We’d been in Kathmandu and the surrounding valley for a couple weeks and the time had come for us to move on, so we got up early one morning and headed for the tourist bus stand. We found an unusually plush bus out of the long line that were all headed the same direction, bargained for a reasonable price, and that afternoon we found ourselves in Pokhara. It’s a touristy but relaxed place with all the usual tourist amenities and continental food, but it has an unusually nice location right at the edge of a calm and pretty lake with massive Himalayan peaks jutting up in the distance. After the crowds and frenetic pace of Kathmandu, the calm of Pokhara felt like a revelation. Sidewalks were generally uncrowded enough that we could actually walk on them, and if we had to walk on the streets instead we weren’t in constant fear for our lives from crazy motorists. There was a serene and peaceful vibe about the whole area, it was absolutely beautiful, and the food was great. We liked it right away.
We didn’t do all that much in Pokhara. We didn’t really want to. Most of our time there was spent relaxing, just sitting around staring at the lake or reading, strolling from one end of the strip to the other, sampling street food or picking out another cheap restaurant to relax in for a few hours. It was fantastic. We weren’t completely idle though. One day we rented a motorscooter and cruised around town, dodging cars and cows and trying to remember to stay on the left side of the road. We drove around to the other side of the lake, parked the bike and started up the trail toward the World Peace Pagoda, a massive Buddhist monument dedicated to, well, world peace. It’s perched on top of a hill overlooking the lake and Pokhara, and the mountains off in the distance make for some spectacular views. We made it up after a stiff little climb, and sat for a while admiring the scenery. Off in the distance we could see paragliders circling lazily down towards the lake from a hill above town, and the boats drifting around the lake below. On a longer trip like the one we’re on it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day life of traveling. We sometimes forget just how amazing the things we’re seeing really are, but then a moment like this one will make us remember all over again. We were in Nepal, on the other side of the world from everyone we knew, and it was amazing. Denae and I feel pretty lucky to be able to do what we’ve been doing the last few years.
Another day we rented a boat and paddled around the lake for a few hours, visiting
the popular island temple midway. We tried to keep a straight face watching the large groups of Japanese package tourists walking around wearing their matching wide brim hats and bright orange life vests, all constantly clicking away with their cameras. Back on land that evening we went well beyond our usual daily food budget when we ordered steak, pasta and cocktails at one of the nicer restaurants. We wanted to go all out, because this was to be our final night in civilization, so to speak. We’d completed the last of our equipment shopping and had everything we needed; tomorrow we were headed off to the mountains. We were going trekking.