After the excitement of paragliding, the rest of the week was about taking it easy. Tuesday started with a walk to Devi’s Falls, a gushing waterfall that snaked through rock before pouring down into deep caves. Although it was nice to visit, I think it paled in comparison to the Claddagh Glen back in my home county of Fermanagh, but maybe I’m biased. As it wasn’t far from the falls, we decided to visit the International Mountain Museum. The building was like an aircraft hangar, filled with displays about indigenous people and wildlife as well as details about mountaineering expeditions to Nepal’s highest peaks. Despite not being interested in trekking or mountaineering, there was plenty to look at. The stuffed creatures, such as the beautiful snow leopard (one of my favourite animals), were somewhat strange and I can’t say they were a great example of taxidermy, but they were interesting nonetheless.
I was up extremely early on Wednesday morning, as Kit and I had decided to go and see the sunrise up at Sarankot. The manager of my hotel, Chandra, organised a taxi for us and we headed up as far as he could take us, before a 30 minute uphill hike in the dark. DEFINITELY not what I would usually be doing before dawn! Once at the top, it was clear to see why this was a popular spot. The mountains were right in front of us, with a line of reddish-gold streaking along the eastern horizon. Everything else was dark. Slowly but surely, a tiny rim of fire crept over the edge as the sun made its appearance. The photos from that morning were beautiful, but as is always the case, they simply failed to capture the incredibly delicate shifts in colour and light. After the sun rose and the mountains changed from dark, flat silhouettes to graphic 3D peaks, we headed back to Lakeside. We had lunch in Once Upon A Time, a nice spot further down the main street than we had gone before, and I finished the day by heading back to the hotel to chat to some other guests. That night we ate in Byanjang, a nice spot but very quiet when we were there which was a pity, as all it lacked was a bit of atmosphere (and a bit less chilli in my curry!)
Thursday was Kit’s day to travel back to Kathmandu, and it was time for me to switch hotels. As happy as I was with Karma Guest House, I had booked a three-night stay down the road at the Temple Tree Resort and Spa. I packed up my bags, and made my way to my new lodgings. I was not disappointed! The main building was immaculate, with helpful staff at the check-in desk who spoke excellent English. I was shown through to the back garden area, which was dominated by a pristine pool, shaped like Phewa Tal lake. There was a poolside bar where I was given a complimentary glass of iced tea, before being shown to my room. I was in room 1, so I couldn’t have been closer to the pool, bar and restaurant if I tried! The room itself was beautiful, decorated in earthy red tones, with a little terrace out the back looking out towards the pool and spa. The bed was a dream, with a dense mattress piled high with cosy pillows. Heavenly! I discovered that the en suite bathroom had a shower and bath, which ran hot water from 5am – 10am and 5pm – 10pm. I think I might have bounced around with glee at this point! I made myself comfortable on the bed, turned on the flat-screen TV and sank into relaxation mode.
Dinner was an all-you-can-eat buffet. Needless to say, I went to town on that. Baked potatoes, fish, chow mein, rice, stir-fried vegetables, chicken, the lot. I was barely fit to waddle back to my room afterwards!
The next day I booked myself in for an aromatherapy full body massage. I’d never had a proper massage before, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although I was poked, prodded and manipulated a little too hard to doze off or completely relax, I enjoyed the experience regardless.
On the third day, I took some time to go back to Lakeside. I got speaking to a Tibetan woman named Dolma, who I had met earlier in the week. She was selling handicrafts out of a dusty rucksack that looked like it was full of boulders instead of the beautiful jewellery and other things she was carrying. I had bought a few things from her when I first met her, but was keen to find her again to pick up a few more items, so I was glad to spot her again. She told me about how she walked nearly two hours to get to Lakeside from her settlement, how the Tibetan people were treated badly even in Nepal, and how the stones and silver she used were from her homeland of Tibet. The pieces were gorgeous; some were made of amethyst and garnet, others of turquoise and sandstone, some with lapis lazuli, amber and onyx. I enjoyed talking to her and I was glad to walk away with some pretty necklaces and bracelets, leaving behind a very happy lady with a few more rupees in her pocket.
The remainder of my time at Temple Tree was spent simply enjoying the food, the impeccable service of the staff who could not do enough for me, and the quiet and comfort of my room. As mentioned in a previous post, I appreciate peace and solitude at times, and find it does me good to have time to reflect. I thought about my time so far in Nepal, the friends I had made, the things I had seen and the places I had visited. The final three weeks would no doubt fly by, and I wanted to make sure that I made the most of them. It was good to have time away to put things in perspective before being launched back into life in Gatthaghar.
I was very sad to leave Pokhara, as it was such a lovely place to stay and I enjoyed myself so much, but I would definitely consider coming back sometime in the future ... I don’t think I’m done with it just yet!