Friday, 28 December 2012

India, Africa & Now

India has now been and gone and since Christmas day I've been in Cape Town, South Africa.

I have so many thoughts, stories & photos I want to share on my time in india but my spare time never seems to match up with wifi access. My itinerary ended up including some time in the north (Varanasi, Agra, Lucknow) and some time in the south (Fort Cochin, Alleyepp, Periya & Varkala). The two areas were hugely different and whilst the sights were amazing in the north, I did find it challenging at times. The south was slower, easier & far more relaxing.

Tomorrow I join my overland group and begin the trip north to Dar Es Salaam. I'm all stocked up on sunscreen, insect repellant & anti-malarials so wish me luck.

I hope you all had great Christmases with your family and they were a little more festive than mine!


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pokhara, Nepal

The starting point for many a long distance trek and a global home to adventure sports, Pokhara is somewhere I knew I'd visit when I made it to Nepal. This post is a bit positive, happy, everything's the best etc but really, that's just because I've had a thoroughly good time here.

With time (& fitness, but mainly time) not on my side, any thoughts of trekking were put to the side. I'd love to one day walk the Annapurna Circuit but I'm absolutely not fit enough to enjoy it right now. That, and it would take up most of this month meaning no India for me, and would require my hiking boots etc (I.e. gear I don't want in my backpack come Africa).

Anyway, with only two days in pokhara (and two days to get here & back from Kathmandu), there was lots to see with little time.

Paragliding was a must, zip lining a maybe (worlds longest zip line opened here last year and IT LOOKS AMAZING), sunrise at Sarangkot, a hike to the World Peace Pagoda (or Stupa), a row on the lake & a visit to the local Tibetan refugee settlements also in mind.

Paragliding did happen and it was fantastic. I wore comfy clothes (heck, I'd been up side before sunrise & hiking) so I look a chubby bogan in the photos, but a happy chubby bogan at that. I opted for the 30minute panorama flight (the shortest of the offerings) and it was perfect. Peaceful, stunning and perfect.

Sunrise from Sarangkot was also worthwhile. The hotel's driver took me as far as he could and then I walked/climbed the rest. I was one of the first to the viewpoint but many more came later. It was stunning and magical and all the things, despite the crowd. I must say though, I chuckle when I see people with expensive camera gear, tripods etc, photographing sunrise with their flash firing.

The walk to the Peace pagoda was the most strenuous thing I've done so far this trip and it reaffirms how not-fit-for-trekking I am right now. In hindsight, I should have boated across the lake & taken the shorter path but whatever, I took the long one and went around. So worth it.

The remainder of my time hasn't consisted of boating or visiting Tibetan settlements (next time I hope!) but wandering, siting, watching & shopping*. This trip goes for 3 months so as much as I want to see and do all the things, it's just not practical.

*Shopping for what I hear you ask? Well jewellery & scarfs of course, as always. No doubt they will appear in pics on instagram in the coming days.