A Travellerspoint blog

Boudhanath

... or the largest stupa in Nepal

sunny 21 °C

This week end I decided to go to Boudhanath to see the biggest stupa in Nepal. I did not book any accommodation as we were so busy at school so we just got there on Saturday night at about 4.... Hummm we walked for a while and visited a lot of guest houses which were full!!!! so we decided to see if we could find a hotel.. and guess what as I am always so lucky we found one 1 minute from the stupa in a quiet street and it had a kitchen so the kids were very very excited about cooking our own meal... As it was getting late we just went round the stupa once and tried to find some food for diner ... we chose pasta with tuna, some spinach and then we bought tea, sugar and biscuits.... We came home and cooked only to discover that we did not have any means to open the tuna tin so we had rather plain pasta ... but kids were excited to cook and we then washed up and watched How to train your dragon on DVD.
The city has fantastic architecture and a lot of crafts:
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The next day we got up early to a beautiful sunshine and went for breakfast in a great little eco caffe that served the most delicious cakes in the whole universe!!!!
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We then went for a nice long walk around the stupa first... People were throwing safran colored water to the dome to make it look nice and others were painting the white walls with white paint. If you want you can donate some money to get that done, or on some special days this is done as a maintenance...
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Then took a picture of the gate:
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We needed to buy some trainers for Hayden, socks for Teo, breakfast, a tin opener (of course) some eggs and some more vegetables for diner... We dropped our shopping back at the flat and went to see some of the monasteries in the city.... there are over 60 so we just selected a route and visited a few of them.... The kids took lots of pictures and some are amazingly decorated, with magnificent designs inside and outside, some vibrant colors and it is very pleasing to the eye... We saw how they make the candles with ghee and butter... and saw the most huge bell and wishing well ever...
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We entered a couple of monasteries and saw some kids playing some games, others burning their cardboards and other praying and playing their long horns... fascinating...
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The kids kept chasing the pigeons around!!!
We stopped for lunch in another amazing little place and carried on for another walk for a while.... then the kids got tired and we went for a cake in a little place and played games...
There were a lot of beggars in the streets but we saw some amazing characters and here are some of them...
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That night we had a giant carrot, peas, tuna and spinach pasta ... most delicious and we watched another movie...
The next day we took a taxi home and went to school....

Posted by ealonso 09:26 Archived in Nepal Tagged stupa boudhanat Comments (0)

Bhaktapur

Or the most beautiful city in the whole of Nepal

sunny 20 °C

At the week end we went to Bhaktapur a beautiful town 15 km from Khatmandu… the city is absolutely gorgeous, with paved streets, beautifully carved windows and doors… some awesome temples and houses… There is a lot of crafts shops especially wood carving, paper factory, metal carving and pottery… The place is heaving with craft shops, workshops and all is so colourful and vibrant it is really great…
We arrived at about 11 in the morning so we went straight to the main square … Durbar Square.. this is just beautiful .. temples everywhere, paved floor, golden carving, wood carving … an astonishing sight… The square was destroyed by an earthquake and the German have funded the reconstruction and I can see why… This place is magical and is now a protected site… You pay an entry fee to get into the city as it is clean and peaceful…
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We dropped our bags in the hotel and went for a walk around with the kids looking at all little alleyways and just wondering around this amazing city.. we had no camera so it was nice to just wonder around and not be too concerned about the perfect shot…
It was now harvest time so the many squares were busy with people fanning the rice.. It was funny to see some people using an electric fan to do so… The piles of rice were high and it gave the place a buoyant atmosphere with everyone at work….
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The pottery quarter was the most precious as you had all the potters around the square where the rice was being fanned… You also had a firing place where the potteries are placed on the floor in the hay and then fired for 3 days.. All the firing places were busy with dogs having a rest in an obviously very warm bed!
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Hayden wanted to learn to do some photos so we spent some time photographing that lady mending some bags… We then wondered off the tourist track and ended up in someone’s bag patio… Hayden being his chatty self, started talking with the lady and called me and Teo back as the family was one of the potters and the dad decided to do some pottery for us to the delight of the kids!!!! He gave the kids a little pot each where they put the wick and the wax to light the temples…
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As he was working on the turn I spoke with his daughter and chatting discovered that her sister is studying in London and lives in Isleworth.. so I decided to take some family portraits and said I would send them to the sister. It was funny to learn that they speak on skype every day from this very simple house in the back of a little narrow street… They were all very nice and the kids played with the little girl making magic potion with the ashes and broken pots…They invited us for tea but we were keen to get going so we declined their kind offer. They then asked for a photo of some of the neighbours and offered us a beautifully carved flower pot that we will treasure…
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The brother was a keen photographer so I invited him to join us on our photography tour of Bhaktapur…
So we headed off and went to a lot of different squares, next to the river where the cremations take place, and there are 2 cremation places, one for the newar and one for the rest of the people. We also ended up by chance in a paper factory which was a maze of wonders… Many rooms with many craftswomen working, a real museum of craftsmanship.. a little like the paper factory near Hemel.. Just amazing and wonderful to see… We spent 4 hours wandering about and took many pictures, here are some of them.
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Posted by ealonso 07:16 Archived in Nepal Tagged bhaktapur Comments (0)

Tihar Celebrations

Dog, Lights and Sisters & Brothers....

sunny 20 °C

Tihar house preparation
We woke up today to a house decorated with natural flower garlands, painting all over the floors and flowers in vases around the house. The house had been cleaned inside out and painted fresh and it looked beautiful..
Here are a couple of photos of the drawing that is made in front of all houses during that festival.
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Today is dog’s day so Tommy and Moose (the 2 guard dogs we have in the house) are given a collar made out of natural flowers … they are given some food to eat (bananas believe it or not!!!) and they get some tikka on their head. It was so funny to see and the colours are so beautiful and vibrant!
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Today is brother and sister's day when they give each other tikka..
The festival was interesting… all the boys sat in a line on the floor and the older girl broke a nut with a stone at the beginning of the ceremony… Then the older girls put tikka on the boys’head. There will be 7 colours on a white stripe… Then when all the boys are done, the girls sit on the floor and the boys also put tikka on their heads. As it was getting late the boys did a dot with the 7 colours on them…
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Once it was finished we all had the party food… some sweets, some dried fruits, some special bread, and some chicken stew that was yummy… I then put some movies on for the kids.

That evening we did a big fire in the playground and had some fireworks and drinks… We tried to put the music on but again the stereo failed us….

Posted by ealonso 06:39 Archived in Nepal Tagged happy_home tihar dog_day Comments (0)

Pokhara Lake Tour

Devi's fall, Cave and ice cream....

sunny 26 °C

As Saturday was holidays and we are leaving tomorrow for Khatmandu I decided to go with the family to Pokhara Lakeside and go on the boats…
We all set off on motorbikes, Teo and Hayden with Bishwa’s older brother, Bishwa’s younger brother with his wife and me with Bishwa older brother’s wife and child.
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We first went by my laundry place to wash the clothes and went round to the West side of the lake where we had not gone before. Unfortunately they did not have any peddle boats so we went back to where we had gone before and took a giant peddle boat. We set off to do the tour of the island on which a famous temple is in the middle of the lake.
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You need to circle by clockwise a temple and not anti closkwise so we nearly crashed with some other boats on the way… Once we passed the temple we went along the side of the lake and picked up some Javanese nuts to eat and also had some crisps and coca cola…. We watched the Para gliders above the lake and saw a few land… and then we headed for the shore… I then offered to go for ice cream in a nice Italian place we had gone to before with the kids… very nice place with low seats and some great homemade ice cream…
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Then they offered to show us the waterfalls and the cave so we went off again… The waterfalls have been named after a tourist who set off to explore the cave and never made it out… They are amazing even though they are not so big but the strata are very visible and impressive. What I thought was funny is that you have to pay for the entrance and then you can see further up some ladies doing their washing in the river that feeds the waterfall!!!
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The next visist is the cave which host a temple and a cow place?!... You go down some steps into the mouth of the cave and the humidity strikes you and you suddenly cannot breathe so easily… the walls are all dripping wet and the lighting is scare… The cow temple is just in front of you .. strange enough there is a statue of a cow next to a little temple… and you can put some money and make a prayer…
The cave goes further down into the earth and you end up at the bottom of the waterfalls… very very strange. We finally came home and I came back to Lakeside on a more than dodgy bike to pick up the washing.

Posted by ealonso 06:28 Archived in Nepal Tagged devi'sfall pokhara_cave Comments (0)

Rafting on the Lower Gandaki

5 days 3 nights in the wild

sunny 30 °C

Today we met up with Simon and the kids and Moit and Angelee for our 5 days rafting on the Lower Gandaki section....
For the trip we have 2 people rafts and 1 gear raft, with a total of 6 guides.... who will be 2 in the safety kayaks (go ahead of the group to see if there are issues with rapids ), 1 on the gear raft, 2 on 1 people raft and the last one in the last people raft.
We set off from the hotel and picked up Angelee and Mohit who just flew in from Khatmandu... and then set off on our 4 hours bus trip to the start of the raft.
There we got all the rafts ready and the kids were playing by the river...
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This section is not frequently paddled so the trip is custom made. One guide had been there about 2 years ago, and Mohit about 10!!!
We are going to camp every night on the beach and the guides will be doing the snacks and diner and breakfast and lunch... we only have to do our own tents and wash our plates... easy!!!!
The section is a grade 3....well only on day 4 we will be seeing some grade 3 rapids, the rest of the time it is grade 1 and 2...
So we set off on our journey... the guide on my raft is Bruce and I am with Teo, William, Angelee and Moit. Simon is on the other raft with Anna, Hayden, Ed and 2 guides.
The views are awesome and the paddling pretty easy until the grade 3 rapids.. the guides are mega hot on safety so each of the 3 rapids we come across on day 4 they stop and check it out before taking us through it...
The camping is great even though I would have preferred a nice soft bed.. but the sand is not too bad.. we ended up only putting the top cover of the tent as it was too hot and the kids slept outside one night too...
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Every day we had a nice hour lunch.. and then stopped at the camp at around 4... the kids would play around and we had tea and pop corn .. then diner at about 7ish and then bedtime for 8....
We saw a massive snake crawl on the bank so we assumed it must have crossed the river .. which filled the kids with dread as they kept jumping in and out all the time....
We saw monkeys and kingfishers and more monkeys...
Every night we had the visit of the local people and it was nice to see them ... we were like attraction to them .. we got them to try pop corn and would give them the leftovers after the meals...
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We had lots of fun on the raft ... jumping in, back flips, front flips balance games and all... just very good fun...
We also had a fire every might and played card games non stop... we learnt 3 more games, bullshit and noses and high jack.... very fun!
I have attached some photos but the camera ran out after 2 days so I am awaiting for Simon and Mohit photos....

Posted by ealonso 21:34 Archived in Nepal Tagged rafting lower_gandaki_rafting paddle_nepal Comments (0)

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