Today was a leisurely start to the day. With nothing booked, we had our day to ourselves. We were interested in seeing the Gurkha Museum and the International Mountain Climbing museum, so after breakfast we headed down to the reception to see what would be the best way to accomplish this. The day was also clearing nicely, and we still hadn’t had much of a view of the Annapurna range here, so a drive to a viewing area would be great as well.
The reception suggested that rather than a taxi, we could hire a hotel car and see everything with the driver waiting for us at each stop. For less than $50 USD we did this, and were delighted with the results!
First stop was to head north, not to the traditional viewing point, but a new one, the Kalika Chowk. This place was amazing. While the top was under construction for a large viewing park, we simply walked around the heavy equipment and got the most beautiful, unimpeded views that we could imagine. When up there, I saw a number of large brown birds savaging at a small amount of garbage. Those dear birds turned out to be eagles. What an amazing picture of them taking off into flight!
As we watched the wispy clouds reveal the summit of Annapurna, we certainly got what we had come for! Time to move on to our next adventure. ( in a truly comfortable car and excellent driver!!) Our next stop was to see the Gurkha museum.
Going through this testament to the brave, We could see why it was so important for young Nepalese to continue to try out for this regiment. They recruit right here in Nepal, and one of the trials given to the recruits is an uphill run (up mountain for anyone not Nepalese) with a 25lb basket of rocks on their backs. It is said that joining this elite force is so compelling that recruits have been known to complete the run and other trials with broken bones! After reading some of the amazing VC stories, its no wonder they aspire to be part of this regiment, ( the full British military salary and pension also help!)
All in all this was a totally inspiring museum to visit! Our next stop was south of Pokhara at the International Mountain Climbing Museum. Again, many interesting thing here including the inhabitants of the worlds mountains, the geology of the Himalayas, a history of the great first climbers of many of the peaks, an informative video as well as the delicate balance that these mountains hang in the midst of world and local environmental problems. An enjoyable and informative visit all round.
With this last visit finished, it was time for us to have a late and light lunch. We decided to go to a Tibetan restaurant that features momos. There are 3 refugee camps here, that have been here since the Chinese took over Tibet. Refugees came across the border in the late 50’s and have been living in these camps ever since. The Chinese government has imposed a preference for the Nepali government not to grant these people landed immigrant status. As a result, they have established long term settlements in the camps and get by on Arts and Crafts etc. A sad story all round.
We found our restaurant and ordered our lunch. Dan had the Momo soup and I had a plate of mixed momo. All delish!
Dan headed back to the room to have a little lie down after our lunch, and I decided to get caught up on a little shopping! Pokhara is definitely a safer, cleaner place than Kathmandu, and the Lakeside area where we are staying is extremely tourist friendly! I had a lot of fun poking in and out of shops without worrying how bored Dan would be!
It was soon time to head for the hotel. With bags in hand, I made my way through the lazy crowds on this sunny 25C day. I must say, the weather has been perfect wherever we went!
Dan continued to rest, and I worked on my blog, and then it was time for our beer on the balcony! We won’t be doing this at home , that’s for sure!
Our dinner plans for tonight are to go back to the MoonDance Cafe. They had such a large assortment of delectable food, we though we could give it try one more time.
After dinner, it was time to get back and get organized for our trip home. We are leaving Pokhara with our driver at 9 am…this is for a 10:45 pm flight out of Kathmandu which is 230 km away! When we tried to push off our departure for another hour or two, the driver almost had a heart attack! Better he be comfortable, and not feel he needs to take added risks on the road. There’s not much to do at the airport, but both Dan and I have downloaded books, so we should be fine. And for tomorrow’s blog, we’ll be borrowing a page from our camping friends and will report on our trips roses and thorns!
We will be flying through HongKong with an 11 hour layover. We have booked a short tour with a driver and guide to take us around for an few hours, so that should break up the trip nicely…that is, if we’re not asleep in the car!!! But that’s for tomorrow, until then!