|The 6.5 hour journey to Pokhara (Nepal's second biggest city), was basically on winding roads up and over various valleys in about 30 degree heat with no air-con - a rather forgettable experience - especially for Giles who was desperate for a wee for most of the way! However our rather posh hotel we were checked into made up for it.
Pokhara is set on the banks of the Phewa Lake and we got into various row boats to journey across to the island on the lake which has a temple on it.At this point Theresa piped up and said that she could not swim and would not go unless some-one would be able to save her (there were no life jackets on the boat). We all looked at each other behind her back saying - bags not me!
The Varahi Mandir temple was founded in the 18th Century and there were lots of row-boats ferrying passengers to and from it. The locals all went to get blessed by a local sadhu in the temple, however our guide Jhamkar blessed us for our onward trekking journey by pressing red rice onto our foreheads. After arrival back on shore we were then left to our own devices and as it was raining, that only meant one thing - happy hour cocktails!
The next morning we woke up to blue sky and stunning views of the Annapurna range - where we were heading to....see next diary entry.
On arrival back into Pokhara from our fantastic trek, it was of course the last night with everyone including the porters. So we took them all out for dinner at a local tibetan restaurant where a few beverages were consumed - including a free local fermented rice drink - disgusting. Everyone except the four youngest porters and Theresa then headed back to the hotel to have some more rum and coke after which Giles proceeded to talk at Jhamkar eventually literally sending him to sleep! We must have made a bit of noise back at the hotel as the following morning a lady was overheard saying that she had been having a great night sleep until about 30 people came back and partied until 1.30am in the morning - there were only 8 of us up!!!.
Needless to say everyone was a little tired the following morning when we had to wake up for our early morning flight back to Kathmandu. We were a little nervous about the flight as the planes are rather small (20 people) and the airline we were flying with had an accident in the Everest region while we were trekking - all but one person was killed. However it was smooth flying and the views of the Himalayas were fantastic.