One moment I am freezing my balls off in the Himalayas, the other moment I am digging my feet in the sand of a beautiful beach while having an ice cold beer to cool my body down.
And then three months later I am finally finishing my blog about it all. It took a while, but here we are.
After the hike I had some days to spend in Kathmandu to recover, have something else to eat then Dahl Bhat, met some friends from Goa and prepare myself for a trip to another country.
I have been traveling for a little bit more then eight months now and like last time in Japan, the European summer is calling me again.
As I was enjoying the high quality food and nice atmosphere in Hotel Monumental in Kathmandu I could hardly realize I was about to leave Asia, where I spent five fantastic months.
The dirty and chaotic streets, the rickshaw drivers, the chai, all the little food stalls, the cows in the city, all this I was about to swap for something completely different; Italy! My stop between Nepal and home.
Roughly two weeks I spent in the mountains do a trek which started near and north-east from Kathmandu in Sundarijal, going north leading over the Laurebina La pass into Gosaikunda, the frozen Shiva lakes on 4320 meters.
After Gosaikunda the trail continues in either the Langtang Trek, the Tamang Heritage Trek, a walk to Tibet or a bus back to Kathmandu. Plenty of options there at the crosspoint.
I set my budget right in the only ATM point around – Kathmandu – and luckily had enough money and energy to continue up the Langtang trek afterwards.
Now, get ready for a shitload of pictures.
In the raingutter of the world. If it would be clear it would be possible to see the roof of the world, unfortunately it is gray and rainy.
After spending two weeks in Pokhara I arrived in Kathmandu yesterday. I got out of the bus and stepped on the street. Water and dirt was flowing through my sandels and filled up the space between my toes. Proper raingutter.
Weather forecasts look a bit better and weather is unpredictable in the mountains anyway. I’m ready for it; a proper hike in the mountains for a couple of days.
My muscles got the right signals in Pokhara to get them out of lazy mode. The Gosaikunda & Langtang trek is what’s next up.
I like Nepal. Food is good, nature is amazing and people are very friendly. Most of all, the exchange rate is near to 100, easy calculations.
The animals are funny too. In Varanasi cows and dogs rule the area, in Nepal it’s the yak. Their head seems to be connected to their neck quite loosely and always gape at you with big eyes. Can’t really figure out what they’re thinking. All I know is that they make pretty tasty cheese from them – yak cheese.
Apparently there are quite a lot of yak-cheese-factories in the area I will be visiting. Mmmm let’s just hope they have that dark-brown bread as well.
It will be quite a climb to reach that place. Soon I will start from Kathmandu and reach Dumsa, at the start of the Langtang trek on 3000 meters, in five days or so. The trek will go over a 4600-meter pass and along some frozen lakes. If I’m up for it and the yak cheese tastes good I might do the Langtang trek, which ought to be amazing.
But first let’s get you a bit updated about my first two weeks (which again flied) in Nepal.
The last day in India. About time to write something about the last couple of weeks.
Varanasi kept in quite a firm grip on me and at the same time testing my endurance.
The air and the effect it had on my health, the chaos and rising temperature and the fact that some of my mates would be in Rishikesh made me decide to go on a short holiday to the gateway of the Himalayas.
At the foot of the big mountain ranges I could just taste the mountainlife a little bit and it tastes good.
A trip back to Varanasi was necessary to round up some things. Sending heavy stuff home that I don’t fancy carrying up the Annapurna (like my tablas) and too say goodbye to my guru family whom I stayed with and who to care of me for quite a while.
With the fresh mountain air and the cold clean Ganga water still fresh in my memory I can’t leave soon enough.
By train and bus we will travel into Nepal and getting ready for some serious hiking.
It seems like ages ago but realized I still have some pictures to share from the mountains and my trip to Varanasi.
The first couple of days in the city where so overwhelming and so intense, I was convinced my blog would get another update in a few days. But other things have kept me distracted quite a bit. The city itself, all the impressions, the smell of burning people and cowshit but most of all the tabla, an Indian percussion instrument which I’ve been stuying on now the last weeks.
Fear and loathing hit me the first two days but once on the cities frequencies I started to love the city. Well, it’s still a love-hate relationship but India learns you to cope with that. Started off in a nice guesthouse but staying in my own little house right now with all my instruments lined up here to play on my rooftop.
Fourty hours in an Indian train and not that bad I must say.
I’m sharing my little room with a grumpy concerned middle aged man and sweet family who are giving me food and unfortunately have the need to buy every random sound-making toy from the vendors who walk around in the train.
Well at least I have a couple of gigabytes of music which I still have to process so I’ll be fine with my headphones for these fourty hours.
For the last two weeks we had no mobile reception nor internet, we were quite cut off from the outside world. Any need to write my blog just disappeared because of the stunning views and amazing time we had in our little house.
After Hampi me, Richard, Dan and Yarden traveled to Tamil Nadu, south of India. When we left Goa we had to say goodbye to a great place in order to arrive in another amazing environment. Same thing happened this time again. For me it felt that we left Hampi too soon but once arrived at the new place we sort of forgot about everything.
Om Mani Padme Hum, a Tibetan chant which embraces so much love, happiness and calmness in its vibration, got such more meaning to me the last couple of weeks here in India. It’s basically my state of mind most of the times. India is so far the most perfect country to just forget about your travel plans. India will lead you. And if problems may arise, there are plenty of gods you can choose from to turn to.
Like a couple of days ago, I was walking through the beautiful little village of Hampi in between rice paddies, palmtrees, late-afternoon sun and surrounded by bizarre rock formations coming back from an amazing barber shop experience. All I asked for was a haircut and beardtrim, what I got was a good rest next to Ganesh the protector, an almost-full body massage, loads of oils over my hair and body and a chiropractic treatment. And my haircut obviously. 5 bucks.
India keeps surprising me, makes me wonder, makes me confused but most of the times puts a big smile on my face.
A couple of days ago I took a swim after a game of football just after sunset.
The colors that the water reflected were just hypnotizing, like standing in the middle of liquid diamonds. If that makes sense.
When I looked back at the beach I saw the (almost) full moon just appearing from behind the palmtrees.
Went to my beachshack to have a shower. A little frog was waiting for me on the showerknob. Didn’t move, didn’t flinch. Picked the animal up to put him back outside on my little balcony with a view on the beach.
I realized this is paradise.
Needless to say I decided to stick around a little bit longer.
Without further ado… some impression pictures
India in slow motion. Plans sort of stalled for now. Yeah, Goa gives me about the same feeling as Beach Rock Village in Okinawa. Without the working that is. Ultimate laziness.
Well, after three months of intensive traveling it feels like a holiday within a holiday.
India already is a place to see the weirdest mix of people. Goa is probably the epicenter of it. The weirdest types around here are the foreigners. Hippies who have been coming here for 50 years, drunk Russians, stoned Israelis, but mainly weird hippies.
I met a guy with a Bob Marley tattoo on his chest who claimed it just burned from the inside of his body onto his skin on the outside.
While walking on the beach I met a guy naked on the beach playing harmonica.
Groups of people spend the morning on the beach doing a big group hug for half an hour.
It is one o’clock in the afternoon. I am sitting in the shadow to avoid middays heat and as I’m typing right now I see people jogging on the beach.
So yeah, weird stuff going on on the beach. A perfect place to practice my yoga.
No Dehli-belly yet (knock wood), to my suprise the train to Goa only had one hour delay and I am chilling in front of the doorstep of my beach shack down on the beach looking out over the ocean. India has been treating me quite good up until now.
The week I spent in Mumbai was good. A crowded city but so much to see and do. As I expected I saw a lot of contrast. Poor and rich, colorful spices and rotting garbage, expensive BMW’s and old worn down rickshaws.
Of course this place is not like Iran at all, but at least coming from Iran the culture shock is less big as you usually hear from travelers flying into India straight from Europe. But still it took me some while to absorb all the impressions and experiences here in India. And Goa is just the right place to get the taste of India in a really slow pace.