A Snapshot of the Bridges to EBC

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Bridges the Traffic Lights of the Everest Base Camp Trek

via Daily Prompt: Bridge

Small bridge before Gorak Shep going to EBC

The last bridge before Gorak Shep, the last place with lodges before Everest Base Camp. That’s me and our porter guide keeping an eye on me.

Bridges are a common feature of the track as it crosses backwards and forwards over the magnificent roaring rivers snaking through the valleys.

Dudh Kosi Main Trail Lukla to Everest Base Camp

The bridge at the meeting of the Khumbu Khola and the Inja Khola.

Most bridges are high cable suspension bridges.First bridge on the trail to EBCThe first bridge at Chhepplung on our first trek (2013) and I can tell you I was very nervous crossing it. But the bridges carry lots of weight, porters carrying their loads,trekkers, yaks, donkey trains, sometimes the bridge can be full of donkeys. In fact the bridges act as a kind of traffic light on the EBC trek because the bridges are definitely one way. Trying to cross the opposite way to animals or other trekkers is not advisable.

Lower bridge to Namche BazaarLooking down at the lower bridge to Namche Bazaar on the climb to the higher bridge.

IMG_1325The Lower Bridge to Namche BazaarThe two bridges to Namche BazaarHigh bridge on the climb to Namche BazaarThe suspension bridges across to Namche Bazaar

Yep the upper bridge is iconic bridge you see in the films which takes you to climb further to Namche. And that’s the Trainer aka my husband – the reason I crossed all the bridges. And those scary bridges took us to all these wonderful places

IMG_1182IMG_1154IMG_1012IMG_0905IMG_0850IMG_0750with the help of Basanta our wonderful porter guide, of course. The Team below – me, the Trainer and the Porter on top of Kala Pattar in front of Everest with Base Camp below.

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The Bridge List

  1. Chheplung (suspension)
  2. Thado Kosi Gaon (box bridge)
  3. At Phakding (suspension)
  4. At Tok Tok (small new stainless steel bridge)
  5. Near Bengkar (suspension)
  6. At Jorsale (suspension)
  7. Bridge to Namche Bazaar (suspension)
  8. Bridge before Tengboche (suspension)
  9. Bridge to  Phortse ( instead of going via Tengboche) (suspension)
  10. Either one before Periche OR one before Dingboche (depending on your route) The one at Dingboche is pictured here.(top photo)
  11. One small bridge at Dughla not suspension
  12. The last bridge before Gorak Shep – first photo

Another post about the bridges. and then there are the mountains ……

After the 2015 earthquakes a Japanese company assessed the structure of the bridges.

All the photos with the exception of the one with me wearing the pumpkin coloured pack are taken on our September – October 2015 Trek.

Pop-Up Restaurant at Everest Base Camp Aims for Peak of Fine Dining

Talk about an “extreme foodies wish Luist”. Would love to know what they all ate. If you could do this where would it be ?

CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon

Chefs are trekking thousands of feet to prepare fancy food in the cold

Trekkers pass through a glacier at the Mount Everest base camp, Nepal.

The peaks of fine dining just keep getting higher and higher.

A caravan of roving chefs and their 15 guests is currently making its way up the Himalayas toward the base camp at Mount Everest, where, 17,500 feet above sea level and amid the lashing winds and bone-penetrating chill of the Nepalese winter, food will be served.

The One Star House Party, as the project has been dubbed, is preparing 16 more such destination dining experiences, one a month, through 2018, though not all of the destinations are so extreme. Among the chefs involved is James Sharman, a onetime chef de partie at Noma, the influential, soon-to-close restaurant that put Copenhagen on the global culinary map.

The Nepal journey is costing…

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Todd Samson Lobuche East and How Not to Trek in the Himalayas

Todd Samson’s Salute to Sherpas Climbing Lobuche and How Not to Trek in the Himalayas

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No this is not The Trainer re-imagined. And yes Boots, this the infamous Bridge to Namche Bazaar which looks pretty tame from this angle. What Todd Samson has been getting up to lately is far from tame.

Todd Samson is an Australian Canadian television celebrity  well known for his appearance on Gruen Transfer and currently in a show called Body Hack.

Each episode looks at a different group of people who are involved in extreme activity and how the body copes with it. Taking it one step further Todd Samson walks in their shoes for a period of time. The Nepalese episode looked at the life of the Sherpa people who work as porters along the Everest Base Camp Trail.

Todd attempted to carry a 30 kilo pack along the trail. It looked more than 30 kilos to me. Safe to say he didn’t get very far with it, well at least we didn’t see him continuing to carry it along the track. The team – the Sherpas, Todd and the television crew for some reason were in a hurry to get to Lobuche East Base Camp to summit the mountain. So they ascended 600 metres each day to get to the point to summit Lobuche East, which  I assume is called Lobuche East Base Camp. Six hundred  metres a day! Six zero zero.

The Rules

Increasing your altitude more than 300 metres a day is not recommended so increasing altitude  600 metres is nothing short of crazy. As he kept saying on the program. Don’t try this at home. Don’t try this in Nepal either. That someone didn’t die is amazing. They also summit-ed Lobuche East.

I wrote a section about the altitude rule of not ascending more than 300 metres per day on this post.

Anyway the man is a mad. A self confessed adrenaline junkie. Imagine living with him?!

Below the map shows Everest and Lobuche East peak that Todd Samson climbed after he way too quickly to the Lobuche East Base Camp.

Incidentally if anyone is wondering what we are doing next? There are two versions. Mine and the Trainer’s. He wants to climb a mountain. Island Peak to be precise. I have told him where he can put that idea.

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Fashion on the Track

Striding Through Pheriche in the Khumbu

Periche

Here I am walking through Periche looking like the Michelin Man. There are lots of terrible shots of me on the trek with hat hair, up way too close etc. Showers are a rare thing on the track, so is clean hair and there are no mirrors. Complete with the hat and given today is the first Tuesday in November, the day of the nation stopping Melbourne Cup (horse race) I decided on a twist the Fashion on the Track theme. Tongue in cheek of course. However my ensemble does show off some accessories that you shouldn’t leave home for Everest Base Camp without.

The Buff

The buff is the red and pink around my nose and mouth. It is a tube of stretchy fabric.

A veteran trekker told me a buff was useful because the trail can be dusty. It wasn’t dusty in September October last year but it was in November December 2013 after the track had dried out and there was more traffic on the track too. Given the dust entering your nostrils could be dried out donkey and yak dung it’s a good idea.

Most of the porters wear a buff or some sort of scarf around their nose and mouth. It helps with the dreaded Khumbu Cough.

I saw buffs in Melbourne priced at $30. We bought ours in Namche Bazaar after seeing the need because of the dust. I bought some more in Kathmandu for 60 cents.They are always at hand around your neck and not bulky like a scarf. Get one, or two they are great.

The Hat and Sunglasses

Our Porter on the Everest Base Camp Trek

I took prescription sunglasses.You need a hat. Mine was the butt of many jokes between the Trainer and the Porter but that squash-able packable hat served me well. That’s Basanta our porter guide with it on.

The Fleece Headband

Underneath the hat is a fleece headband to keep my ears warm. It might look silly but it was early in the morning I wanted warmth and sun protection.

The Trekking Poles

Don’t leave home without these. Mine are quite heavy but it hasn’t bothered me. I bought them in Melbourne for our 2013 trek and trained and trained with them up and down hills around home and I realised the muscles I was using. Ooww. Some people trek with one pole but I was used to two from the start. Using poles may seem like an affectation to some but they do help especially  down hill. They save your knees by cushioning the impact. I won’t trek without them.

There are lots of poles for sale along the trail between Lukla and Namche.

The Jacket

My jacket is not down filled but filled with some poly fibre. It worked fine for me.

The Story of the Photo

It was Day Thirteen , we headed out from Lobuche through Periche and Shomare to Pangboche. The trail is more or less flat through Periche so I’m not using my poles. Periche is where you can hear the acclimatisation talk at the medical post run by the Himalayan Rescue Organisation .Walking through there were piles of stone from the earthquake damage. We stopped to use a toilet in one of the lodges so I bought a cup of tea and enjoyed it in the sun.

Waking up in Gorak Shep

While on the subject of hats, this is me in Gorak Shep getting dressed in my sleeping bag because of the cold. I’m doing a  good impersonation of Marge Simpson don’t you think?

Weather Forecast at EBC

Believe It or Not

Everest Base Camp Trail Weather Pyramid

Italian Weather Pyramid out of Lobuche in the direction of Gorak Shep

The Weather Cam at Everest Base Camp or thereabouts. The Trainer was in search of a short black….

 

 

Dingboche Door Framed View

Lodge in dingboche Everest Base Camp trek

Our lodge in Dingboche

Dingboche Everest Base Camp Trail Nepal

Dingboche in the Imja Khola Valley 4360 m/ 14,300 ft

Our lodge’s front door in Dingboche. One of my favourite places on our trek to Everest Base Camp trek. Have you trekked somewhere special? Where was your favourite place along the trail?

In response Thursday Doors  from Norm 2.0 blog

Climbing to Namche Up Down Up Down Down Down Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up

Day Two Phakding to Monjo 2013  and Phakding to Namche Bazaar 2015

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Above is the suspension bridge at Upper Phakding. We stayed at the lodge just above the end of the bridge in the photo on the way back down from our 2013 trek. The bridge is the site of my donkey video.

PLANNING THE TREK BY THE SEASONS

When planning our trek for late September we expected some rain.We had light rain while exploring Phakding in the late afternoon and when setting out on Day Two. Fortunately it was light, I couldn’t bear wearing wet pants all day and having issues drying clothes as I only had one spare pair of pants. Our light waterproof jackets did the trick.

On our 2013 trek we stayed the second night in Monjo so Day Three would be a shorter walk and leave more energy for the big climb to Namche. We spent the afternoon on a slow exploratory walk through the Monjo.

I was quite keen to stay in Monjo again 2015 because I liked the lodge we stayed in and the woman who owned it. So we pencilled in Monjo for Day Two destination with the option of continuing. We set out early from Phakding and felt great and were at Monjo late morning so we decided to keep going after having lunch. Even though it was a light lunch I wouldn’t do it again. Climbing the hill on an empty stomach would have been better.

Not far from Phakding towards Namche Bazaar Nepal

Starting out from Phakding and being careful not to slip. Another reason trekking poles are good. To stop you from slipping and to stop yourself if you do start to slip.

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If I am wearing a purple pack it is a 2015 photo. If I have a pumpkin coloured on my back it is 2013. Colour coded treks. Just joking.

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Monjo. Literally on the trail, a hot shower. Pass.

Prayer Stones in Nepal

Mani rocks in Monjo – sunny afternoon when exploring Monjo November 2013

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After Monjo,  buildings were propped up because of earthquake damage. There was a lot of damage and rebuilding before and after Phakding.

TIMS checkpoint Everest Base Camp

Trekkers’ Information Management System Card – Don’t Leave Home Without One

TIMS checkpoint at the entrance into the Sagarmantha National Park. Click for external link to the TIMS website

Old lady carrying cabbages

This woman was behind me and then overtook me. She must have been carrying 40 kilos of cabbages and she looked about 80. (2013)

Jorsale Everest Base Camp trek

Jorsale 2740metres taken from the one of the many bridges.

Double Diamond Cafe 2805 metres , Jorsale Nepal

Diamond Diamond Cafe at Jorsale 2805 metres

Bridges across Dudh Kosi Gorge Main Trail to Everest Base Camp

Rule Number Three : Cross the high bridge to Namche Bazaar.

Walking above the river bed to go UP to the top bridge. In 2013 on the way back down to Phakding we somehow (we didn’t have Porter guide on this occasion) ended up on the lower bridge. We had been told to cross the higher bridge. So we made our back up to cross the higher bridge but not before a thwacked my head on a low rock. Ow! I think that is one of the reasons they tell people to cross the higher bridge. The lower bridge had some really tricky bits to the point of being dangerous

Bridges across to Nacmhe Bazaar hill

The Bridges to Namche Bazaar

High bridge on the climb to Namche Bazaar

High Bridge to Namche looking very innocent from this angle.

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Why I needed a mirror. Just above the bridge to Namche – the Trainer in the background. Despite my hair, I love this photo. The Dudh Kosi river below.

Fruit Sellers and Toilets

Everest Base Camp Trek

Fruit sellers on the Everest Base Camp trail on the climb to Namche Bazaar.They weren’t there on our 2015 trek. Probably because there were so few trekkers and maybe because of the time of the year. There were no flights for five days following our flight in due to bad weather. People started flying in with the helicopters. Another reason not many trekkers.

The First and Last View of Everest

The first and last view of Everest. We didn’t see this view in 2015 because there was so much cloud. But we knew it was there. Also this is the same point where the orange sellers are and importantly, a toilet. Yes it is a squat toilet but it was reasonable. And there aren’t many spots to just go behind a bush. Like none.

On toilets, I was lucky I never desperately needed to go to the toilet and had nowhere to go. I did discover a GO GIRL in a trekking gear shop before my second trek. The girl on the desk said her rock climbing girl friend used one. That made a lot of sense. I bought one and did try it out but not on the trek. You need to practice with it. Here is the GO Girl site. The joys of being a woman.

Coming into Namche Bazaar

TIMMS checkpoint Everest Base Camp trek

Are we there yet? Another TIMS checkpoint coming into Namche Bazaar. When you see this don’t get too excited, there are still a few more hills yet. And it is all UP UP UP UP.

Keep your eyes pealed at this point for the beautifully coloured bird called Himalayan Monal. A saw a quick glimpse of one but only because Basanta our porter guide pointed it out. I would have never have seen him otherwise. He must be a male, right?

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Trek To Namche Bazaar

Walking into Namche Bazaar – the last hill and then you are nearly into the town. In 2015 with Basanta our porter guide we didn’t end up coming this way. We took another track. I thought there was only one. This alternate track was very narrow and not used much. We came out near the top of the town and walked down to our lodge from there.

The Kwangde Range Above Namche Bazaar

The Kwangde Range above Namche Bazaar

Shops line Namche Bazaar trail

Shops selling handicrafts and trekking gear line in Namche Bazaar

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The lodge In Namche Bazaar where that we have stayed four times now. To give you an idea of how slow the season was, the first night in 2015 there was only one other room occupied.

Namche Bazaar Everest Base Camp

Namche Bazaar November 2013 – cold but sunny, warmish days

Namche Bazaar Nepal

Namche Bazaar September 2015 – cloudy, mild days

Even climbing from the top to the bottom of Namche Bazaar alone, is a killer. Our lodge was the  big one with red roof just to the right of the centre of the photo.

I am really glad we didn’t stay in Monjo. How the itinerary worked out over the next few days, I believe helped with our successful acclimatisation.

The next post will be Day Three and Four Acclimatisation Days and  Day Four 2015 Trek to Everest Base Camp. With an extra day up our sleeve, we walk to Khumjung and stay there adding another night at a bit higher altitude than Namche Bazaar. In a way making three nights rather than two at a similar altitude.

Other posts

Day Three to Namche Bazaar 2013    2015  

Day One Lukla to Phakding 2013

25 Reasons to Trek to Everest Base Camp 

Donkey Central at Phakding – Chuk Chuk – Video

Rule Number Two: Give Way to the donkeys too.

I posted this video on Facebook on our first trek in November December 2013. It was taken on my iphone and I couldn’t really see the screen. It gives you an idea of the number of donkeys on the trek and also why you don’t want to be on the bridge at the same time.

This is taken from the lodge right on the river and bridge in Upper Phakding where we had slept the night on our return trek in 2013. We had eaten breakfast and were just about to cross the bridge when there were donkeys everywhere.

You may notice me struggling to find the correct words at some points. One of the things I love about the trek is the peace. Left to plod along quietly and watch were you are walking. I wasn’t doing a lot of talking. Consequently sometimes I couldn’t think of the word I wanted!

Sadly there were hardly any donkeys on the trek in 2015. Reasons? The slow season but probably it was also due to the trade embargo India imposed on Nepal. The gas bottles came from India on trucks and then up the mountain with the donkeys.

Anyway I loved the donkeys and sometimes did a little donkey traffic control from the side lines if the donkeys stopped and the donkeys herder had gone on ahead.

Donkeys on EBC Trek

Keeping the slow donkeys moving from the safety of the sidelines. CHUK!

Heading Out from Lukla for Everest Base Camp – Day One to Phakding

 

trek n.1. a long difficult journey, esp. on foot 2. SA journey or stage, esp by ox wagon            3. make a trek  – trekker 

Saying Goodbye in Melbourne

In September 2015 my husband and I flew to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp. At the departure hall at Melbourne Airport saying goodbyes to our adult daughters,  the eldest hugged her father and said

                          “Dad, go easy on Mum remember it’s her holiday too.”  She turned                                      to me and said “Mum, ….man up.”

And with that sage advice…

Why I’m posting another version of our treks

On the first anniversary of our 2015 trek to Everest Base Camp I’m revisiting  the posts to compare some aspects of the 2013 trek, what we did differently, what factors contributed to the treks successes, how the weather, conditions and routes differed and to add extra content.

Debuche,  December 2013 and somewhere between
Mongla and Phortse Tenga September 2015

Meeting Doma and Lhakpa

We met Doma, our contact in Kathmandu, at our hotel. She had organised our return air tickets to Lukla, our TIMS card (the passport for the Khumbu area) and our porter – guide. In 2013, Doma had arranged this minus the porter.

Her husband Lhakpa was with her. After hearing about him and seeing his stunning photographs on Facebook it was nice to finally meet him. We discussed our itinerary with Lhakpa and decided to trek through Phortse for the views, rather than Tengboche.

Fortunately as it turned out, Doma said she would meet us with the air tickets to Lukla at the airport the next morning.

 Nearly Missing the Plane to Lukla

Most organised treks stay at Phakding the first night. How your day pans out really depends on when you fly into Lukla. The first flight is at sixish and if it is delayed so are all the other flights for the rest of day. Naturally everyone wants to be on early flights given they have to walk for three or four hours once they reach Lukla.

In 2013 we were unable to take off from Kathmandu for about three hours waiting for fog to lift. That was late November. Fortunately we were one of the first flights on that day and we were the first flight last year too. Last year we very nearly missed the flight due to the driver at the hotel sleeping in! Fortunately as Doma was at the airport to meet us she had people at every check point waiting for us to run in, rush us through and shepherd us to the next point. I have never been processed so fast in an airport, in my life.We waited a few minutes before getting on the bus to drive out to the plane on the tarmac to the plane.

9N-AKE at Kathmandu Airpot

Flying to Lukla

In 2013 I was very nervous flying into the infamous Tenzing-Hillary airport at Lukla. Here it is. About the size of a postage stamp.Yes you can see the entire length of the strip. No room for error but the pilots fly the route day in and day out.

Lukla Airport landing strip

Having done a return flight to Lukla before, I was feeling relaxed about taking the flight again in 2015. Until the earthquakes. Then I was anxious about another large tremor or a landslide. Imagine a major tremor happening while you are in the air and something happening to the air strip? I get anxious about some things…A lot of things actually.

At Lukla Airport

There were men waiting and hoping for porter jobs at the airport. I can’t imagine these days with the internet and the huge number of trekking agencies in Kathmandu many people would organise a porter at this point.

We were met at the airport by our porter guide Basanta. He took our bags and we walked to the other side of the runway to the Paradise Lodge. I had a very teary moment looking down on the runway relieved that we were finally there and feeling we had made the right decision to come.

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We organised ourselves at the Paradise Lodge, had a cup of tea and organise ourselves before heading off. For our first trek, Doma in Kathmandu suggested we leave our air tickets with Dawa the lodge owner, for safe keeping. This worked well for us as we turned back at Shomare and we needed to fly out earlier. Her son re arranged  our flights while we were still on the trail back down. So we left our tickets with Dawa again, told her when we would return and stay the night at the lodge before flying out.

I got very teary seeing Dawa again.When we left she zipped up my fleecy top, held my shoulders and told me me she would see me again when we got back from Base Camp. Reassurance. Yes, we would make it this time and we would be safe.

Number One Rule of The Mountains Trekking Out of Lukla

I imagine before trekking companies leave on a trek  they meet with their trekkers about what to expect on the trek. Some dos and don’ts before they leave Kathmandu. Although we were not part of a formal group I knew what to expect the Trainer had trekked in the Annapurna region in the 80s and he had researched etc. As we set off in 2013 I knew what he called number one rule of the mountain.

Rule 1 Stick to the mountain side when animals are passing. You don’t want to get pushed over the side of the mountain by a donkey or yaks plodding past.

No sooner had we stepped out to the main street of Lukla, the first yak train passed with their beautiful yak bells ringing.

It felt so surreal. I had all the gear. Had trained, knew about the challenges ahead, but I never done anything like it before. I felt like a person in the wrong body.

This is me (below) with my pumpkin coloured pack setting out in 2013. The sign was advertising the Everest Marathon in a few days. Ironically we were to see the official one set off on our second EBC trek in 2015.

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The track varied incredibly on the first day from cobblestones in Lukla,  quite even meandering parts, to rocky steps and very rocky sections. In the general scheme of things it is an easy day. We now know to double the time needed in one guide book. A second guide  book now seems closer to the mark. It took four hours for us to get to Phakding.

The track is the same path through the little villages and can be quite narrow in parts. Shared by trekkers, porters, pack animals ( yaks, donkeys and horses ) and kids on their way to school and is quite busy. I have selected the photos to show the variety aspects of the track on the first day.

Walking to Phakding

The track is fairly flat and not many rocks here – that is the exception

Between Lukla and Phakding

The track is described is an easy downhill walk to Phakding. I remember thinking for a lot of the first day thinking to myself – you’ve got to be kidding me. I learnt you have to go uphill sometimes to go downhill.

Prayer wheel at Ghat Everest Base Camp trek

The first day you get a taste of everything. The animals, the porter resting spots, the prayer wheels, the stupas, the mani walls and mani stones. Oh and the bridges, can’t forget those.

Porters loads at a resting point on the EBC Trek

 

Mani walls Everest Base Camp Trek Nepal

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Although the trail is in a remote part of the world it has rural feel in lower section before the climb to Namche. There are lots of little villages along the trail. There are many lodges before Phakding where most treks stay the first night. But not everyone goes all the way to Base Camp and also if a flight is delayed and or flew in later in the afternoon I guess trekkers can stay in one of the lodges before Phakding.

Main trail Lukla to Kala Patthar at Phakding

Arriving in Phakding early afternoon  September 2015 (above)

 

Royal Sherpa Phakding

Arriving late afternoon November 2013 – the sun disappearing behind the hills

An Extremely Quiet Trek and Season

Last year when we trekked it was extremely quiet. There were three reasons for this.

  1. We trekked at the end of the rainy season. October is the beginning of the second trekking season.
  2. Many tourists were scared off after the two earthquakes.
  3. After our flight and the three flights that followed (the four consecutive flights) there were no more flights into Lukla for four or five days due to bad weather. Some trekkers did fly in by helicopter.

Showers on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Having had a late afternoon shower experience in 2013 at the lodge above I was keen not to repeat the experience last year.The first year we had our own bathroom. Last year we did not shower despite being the only people in the hotel because of the quiet season. I was prepared to wait for a lovely hot shower in Namche.

Showers are an interesting experience on the EBC trek. They are few and far between. Controlling water temperature is very tricky and is likely to be scalding hot followed by freezing cold. And brief. While you dry off expect to be cold unless it a warm and mid afternoon.

 Other related first day posts

Day One 2013

Day One 2015 

Bridges 

Beautiful Bhaktapur Nepal

Beautiful, peaceful Bhaktapur once the royal city for Nepal situated 20 kilometres  east of Kathmandu. An easy day trip and well worth the time.

Bhaktapur Nepal

Durbar Square Bhaktapur Nepal

Bhaktapur Nepal

Bhaktapur Nepal

Durbar Square Bhaktapur Nepal

Durbar Square Bhaktapur Nepal

The Pottery Area in Bhaktapur (below)

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Stepping Out in Thamel Kathmandu

Thamel the Tourist Precinct of Kathmandu

Barbie stepping out in Thamel

We all know Barbie gets around but we were a little surprised , to find Marzipan Barbie, stepping out in our favourite bakery in Thamel. I suggested my husband pose with her. He’s the master mind, researcher and driver behind our two treks to Everest Base Camp and The Trainer in my blog.

The bakery is behind the HOT Breads sign and the tangle of wires in the photo below. It has a pleasant roof area where enjoyed coffee, pastries and cake on a number of occasions.

This T intersection was a major navigating point for us and the site of two of the three hotels we stayed in.This shot was in September last year when hardly any tourists visited Nepal due to the earthquakes.

Thamel is the most popular place for tourists and trekkers to stay in Kathmandu. It has lots of accommodation, great places to eat, shopping for trekking gear and handicrafts, Durbar Square  and the old part of Kathmandu close by.

Thamel Street Kathmandu

When we stayed here in 2013 the evening had a constant stream of motorbikes and also cars and bikes. Pedestrians  share the street, there are no footpaths in Thamel. At the time there were Australian travel warnings to stay away from crowds and possible protests. We purposely avoided booking accommodation near Durbar Square, an obvious place for protests. In the evening we came out of our hotel in the photo to find a gathering of police. With broom sticks. Automatically my danger radar went on. Ironically we had found ourselves in a potential hot spot, or so it seemed. I wondered what they were expecting to happen. We went off to eat. Later when the traffic got crazy we saw what the sticks were for. Anyone speeding at the intersection on a motorbike  received a great crack on their back with the broom stick. Traffic control, of course.

thamel-street

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Kathmandu is a great for eating places, lots of different cuisines, extensive menus and some in garden settings. We were careful NOT to eat meat. If you saw the butchers you would understand. Before flying to Lukla and starting our trek we ate at at La Dolce Vita to be on the safe side. Besides who could resist a little bit of Italy in Kathmandu?

Italian restaurant menu in Kathmandu

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There are hundreds of places to stay in Kathmandu. In the streets you can buy trekking gear, book treks and day tours and search for handicrafts, jewellery and clothes. We found a few good map shops here, having a map is good idea if you are trekking.

Some main historic sites to visit are Durbar Square an easy walk from Thamel. Keep an eye out for the so called Holy Men. I regret not paying to photograph them and their amazing face powder and hair styles, with bits stuck in it. My first time in Durbar Square gave me an adrenaline rush. You know that I’m back in Asia feeling. The photo below is me in November 2013. Sadly the area was badly damaged in the quake.

Durbar sq pigeons me

Durbar Square - the pigeons and me,

Durbar Square

Other places worth a visit are Swayambhunath Stupa (take a taxi) the steps up to the stupa are great climbing practice, the Ghats or Pasupanthinath (take a taxi) also a heritage site and I recommend a guide to explain everything, it is so interesting. The Garden of Dreams is nice for a wander especially after a trek. There are a few photos in the this post. But the best place is Bhaktapur 20 km east of Kathmandu. Once a royal city it is a UNESCO site and closed to traffic and so peaceful after Kathmandu. In 2013 we took a car (as opposed to a taxi) and driver who waited for us. Unfortunately the old city was damaged in the first earth quake and I’m not sure of  the extent of the damage. Any bloggers who can leave an update in the comments section would be great.

Kathmandu is a Photographer’s Delight

There are interesting lane ways to explore for  photographic opportunities. Leave the streets of Kathmandu and walk down the lanes and just keeping going. Don’t worry about getting lost, you will, trust me. Just don’t forget to take the address of where your hotel is and some photos of nearby landmarks and you will be fine. You will come out to a main street or road sooner or later.

Thamel area Kathmandu

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Kathmandu Shop selling locks

Kathmandu Streets

Kathmandu Streets

Banana Seller Kathmandu

 

 

 

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One more thing, Kathmandu is quite dusty was quite bad in November 2013. People were wearing masks, I guess it is smog but also there is seems to be a lot of brick making and cement making  the valley which I think contributes. When we were there in late September a year ago today in fact, it was the end of the wet season the dust didn’t seem to be as bad. just thinking about asthma sufferers.

Oh and the scary wiring everywhere, apparently are internet connections not electricity.

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To Walk to Hike to Trek

Climb Every Mountain

A year ago today we, The Trainer (also my husband and not a personal trainer) and I flew from Melbourne into Kathmandu to trek to Everest Base Camp. We nearly cancelled the trip because of the earthquakes but had trained so much, we agreed to go. Two years earlier we had gone even though I didn’t  really want to go. We trained hard for the trek, we walked, biked, stepped, climbed, stretched and hiked for six months and in fact over trained but we didn’t make it to Base Camp.

In September 2015 we were well and truly prepared to try again. We had trained for six months  – general fitness then building up to more intense training in the last three months, treadmill, walks, bike rides, stretching, stair training and I guess you could say hiked. I looked up a few definitions of hike.

hike    walk for a long distance, especially across country.
“they hiked across the moors”   synonyms: walk, go on foot, trek, tramp, trudge, traipse, slog, footslog, plod, march

We hiked, I trudged and tramped all over the river area near where we live and all over the hills in our neighbourhood with my trekking gear, boots, packs and trekking poles.

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This was much to the puzzlement of commuters passing by and to the amusement of hospital patients in their beds looking out the window onto one of our practising hills. No sooner did I arrive at the top of the hill than the Trainer pointed back down at the bottom, striding off leaving me resting at the top. I would get to the bottom and he strode back up telling me how many more times he wanted me to go up and down. Each training session he would add a little more water to the bottles in my back pack  slowly increasing its weight. Which brings me to the second definition which resonates with me:

hike – to walk or march a great distance, especially through rural  areas, for pleasure, exercise, military training, or the like.
Military training! Yes. And most the time it wasn’t pleasurable. I would come home from work  and have a backpack thrown at me and was told to get changed. Rain or shine, out we went. By the time we left for Kathmandu we were training five days a week including week nights. By the last week I was exhausted and near tears when he suggested a final training session.  That was in 2013. Last year I told him what I thought of his idea.
So Hike I think I know all about it. But have to add that I had never really hiked  or trekked before. So you hike to train for the trek because it is very hard to train for trekking. You experience trekking because trekking supposes some huge challenge and a journey in the big sense of the word, which trekking to Everest Base Camp is. And it is so worth all the training, it is the best thing I have ever done.
EBC Trek Dingboche Ridgetop

At 4200 metres on the Dingboche Ridgetop

I am retracing our steps over the next few weeks, re-blogging posts adding new material and combining some of the 2013 and 2015 trek posts so you can see the difference  a few months can make to the trek in terms of the weather. Adding more basic information too. Why don’t you join us, the Trainer and me?
Louise – and yes I am  over fifty. I have read some horror stories posted by young bloggers trekking to Everest Base Camp . Those treks are usually done too fast ( hence the vomiting and terrible headaches) and I will bet the ones complaining about all the aches and pains have not trained. Perhaps they need  a Trainer?
Above Pangboche Everest Base Camp trek

Above Pangboche

Other posts you may like to read.
An example of our last months training 2015
This post fitted perfectly with the Daily Post word prompt HIKE

Reminiscing – the Trip of My Life

The Best Travel Adventure

Trekking to Everest Base Camp

I had travelled through the Sahara and been to Timbuktu, seen Iguazu Falls and Rio and lived in Milan and Buenos Aires and was about to go on the trip of my life but I didn’t know it. I sat on the couch with a small pot of expensive lip moisturiser in my hands and tears in my eyes.  I was exhausted from training five times a week and had just managed to get out of another session with my tears. I had just had been weighed in by The Trainer. He was being tough. I could take 5.5 kilos in my back pack and the lip moisturiser didn’t make the cut. I couldn’t take my little pot of luxury on the trek unless I cut weight from my essentials. I would be carrying it up the hills.

That was November 2013 just before leaving for our first trek attempt to Everest Base Camp. In my fifties I was feeling fitter than I had ever felt in my life, had trained for over six months and in preparing for the trek attempted things I had never tried before. My first 5 kilometres run, for one.

Four weeks later back in Melbourne, despite having not reached our destination it was still the most amazing travel adventure of my life. I was glowing. I wanted to tell the world what am amazing experience I had had. We planned to return and reach Everest Base Camp. It was a lesson of if you don’t succeed the first time try again.

This time last year, we went again and we made it. We made it. And it was the best.

Too Cool for Memes

Base Camp is at our feet and Everest above the Trainer’s head. Obviously the weight standards dropped on the second trek. That yellow wig made it into the pack and into the iconic shots.

See me getting to the top of Kala Patthar

The 2015 Trek – day by day 

The 2013 Trek – day by day

Facebook Flashback

Couch with sleeping bag

Facebook tells me it was one year ago today- the sleeping bags were being aired and I was nervously psyching myself up for the big picture. Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Tabouche, Ama Dablam, Kantenga, Thamserku, Kala Patthar. Nervous and worried about landslides and aftershocks.

Recharging in Nepal

Resting Spots Along the Trail to Everest Base Camp

A post about the porters on my Everest Base Camp Trek blog is long overdue. The Daily Post Daily Prompt Recharge has given me a perfect launching point.

Trekking through the Khumbu you see resting points for porters to unload, rest and recharge. These resting spots are at a height so the porters can easily unload and reload onto their backs without having to lift their load from the ground. Porters loads at a resting point on the EBC TrekThe photo shows the typical oversized baskets called a doko used by porters. The T-shaped wooden walking stick at the bottom left of the screen is called a tokma. Continue reading