1st Stop: Pokhara
Elisa Korenne – Hundred Miles to Nowhere landed here!
Our tour consists of 3 stops in Nepal: Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini. There were 2 hard parts of our drive. 1st one – Due to the holiday, was getting out of Kathmandu to Pokhara. The roads were filled with cars, buses, trucks, and scooters, packed to the brim, including animals. We visited with a man at supper the night before who was leaving to be with his family. He was going on an 18 hour bus ride, most likely standing most the way. Kyung and William’s house keeper’s trip, would be 2 days driving and 1 day walking to be with her husband’s family. The roads are not all paved smooth like America – it’s a JOURNEY of love – of being together with family. We made it to Pokhara – kuddo’s to our driver, Kumar. I’m going to be giving him lots of kuddo’s with this blog! Amy went paragliding, it was a thrill for her – and a thrill for me to keep my feet on. the. ground. We visited the Seti River gorge, temples and a cave. We also enjoyed an evening boat ride on Phewa Tal (Fewa Lake), and stopped at an island with a temple. We could hear the insects humming … Amy heard them from the sky when she was paragliding. The area we stayed was very low-key compared to Kathmandu and less dusty. The shops were along the lake and it reminded me of a huge Nisswa, Minnesota!
Our third day, Thursday, we headed out early morning for Chitwan National Park. The 2nd hard part … It was a 7 hour drive – 28 miles of it was not paved, with many holes to dodge, dusty, and hot. It reminded me of my grandson showing me an intense video game of dodging all kinds of objects and surviving! The road is 2 lane with huge buses beeping, cars and motorcycles, flashing lights and horns – coming towards you, or passing you before the next on-coming vehicle misses you. Women exquisitely dressed, with scarves flying in the wind or covering their faces to keep out the dust, children nestled tightly between parents on scooters/motorcycles, with packages tied to the sides. The drive was an adventure of its own – with the mountains keeping you company – and Kumar expertly maneuvering every mile. Chitwan is worth every minute of the drive – I promise!
We had a guided walk in a typical Tharu village, a jungle walk, seeing different species of birds, a canoe ride on the Budhi Rapti River and saw crocodiles, who were not interested in us, but watchful. An evening walk delighted us with a rhino … and the next day an elephant back safari. Our mahout was determined to discover animals for us and his elephant walked with ease through the jungle. Lastly, a fun bonus … we enjoyed being with an elephant – and I think he enjoyed having fun with us – cooling us down with many, many sprays, before letting us down in the river. What fun we had! Santa was our guide and a brilliant man with a great sense of humor. He spoke 6 different languages.
I think we’re all having a great time – look at that smile on the elephant ; ) He loved being in the river.
Our last leg of the journey was Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. We made it in 4 hours and the terrain changed greatly. We were in the southern plains. The temperature felt even hotter than in Chitwan. “Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world’s great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from as early as the 3rd century BC.”
We first toured the international monastic zones and saw temples from different countries – China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand. Then we went to the Maya Devi Temple. Pictures weren’t allowed. I wish we could have spent more time here. It was spiritually moving to me, and I’m so grateful to have experienced spending time in this holy city.
As we were leaving for the day … I looked up to the sky …
A beautiful closing to our journey.
We decided rather than drive the 8 hours back to Kathmandu, we’d fly – a 30 minute flight. We were exhausted. The bonus was being able to see the snow covered mountains – spectacular! Kumar said “Ok” to a hug, and sent us off. What a great guy! We had a driver waiting for us at the Kathmandu Airport – and delivered us to Kyung and William’s. All was done with so much ease. Shikhar, with Himalaya Expeditions, Inc, did an excellent job planning this trip for us. He followed up on us periodically – details were taken care of and I highly recommend him for travel planning!
Words are difficult to express emotions, as they are felt with the heart. This has been an emotional journey on so many levels. I am grateful for the gift of life and the ability to be able to live in a time where travel can be done with such ease. Most people on this planet are filled with kindness – it’s a wonder-filled world.
Our days continue in Kathmandu.
For now … I wish you love and peace.