The bus left Kathmandu about 7am and was really just a tiny little passion wagon with a few seats squashed in. After meandering through the streets of the vast city for what seemed an eternity we eventually got up into the mountain roads. When you see tiny little mountain passes making their way up mountains on pictures you don’t really give them much thought. But believe me I gave it a lot of thought today. It was not a nice experience at all and I was convinced we would tumble thousands of feet off the edge. At points we were so high up we were above the clouds, it sounds strange but looking out of the window all I could see was a white abyss. It was as surreal as it was hair raising. Eventually the roads dropped and we followed a river for hours and hours, every now and again you would see Indiana Jones style rope bridges across the gorges connecting the huge mountains either side of the valley. The scenery was breathtaking and combined with some ten year old Essential Mix on my Ipod the seven hour journey quickly went by. We were now about as far into Nepal as you can get without going off the beaten track.
Pokhara is touted as being the most beautiful place on earth. Set around a lake is Lakeside, which is actually a lot like a Thai beach location. It has the hippy vibe and Cannabis plants grow freely amongst the banana plantations and mango trees. It is a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and exceptionally relaxed. Lakeside is quite a small place and is surrounded by lush green Rice fields and hills. But overshadowing Pokhara is the Annapurna massif. A collection of huge rocky, snow covered mountains, Pokhara essentially is on the doorstep of the Himalayas and it is stunning. I have never seen mountains as high or as intimidating in my life.
The kids convinced me to hire a boat and paddle out on the lake. I agreed, there weren’t many people around and after I burnt a billion calories getting us to the centre of the lake we sat still, silent in absolute awe at the view which we had. It was dream like in its beauty, the mountains reflected on the lake and as we sat there, in the 30 degree heat I think it changed us a little. Having scaled Volcanoes in Indonesia, seen all of SE Asia, flown over the Grand Canyon and been to such beautiful places like Bali and China I have to say I have never seen anything quite as amazing. By far the most beautiful place I have ever been to and as we sat in the boat at the centre of the Lake, for a moment nothing else mattered.
As we walked back to the hotel past all the craft shops I saw a guy roasting corn on the cob on a small fire at the side of the road. Combined with the smell of incense and the gorgeous weather I took another look at the Annapurna massif and realised we were in paradise and 2 days just wasn’t enough. Things have changed, we’ll be here for a while now – I’m not leaving here in a hurry.