We arrived at chaotic Kathmandu airport via a seven hour flight from Manchester to Doha, five hours at Doha airport and a five hour onward flight. As instructed we headed out of the airport hoping to find our greeter. Luckily we soon saw him waving to us as he had spotted our bright red Mountain Kingdom kit bags. Kim and his driver took us to our hotel the Shangri-La. He told us that due to a festival Kathmandu was quiet. You could have fooled us!!!
Once the formalities were completed at the hotel we had a few hours to kill before meeting our fellow trekkers. So we did what every sane person would do and headed downtown to find the famous trekkers bar Rum Doodle in the Thamel district. The twenty minute walk was an experience, dust, hot sun, mopeds, way over crowded busses, horns and more dust. Quite a culture shock!
We ordered a beer each and were served with two 680ml bottles of 7% Nepal Ice Strong. Better just have the one after not sleeping for 24 hours.
So back for the welcome meeting. We met the other seven trekkers. Unfortunately it became obvious over the next few days that one of our group wanted to be on his own so we soon became 8+1. The eight of us got on really well. Apart from Sian and I the others were husband and wife Rich and Clare, father and son Kit and Tom and father and son Tony and Peter. The important news was we had to have breakfast at 6.00 for an early flight to Pokhara. The flight, apart from a one hour delay was uneventful with everyone straining for views of the Annapurna Range.
We were met at the airport by our guides and porters, loaded up into a bus and set off through the dusty streets of Pokhara for about a half hour drive to Phedi.
The trek starts, as it means to go on, with a steep path…or should I say steep steps. Every so often a step had a number chalked on it. Shortly after step 1111, we stopped for a well deserved break at small tea house. In the heat cold bottles of sprite and fanta were most welcome. We had a superb view back down the valley.
A short further steep climb brought us to Dhampus and lunch.
After lunch the walking was much easier, and as is normal the clouds came in obscuring any view, still at least there was no rain.
So by mid afternoon we arrived at our first overnight stop at Pothana, a small collection of tea houses. Our rooms were small and basic. Two beds and one light. The good news was that the toilets were “European” as the Nepalis advertise them. Below are a few photos of the village. Click on an image to view larger.