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oh darling, let's be adventurers! To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote...


INDIA | Monday, 9 September 2013 | Views [844] | Comments [5]

We absolutely loved our time staying in Old Manali! Such a stunning place nestled between mountains and surrounded by forest. I realised I'd missed trees! The chilled-out vibe, great little cafes with terraces practically hanging out over the river and the variety of cool things to do meant that our original idea of staying for 2 nights naturally changed to 5.

We were lucky to arrive during the grand apple picking season and because our beautiful guest house was set within an apple orchard we were lucky enough to watch local men, women and children climbing and picking apples from the trees, and then carrying large wicker baskets full of apples to the area where they would be washed by hand before being packed into boxes and loaded onto trucks for distribution.

When we first arrived in Manali, our friend Smita gave us the low-down that Manali is a bit of a hippie hang-out as cannabis grows wild all over the Parvati Valley. She was right, never before have we seen it growing in such abundance and never before have we been offered hash by anyone 70 years of age! Hilarious! The funny thing is that apparently in Hindi 'to smoke' is called 'to marley', Bob certainly has some coverage here! The locals were surprised we were in the valley for any other reason than for smoking, we had other plans.

We spent one day walking up through Old Manali to the Manu Temple. The cute little man who was looking after the temple took us round and introduced us to all the different Gods and insisted on taking photos of me with each of them. He loved being told he was an 'expert' photographer. He painted bindi's on each of our foreheads before handing us temple blessed sugared rice. The people here are very beautiful and kind.

We spent another day exploring the other side of the valley and took a trip rock climbing with the help of a local 'guide' who showed us up to one of the crags. His rope skills were dubious, it was laughable that I was showing him how to tie a figure-of-8 knot before we started the climb! In safe hands..or maybe (k)not!

That evening Rohith and Sam arrived, friends we'd met in Leh. They'd braved the same journey as us over the Himalayas, but they'd done it in a oner by jeep - 22 hours straight! Even so, they were still up for paragliding the following day, which we'd planned to do together whilst in Manali.

We had a cracking morning the following day, best in Manali so far. We set off early and it took half an hour to reach the landing area by car. It turned out to be a popular day for paragliding so we had to wait for a while. When it was our turn we squeezed into the open-top jeep (very randomly along with the Korean guy who we'd rafted with in Leh, who also happened to be paragliding in Manali on the same day!), and travelled up through the most incredible, lush mountains, it was like something from Lord of the Rings, with huge waterfalls and vultures soaring above us. A magical journey. When we reached the jumping off point my legs started to feel a bit like jelly. Because we'd opted for the longer flight time we had to wait for the right conditions, the thermals, before we could fly. The instructor told us that the best way to tell when the conditions were right was to notice when the vultures were soaring on the thermals, it's a technical business! We were just hoping we were in safe hands for this one! When we were given the go ahead we got rigged up and it was time to go, without a moment to hesitate..I watched Sam and Klas take off and float away into the beautiful canopy and I was next! What an experience!! It truely felt like flying! The view was out of this world, everything below looked peaceful, serene and so green!! I could see Klas, floating a little below me. I didn't want to come down! The closest I'll get to being a bird I reckon! Incredible!! We're already talking about round-two in Nepal!

The following day I was keen to try acupressure so we booked in for half an hour each before leaving Manali. Oh my goodness a massage like no other. I had the main guy Su Jok and Klas had the apprentice. I wish it had been the other way round! This guy's fingers were like pincers! The pain! I kept making all kinds of agonising sounds but it didn't deter him - I've never had a massage where my fingers, toes and arms had been pulled out of joint! I have also never had my throat massaged!? Very strange! I couldn't help visibly whincing and yelping in pain! To top it off the massage ended by being slapped on the forehead 200 times in the same spot! I fear I have but few brain cells left! As it turned out this was a fantastic thing to do first thing in the morning, we felt like all the muscles had been given a wake-up call! Feeling wide awake we said farewell to Rohith and Sam who were headed back home to Kerala. Klas and I jumped on the local bus bound for Naggar, our next stop.




This made me laugh so much, it was the slapping on the forehead bit, amazing...hope you are ok after that!! Sounds like you both are having an amazing time, enjoying the posts, muchos love to you both xxxx

  Anna Sep 13, 2013 6:23 AM



  Anna Sep 13, 2013 6:23 AM


Thanks for nice Friday-entertainment. I hope your muscles feeling well.. :-) Can't stop thinking about forehead massage!

  Karin Sep 14, 2013 5:00 AM


Sounds wonderful, eeeek can imagine the acupressure! Xxx

  Liz Sep 15, 2013 4:36 AM


A very funny vision (the massage). Paragliding sounds scarey but amazing. Still chuckling about the (k) not joke! Im very simple :-)

  katy smith Sep 18, 2013 7:21 AM



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