide for us, by later that evening they’d found one and brought him to the hotel to meet with us, his name is Roshan and we instantly gelled, we knew we’d get along so he set about refining the plans and route to suit our needs, ten minutes later it was done and as they described it to us our smiles just got bigger and our confidence in Roshan grew as it was obvious that he knew what he was doing.
As part of our plans Dinesh and Deepak were sorting out an Everest flight for us the next morning and then after that we’d be going sight seeing with a personal driver and a Nepalese English speaking guide, how the other half live πŸ˜‰
The morning came fast enough, 5.30am to be precise, dressed and ready by 6.00 the car showed up and whisked us to the Airport, the tickets for the flight were duly pressed into my eager fingers and very soon we were sitting in a tiny 16 seat twin rotor, tourist plane with 14 other excited tourists. Take off was smooth and we started to climb through the low cloud and out into bright sunshine and there they were the Himalayas, all strung out like snow topped jewels all glinting in the morning sun, as you’d expect we started taking pictures out of the windows, lots of them, then to our surprise the hostess asked us in turn to step into the cockpit to get a better view of Everest and to take pictures, I have to say that this was one of my highlights so far, brilliant !!
The journey back to the hotel seemed mundane, even travelling through Kathmandu !! We arrived back at the Hotel and made arrangements to meet the driver and guide in an hour, enough time for a decent breakfast and coffee πŸ˜‰
We’d found a nice hotel about 50 metres away called the Puskar, it has a nice courtyard cafe and serves a decent breakfast, while we were there we also took the liberty of sorting out two nights accommodation as we’d be back in Kathmandu part way through our cycle tour, better rooms and certainly cleaner bathrooms, sorted !!
Breakfast finished we met up with our guide and driver and set off first in search of an ATM that actually accepted our cards, this achieved we did what all tourists do, we went sightseeing πŸ˜‰
First up a gentle walk along Freak Street, a title leftover from Kathmandu’s hippy days, then a guided tour of Durbar Square, this is where the city’s Kings were once crowned, no more kings !
This is also a World Heritage site and is a traditional old time Kathmandu. We were shown around the temples and palaces with all there beautiful carvings and courtyards as our guide explained all about them. It was rich with colour and history, tall pagoda style temples with reds and golds all set against a bright blue sky, a photo opportunity at every turn πŸ˜‰
Our driver collected us at the far end of the Temple complex and whisked us on to the next stop, Swayambhunath, commonly know as the monkey temple because the tourists can’t pronounce it’s real name ! Its a bit of a mish mash of Hindu and Buddist Temples and Stupas with colourful prayer flags adorning most of it, very colourful πŸ˜‰
There are also monkeys here, hence the name, they even have there own swimming pool and are seen diving from great heights into it, very funny to watch πŸ˜‰ Again there were so many photo opportunities here, not least the wide scenic views from the top, all of Kathmandu laid out at the foot of the mountains !
Our next stop was for in Patan and started with a very good but expensive lunch with a view over the square.
More temples, courtyards and religious artefacts, more colour, more photos and certainly lots of info from our guide. He informed us that Patan is famed for its metal work and especially religious works that are shipped all over the world πŸ˜‰
Just as we’d finished our sightseeing tour the rain started to fall, big heavy drops, still warm but we were about to get very wet then as if planned our driver turned up and collected us πŸ˜‰
Back at the hotel and feeling a bit weary we showered and rested for a bit before heading out for a curry with a fellow guest called Ralph, a German guy who’d got stuck in Nepal as he was having trouble getting an Indian visa, our man Dinesh said he’d help him sort it out, good man πŸ˜‰
We took a taxi to New Road in Kathmandu and very quickly we found a Punjabi restaurant and had a great meal, albeit slightly over shadowed by a nagging headache ;-(
We finished up and grabbed a taxi back to the hotel, wished Ralph well and went up to our room, a few painkillers and then we stared to sort our kit out for the next month, as we wouldn’t be needing our tents, sleeping bags, cooker etc and also due to the fact we’d be cycling up some big hills, one of which is the highest pass in the world, it’s called Thorongla and it’s 5416m !!
That done we hit the sack and dreamt of our first days cycling in Nepal πŸ˜‰
Night night folks, more next time !!

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About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
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3 Responses to Kathmandu 2012

  1. navin gurung says:

    Thorughly enjoyed your story !!!! Good luck for tomorrow….I am sure as you explore more towards the himalayas ….you will feel like “Alice in wonder land”… …Very excited to read your story in near future with little bit of home sick feeling….all the best….Navin.

  2. Graham says:

    Hi John, good to hear the trip is going well. Especially love the flight bit. Take care till the next blog

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