Day 43, Kathmandu to Bhaktapur

This morning we checked out. I had been meant to set an alarm for 3am to skype my friends back in the UK but I neglected to do either of those things.

We had a nice breakfast at a cafe nearby. The bacon wasn’t even weird although it was quite burnt.

We walked out of Thamel to the Swayabhunath stupa. It’s crazy how short a distance you have to go out of the tourist centres to just not see any tourists. The stupa was up a steep flight of about 300 steps.

There were so many flags all over the stupa and a couple of monkeys. I refuse to even look at them anymore, like they’re some kind of little demon that you can’t look directly at or badness will ensue.

We walked back to Thamel and met a guy outside the cafe we were going to who said he’d just done an Everest base camp trek with a big group of doctors to raise money for cancer support and that they’d donated some chemo machines to the local hospital.

We collected our bags from the hotel and started walking towards the bus stop, which would be about ten times cheaper than a taxi. However, I saw a lot of buses go past and they were all jammed full of people and I thought this would be one of those situations where people definitely wouldn’t appreciate us and our bags, so we got a taxi.

Bhaktapur is incredible. Every building in beautifully carved with intricate ancient designs. Our guesthouse is right on the edge of a square with a tiered tower rising from the ground, with statues of lions and other animals up the front steps.

We relaxed this evening and smoked on the balcony, overlooking the tower. There was a concert going on somewhere in town and there were interludes of lovely piano. We tried a Newari platter called a samay baji. It is comprised of beaten rice, barbecued and marinated buffalo meat, fried boiled egg, black soybeans, spicy potato salad, finely cut ginger, boiled beans mixed with spices, green leaves, goat meat and Newa people drink called Ayla. We thought it sounded nice. It was weird. There were so many different flavours and textures and they were so unusual. The flat rice grains, which I was actually expecting to be normal rice, and the soybeans were too hard to eat. I liked the potato parts and the goat patty and egg and boiled beans. There were times when I thought I was enjoying it in an uncertain way but I won’t be ordering it again. Ever. I think the guesthouse owner rates us for getting it though.

Finally have a reliable enough connection to update my blog. There are so many pictures I want to share from my Everest Base Camp Trek, but this is the one that took the most effort. After multiple nights of waiting for weather to clear, then learning that the Milky Way actually doesn’t come out of the horizon until after 1am, I finally got this shot outside of the village Gorak Shep at 3am.

At 16,900 ft, Gorak Shep is the last village before Everest Base Camp. At this elevation, it is difficult to sleep, which ironically, helped me get out of my sleeping bag into the freezing night. I’ve never seen so many stars or the Milky Way so clear before.
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let’s talk about the fact that when we got to this point we were like “aww yeah, nearly there!!” and then it turns out we were less thAN 1/3 OF THE WAY TO THE NEXT STOP AND THERE WERE TEARS IN OUR EYES AND BLISTERS ON OUR FEET AND DEATH IN OUR HEARTS AND WE WALKED FOR ANOTHER 5+ HOURS ugHH everest - the love/hate relationship is real