Goodbye Nepal

Posted: November 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

I am sitting in what might be the fourth pre-departure area in the Kathmandu airport, waiting on SpiceJet Flight 046 to Delhi, which will mark the beginning of a month in India. I’ve spent just over a month here in Nepal, a week navigating the bureaucracy of getting an Indian visa, I learned how to kayak in a fast moving river and surprisingly didn’t capsize when going through Class 3 rapids, and I climbed up to where the air is thin well over 5000 meters above sea level.

To anyone thinking about visiting Nepal, I say do it, there’s tons to do and to be honest there’s a part of me that wants to stay and maybe do some mountain biking, or perhaps rafting instead of kayaking, or even to visit the everest region for more trekking.

If you’re thinking of doing the Annapurna Circuit (and I really recommend you put it on your bucket list) I would add to go either sooner, or ten years from now. The reason is that they’re building a road right where substantial portions of the trekking route lies, and I expect that in 5 years they’ll have blacktop road to most of the remote towns which will change their character irreversibly, so go in the next couple years to see the towns before easier access changes them. If you can’t, then wait even longer for them to establish new trekking trails, otherwise your trek will be for substantial portions on a road. I’m pretty confident once the road is in they’ll prioritize new footpaths, there’s too much money at stake from the tourism to do otherwise.

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Oh, and a wholehearted recommendation for Paddle Nepal, they were a great outfit and I had an awesome time (once I could consistently figure out how to get my kayak to go in a straight line) going through progressively difficult rapids on the lower seti river.

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Finally even though I hated the pollution and noise of Kathmandu, a big shout out to the walking tours in the Lonely Planet. I’ve had mixed experiences with these walking tours before, but this one was gold. It really revealed all the quiet spots that lurk hidden within the chaos of the city, sometimes it’s as simple as stooping down through a low doorway and all of a sudden you’re in an oasis of peace and quite with a giant stuppa covered with prayer flags.

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Photos from Cologne and Berlin

Posted: July 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: travel | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I don’t have much time to write a post right now, I’m about to head out to a beer sampling tour of Prague, but I did upload photos from Germany so I figured I’d post them here.