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NEPAL | Sunday, 16 June 2013 | Views [399]

It's going to be difficult to put 3 weeks of intense hiking and touring around Kathmandu into 1 blog entry, but I'm going to try. 

Kathmandu is an interesting city. It has 2 main religions: Buddhism and Hindu and the cultural norms combine both of those into a very male dominated society. My initial impressions was that the city itself felt like what India might feel like: crowded and hot. I was right about that one. The stupas are stunning and have stunning views as most of them overlook the city and sit high on hills. Durbar Square is a fascinating mix of old buildings used for a variety of purposes. The 'square' sits in the middle of the city and is an open square (doesn't have a big wall around it). 
Thamel (the tourist section) is about the size of 8 city blocks where the streets twist and turn and its easy to get lost on first arrival, but once you figure it out its easy to move around. Men come up to you ad they try to get you to buy needless crap as women come up and beg for money to feed their children. Even the dogs on the street will try to follow you to get food. Most buildings have some sort of tourist shop on the ground level (either books & maps, hippie clothes, or hiking gear) and either a restaurant or bar on the second level which always includes a 'roof-top view' but only about 50% actually have them. 
The trek up to and down from Everest Base Camp was amazing. There were a couple of days where the physical exertion was almost too much, but i bet almost anyone who works out regularly and who could adjust to the altitude could do that trek. I had a little bit of altitude sickness once I reached 4000 meters, but i started taking the Diamox (altitude sickness medicine) and an Advil and i was fine. 
The views of the mountains were some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring natural wonders. 
One particular highlight was watching the sun set on the peak of Everest-while everything else in view was shades of blue, black or white, the peak remained red/orange for a few more minutes until the clouds rolled in and submerged us in grey. 
It wasn't what i was expecting but it was all happily unexpected. 
Our group was supposed to fly back to Kathmandu from a small airport called Lukla (the most dangerous airport in the world) but the weather wasn't relenting enough to even let a single flight in for about a week. There was the option to pay for a helicopter ($500) to fly us back to Kathmandu, but a couple of us were tossing around the idea of walking back part of the way until the first main city with road and catching a bus from there- so i decided to go with them. I changed my flight to Vienna for a week later, showered, did some laundry and started walking the next day. 
A very long story short- it took 19 hours walking and about another 19 hours in basically a Toyota 4-Runner to get back to Kathmandu. It was just under 4 days total to do that, which meant i got another 4 days in Kathmandu. 
I love Nepal. It was amazing. I had a lot of fun, met some amazing people (Matt) and learned a little more about myself. Im sure ill come back one day, i still have some hiking to do around here. 

Tags: everest base camp, kathmandu, nepal, trekking

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