After a good breakfast today, we collected our packed lunch, checked out of our hotel and met with our guide and driver. Originally, our guide last night thought that he would have a porter carry our additional luggage to the resort for the next night. We explained that because we were travelling fro 6 weeks, through 4 seasons, we both had large suitcases and they would cripple a poor porter! We opted for the driver to take them straight on through!
Once in the car, we got to experience Patan ( really just a suburb of Kathmandu) at rush hour. There was the odd policeman directing traffic, but the organic traffic seemed to work itself out, even when there was 8 lanes of traffic! Btw, when a car wants to turn across the other 4 or more lanes they just do so, and the traffic seemed to flow around them! Lots of honking horns, but those are more about a warning than a “get out of my way” kind of angry horn. A cacophony nonetheless!
Within about 45 minutes we reached the small city of Panauti. Here we left our driver with most of our possessions and prepared for our hike! Our guide Rajesh wanted to stop to buy a samosa. They looked great, but we didn’t want to be in agony for days!
Once we were organized, we headed out of the busy commercial section of town and onto a road much calmer and more civilized.
The town had a river running through it, and Ragis told us that the side of the river beside the shrine was often used for cremations, as is the Hindi Tradition.
We soon were heading out of the town and into farming country. Some of the rice had been harvested and was drying in the sun. All with their own particular mark! It gets guarded by day, and then gathered up, only to repeat this over the next few days!
We passed by some hay mounds drying ( maybe a Monet inspired painting will be coming!) As well there was rice, potatoes, and tomates a growing in the fields.
As we walked through the next village, I saw the oddest dog ever! It looked like it had had a henna! We know the the day of the dogs had just passed, and here in this region, they wash and groom their dogs and give them very special things to eat. This dog got the full spa treatment!
We soon left the farm fields behind and made out turn across a suspension bridge towards our destination. (It was steel, but wobbled like crazy!)
Our path took us away from the dusty roads and farm areas to a beautiful pine forest. Climbing up, we could already hear our lungs thanking us! As we got higher, the vies got better and better!
It was soon time to stop for lunch. Our guide told us we might find a swing there, and sure enough hanging off of the huge banyon tree was the swing! The guys had lots of fun!
Our path now varied between dusty dirt roads, or steep mountain paths. We took lots of breaks as being our first hike, it was difficult to catch our breath! Too much car riding, and not enough hiking I think! The views still got better as our climb got worse!
Slowly we made out way to NamoBuddha. As we approached, we were enchanted with the thousands of prayer flags that had been hung by families for celebrations or honouring someone who has passed.
We even saw some monks placing supports for more flags!
After what seemed like endless climbing, we reach NamoBuddha Stupa. Legend has it that a prince was travelling along this route and came across a tigress who was starving and could not feed her cubs. It is said that he sacrificed his body for her to eat, and gained eternal enlightenment. All I can say is that by the time we got to the top, I think Dan was ready to sacrifice his body to any tiger that would have him!
Once our visit to the stupa and monastery was done, it was time to head off to our lodging for the night. Still a bit of hiking left, and it was a struggle to get here. More dirt roads, never ending stairways, and clear pine forests formed our path.
We finally arrived at our magical Namobuddha resort, and were ready for a shower, and some R and R! This place is a delightful eco retreat. It has several cottages spaced throughout the gardens. Each cottage has wonderful Himalayan views and decor. This is an organic farm as well and serves all vegetarian food.
Our cottage is lovely and large, and once showered we prepared to head up to the main lodge for drinks and dinner. We met our guide Rajesh in front of the fire, and enjoy a celebratory drink before parting ways for our dinner.
In the lodge we met our host Ingrid who was so friendly and accommodating. We felt right at home!
Enough about food! Time to get this chapter over and us off to bed! Until tomorrow!