Long have I waited for a chance to visit Nepal. Tucked away in the Himalayas. Home to 8 of the world's 10 highest mountains. Birthplace of Buddha. Highly diverse, rich in geography, history, culture, and religion.
Like most kids, I had no idea about Nepal.....until my uncle came back from a trip there in the 70's. It has been a mecca for hippie backpackers, free spirits and, in more recent history, adventure/adrenaline junkies.
It is not a place you just pop by. "Oh I have nothing to do this weekend, I think I'll go to Nepal". Its remote, expensive to get to, and off the beaten path....but worth every penny.
For the only time on the trip, we decided to splurge on a real hotel. The Kathmandu Guest house serves as a hub for westerners exploring Nepal. You can organize tours from here, as well as rent cars, motorcycles, meet other people or just relax.
Will, Guillame and I settled in, giddy with anticipation and had a celebratory meal of traditional Nepalese food.
...and of course some Everest beer.
We had read that our trip might coincide with Gaijatra, the cow festival. There is no set date, but it happens during the Nepalese month of Bhadra (August-September)
Families particulate in processions leading a cow through the streets of Kathmandu to honor family members who have died during the previous year. The cow, a revered holy animal, is said to help the deceased relative's journey to heaven.
We asked someone at the hotel if we had missed the festival and they said "No! Its tomorrow!"
We were very, very lucky to be there for this, one of Nepals biggest and most popular festivals.
Everyone takes to the streets.
What a great day to be in Kathmandu...incredible.
We walked amongst the crowds, talked to people, played with some kids and followed the processions to Durbar Square.
It was just a fantastic day....truly.
More Nepal stuff soon...