Bhaktapur

I would had liked to see Bhaktapur before the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015. It’s an ancient city, full of beautiful historical buildings, temples, art and colours. However, my previously mentioned earthquake had a tremendous impact on this magical place and when visited it in summer 2016 the damage could still be clearly seen.

I spent a day there wandering around, for me it was all about the atmosphere, colours ad people.  I would recommend visiting to anyone (although please don’t try to sneak in without paying, the place really needs all the support it can get). It was really hard to take some photos that would give the real sense of this place, but I’m sharing my best attempts.

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I love the photo bellow. Can’t believe this goat climbed up the steep steps to admire the view. Who’s the boss?SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Colours, crafts and people.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Completely destroyed house…

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The people are lovely and kids are keen to pose for the photos. It’s very likely they will ask for money afterwards, but I wouldn’t recommend giving anything to them. Might sound harsh, but when I was trekking my guide said that foreigners turned Nepali children into beggars… knowing that they can get money from foreigners often keep the kids on the streets. Something to think about. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Pottery making is huge in Bhaktapur and you can visit the pottery square to learn more about it.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It’s been a while since I visited Bhaktapur, so I hope this ancient capital is recovering and rebuilding itself and the life is slowly getting back to normal there.

The Last Resort

No this post is not about the Eagles song. It’s about the 10th highest bungee jump in the world. Can you guess where this place is?

OK, I will tell you, it’s in Nepal!

It is located near the Tibetan border, around three hour drive from Kathmandu. I hope I won’t spoil everything by saying that the drive there is probably much more dangerous than any of the things you can do in the Last Resort.

I decided to to a bungee jump in Nepal as soon as I heard about it. I am scared of heights – something I am working on, but ohhh dear, it’s a slow progress.

With some other volunteers we booked a weekend trip – one day for getting there and a bungee and a day for canyoning and the trip back. You can do other stuff there as well – canyon swing and white water rafting if I remember that correctly. Ohh and they’ve got really cool tents (with beds) where you can stay overnight.

So we left really early on Saturday morning (after a night out, probably not the best idea) and got to the Last Resort late morning. I said earlier that the roads were scary – below is an example for you with an oncoming vehicle…

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Once you get to the Last Resort, you have to walk over the bridge from which you will be jumping later… OMG even walking there frightened me to death, I didn’t even know how I would jump! My hands were shaking so much that I wasn’t even brave enough to take out my phone for a photo.

All the technical stuff was explained to us and I spent the rest of the morning being mega nervous, waiting for my turn to jump. That was probably the worst bit. The jump was easy and went really quick. So quick that I was even a bit disappointed. You get something silly like 1.5s of free fall. I have done skydiving in the past so bungee jump was nothing like it. But still, it was money well spent, I proved myself I could overcome my fear and do it.

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The photo above doesn’t even give you an idea how far below you fall. We got to see the scale the next day when doing some canyoning. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me as canyoning was supposed to be a “wet” experience but it really wasn’t. Nae water. But I had another chance to challenge my fear of heights and to be honest I found this activity to be much scarier than bungee jumping. But it was fun!

I didn’t take many photos that weekend, even though these were awesome couple of days away and I would recommend going there to anyone. Just going to finish with a photo of the cool tent I mentioned earlier in the post 🙂

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Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a hot mess. A beautiful chaotic place full of unexpected things. I loved it some days and other days I just wanted to be out of there. I spent quite a bit of time exploring the city while I was doing some volunteering in Kavresthali near Kathmandu. Everytime I would go back to Kavresthali I would feel like I came back to a wee paradise and I would always come back a little bit different.

I have never seen capitals like this before. It felt like it was a labyrinth, with loads going on around every corner. The streets were crowded and every time I had to go somewhere it felt like a mission. It was never easy to get from A to B, having constantly to watch out for scooters, people, cows and trying not to get lost. It was almost like a game and I would be extremely proud of myself if I managed to do something what would normally take 10min in 20min.

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The chaos scared me at first but with time I grew more and more confident and started exploring the city a wee bit more. One day I left Thamel (the main tourist area) and walked to Swayambhunath which is also called a monkey temple.

It’s one of my favourite places in Kathmandu, with a huge stupa at the top, loads of colours and amazing views of the city. I am not a big fan of monkeys and they do scare me a bit, but I kept away from them and survived.

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The other place I really enjoyed was the Pashupatinath Temple. It’s dedicated to Shiva and is one of the most sacred places in Nepal. If I was Nepali and I died, I would want my body to be burnt there.

I think I wrote about death in Nepali culture in one of my previous post, so I won’t say much about it here. I loved the atmosphere in Pashupatinath, it felt like it was a mix of traditions, respect, sadness and celebration of life and death. I got a guide there who told me even more about the traditions than I knew before and that also added to the whole experience.

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Traditions are everywhere in Nepal. I really liked being exposed to this rich culture just by wondering around the streets. Once, I ended up in Durbar Square with loads of beautiful (although very much affected by the earthquake) temples. I couldn’t believe, but there were so many interesting people around – Sadhus (the holy men), a lady who was painting her body green, loads of various people who came to pay their respect to the gods. I loved the colours, the smells, the atmosphere…

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I know I will be back to Nepal one day. I think I appreciate my trip now when I am writing about it even more than when I was there. Being back to a “normal” country has its advantages – no more chaos, no more constantly upset stomach, no monkeys, no more of getting lost or being annoyed at the traffic, the air and the streets are clean…but at the same time, I’m missing the colours, the element of never knowing of what to expect and oh well, I do actually miss getting lost 🙂

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