Kyrgyzstan and the end of the Pamir Highway. Sary Tash to Bishkek then a bit of Almaty and on to Kathmandu! 19th Aug to 12th Sep 2017

Kyrgyzstan and the end of the Pamir Highway. Sary Tash to Bishkek then a bit of Almaty and on to Kathmandu! 19th Aug to 12th Sep 2017

 

Saturday 19th August – 2km over Kyrgyzstan border to Archat

Distance: 60.99 km

Total Distance: 16315.58 km

We had a peaceful night, apart from a dog peeing up the side of the tent in the middle of the night! This morning we cycle down to Sary Tash, our first Kyrgyzstan village.

We bump into some Iranian cyclists whilst we are exchanging some Tajik Som to Kyrgyz Som at the petrol station?! Then it’s shopping time. More provisions and a Kyrgyz SIM. Let’s hope that the Internet coverage is better here than in Tajikistan ; we’ve been incommunicado for almost 10 days, very frustrating. Whilst shopping we’re plagued by an old man who has had 3 large shots of vodka since we entered the shop. It seems it’s the local bar too. I’m pretty certain he’d already had some shots before we chanced on the scene. Then it’s time to head off to Osh and there’s 2 passes to climb first. The first is ‘40 Let Kyrgyzstan Pass’, the second ‘Thankful Pass’. Daz manages to grab onto the back of a truck for the first climb but I fail miserably to grab on to a number of trucks so I cycle the full distance, 3km!

But the scenery is just breathtakingly gorgeous. Everything is green; wild flowers in abundance and plenty of birdlife too. I think I’ve seen more birds in the one day in Kyrgyzstan than the whole month in Tajikistan. Daz is at the top of the pass watching a young lad on horseback herd his goats off the hillside into a corral. After the second pass we have an incredible descent with numerous switchbacks.

There are Kyrgyz encampments on the hillsides. They either have Yurts or old Soviet 4 wheeled caravans (possibly ex military) and herds of livestock. After the descent we follow the River Gulcha in its valley marvelling at the different colours in the mountains around us, reds, browns, silver and grey.

But unfortunately we have a horrendous head wind which detracts from this long descent. We’ve done enough for the day but I’m not pitching camp in this wind but we can’t find any sheltered spots. Finally we enter the village of Archat and there’s 2 abandoned buildings on the outskirts and one suits us perfectly.

Fried eggs and bread for dinner!

 

Sunday 20th August – Archat to Gulcha

Distance: 67.62 km

Total Distance: 16383.2 km

It was much warmer in the abandoned house and we got a good night’s sleep out of the wind. By 9 am we are on the road again and still descending along the Gulcha River. There’s no wind and we make good progress for a couple of hours.

It really is difficult to find enough superlatives to describe our journey down this valley, it’s just so beautiful after the high Pamirs.

We see many cyclists today, mainly because there’s a group of 17 Czech mountain bikers coming up the valley, with following support wagon! But we also stop and chat with a young American couple going to Tajikistan and a group of 3, 2 Germans and a Swiss cyclist. The Americans have been on the road for two years and are heading to Europe in a reverse of what we have already done having cycled from SE Asia. The threesome have already ridden the Pamirs but stopped for a month to do some climbing and are now heading to China then Pakistan. We stop for lunch, fried Yak in a roadside cafe washed down with a warm beer before continuing.

Now the wind has picked up again and we have to pedal downhill. Finally we reach our first largish Kyrgyz town, Gulcha and decide to treat ourselves to a proper bed, a shower, electricity and WiFi. We even find a bottle of red wine, it’s Russian, but any port in a storm as they say! And actually it tastes more like port than wine and it’s 18%. Sadly the hot shower proves to be a tepid trickle but at least we’re clean after many days without a wash.

Monday 21th August – Gulcha

This morning after much debate we decide to take a rest day. Time to recharge all our batteries and get the blog done. We do venture out to the Bazaar and try and track down a decent meal – as usual there doesn’t seem much available so it’s Lagman soup for me and Manti (meat filled dumplings). Then time for more admin and relaxation.

Tuesday 22nd August – Gulcha to Osh

Distance: 89.24 km

Total Distance: 16472.44 km

Yesterday was one of the best rest day’s ever. Daz did the blog whilst I slept. Bliss! And whilst the shower and toilet left a lot to be desired, the WiFi was great although sadly not good enough to support an episode of Game of Thrones. We set out early to tackle the pass from Gulcha. We hoped to hitch a ride on the back of a truck but unfortunately there was nothing slow enough so we cycled 22km all the way to the top of Chirchik Pass at 2389m.

The views from the top were glorious. From the pass it was all downhill to Osh. We did spend 20km draughting a tractor and barely pedalled once.

In Osh instead of heading to the hostel I insisted on a diversion into town, seeking decent food. And decent food we found – a fantastic Chinese meal. It was delicious. Plus a couple of beers to celebrate completing the Pamir Highway. It was tough and we were incredibly lucky not to fall ill. Many other cyclists suffered all sorts of problems health wise and yet despite the fact we didn’t have any water filtration / purifier system we’ve come through unscathed. We were breathless from the altitude and found it more tiring but overall we’ve been OK. We have both lost a bit of weight but since we were both carrying a bit of extra padding, me especially, that’s no great loss!

Wednesday 23rd to Friday 25th August – Osh

We spent 3 days in Osh at the TES guesthouse. We economised on the accommodation deciding to use our tent so 4 nights came in under $50 with breakfast and our laundry and Birgit’s laundry included.

Then we blew a load of money on red wine, beer, pizza and 3 Chinese dinners but at least now my stomach loves me again and doesn’t consider me Enemy Number 1. That said, we have lost a lot of weight through the Pamir Highway. Daz has lost a stone and a quarter, and I’ve lost 2 stone!! Over the 3 days we were finally reunited with Birgit and Søren. We met them at our Warmshowers host in Dushanbe and then they followed us over the Pamirs. We also saw Coco and Marta again and met many new travellers either about to head off into Tajikistan or just finished like us! Particularly entertaining were an Irish couple, Mike and Sorcha. I loved their Irish accents and the frequent use of ‘feck’. They’d been backpacking around SE Asia, Africa, Thailand, Nepal, India and China but had decided it was getting boring so they’d cycle home via the Pamir Highways. Talk about a fecking challenging way to start a cycling adventure!! We were hoping to meet the other trike riders – 2 Swiss lads on HP Velotechnics but sadly it wasn’t to be.

Saturday 26th August Osh to Kurshab

Distance: 43.41 km

Total Distance: 16515.85 km

After 3 days we should be well rested but we’re both tired and cranky. Instead of getting our chores done we were too busy socialising, playing cards, eating and drinking. All those wasted moments of relaxation! Yup it’s our own fault and we never learn. But we know if we stay another day we’ll achieve as little as the previous days. So we’re leaving. First we have to cycle into town to get our shopping done, get Daz’s silk liner repaired byna seamstress, get another SIM Internet package. Here the packages only last one week, but 6Gb costs less than a dollar! Then because we’re near the Chinese again we go for an early lunch. We had dinner here the first night, the 3rd night with Birgit and Søren and for our last lunch. It’s still delicious! Everything done and we head out of Osh. The traffic is heavy but so far the Kyrgyz drivers have been kind to us. Long may it continue – we’ve heard some horror stories about the Kyrgyz drivers. After about 15km we’re out into the country and enjoying the easy riding on good tarmac.

 

Everyone waves, says hello or hoots their horns. From Tajikistan we’ve descended 3000m to Osh and we’re cycling through rolling arable land, that’s more golden than green. Harvest time I think. Daz gets handed a small watermelon as we cycle passed some roadside sellers, it’s a good job it’s small as the bigmones are really huge. He ends up carrying it in his lap for the next 15 km! The temperature has increased too. We’re back into the 30s again. I guess it’s typically British but we complained bitterly about the low temperatures during the last week of the Pamir Highways and now we’re complaining we’re too hot again!!! I think we need some British weather to put it back into perspective. In Kurshab we find a quiet piece of woodland and even though it’s in the middle of town it seems deserted. I think this will make an ideal camping spot.

Sunday 27th August – Kurshab to Masadan

Distance: 64.1 km

Total Distance: 16579.95 km

Apart from some weird kids making wolf and dog impressions as we were going to sleep we had a quiet night. We were even afforded shade in the morning from all the lovely trees, bonus. We are back to cycling in the heat again, low 40’s during the middle of the day. We cycle through rolling arable land, golden and sun kissed. Apart from one mediocre hill the going is easy. We do stop in Uzgen and wander around their historic minaret and madrassah. Daz reacquaints himself with some Samsa, spelt Camca here, a kind of ball shaped cornish pasty. Towards the end of the day we sit in a roadside restaurant and celebrate the weekend with a beer before cycling a few more kilometers to find a campsite in a roadside field. Surrounded by corn we eat our fried vegetables and noodles washed down with a couple of cups of tea. The sun has set now and it’s bucket wash time before bedtime, oh the joy of being on the road!!

Monday 28th August – Masadan to Boston

Distance: 57.63 km

Total Distance: 16637.58 km

Ahhh, a very wet tent this morning, it seems we camped in a wet area and the dew was stupendous! So it took a while to dry everythjng out before we set off. Thankfully it’s roasting hot again today! An early hill seems to catch Daz by surprise and by midday he has got the shakes and needs food. Maybe it’s his body wondering why a few days ago (in Osh) there was constant food, in large quantities and very tasty too, but now back to minimal rations!! We stuff him with our emergency snickers, biscuits and coke then head to the first restaurant we can find. Fortunately it’s a good one and we order shashlik and BBQ chicken. Suitably fortified and rested we push on with Daz taking the head wind and setting a cracking pace, he has obviously recovered. We cycle through little villages and towns along the road.

Finally we find another field and call it a day. I’m just chopping some veggies for dinner when a car pulls over and gives us a load of leftover food from a party!! Yey, no more cooking tonight!

 

Tuesday 29th August – Boston to Lesnoy National park

Distance: 29.56 km

Total Distance: 16667.14 km

Another fabulous night’s sleep despite the close promimity of the main road. Despite the fact the tent is practically dry it still takes us 90 minutes until we get started – too much Kindling (new definition: time spent reading our Kindles) I think.

Then we see two German cyclists and stop for a chat. Then there’s a photo session.

The upshot by 11am we’ve barely made 10km so I decide a good skive is in order. Daz disagrees but soon feels so guilty about thwarting my plan that he capitulates. Result! We park up on a lay-by next to a petrol station and start hitching. Within 10 minutes a flat-bed truck pulls up and we’re away.

70km later we get dropped off. He wants 500 Som (7$) but since we’ve skipped some uninspiring scenery we’re well chuffed. We’re now in the Lesnoy National Park with a beautiful ribbon of aqua blue lakes providing water to the hydro electric dams.

I’m not sure of the size of Kyrgyzstan but i’m guessing it’s self sufficient in energy. There aren’t many camping opportunities so when we spot one we stop. I desperately wanted a good wash but we don’t have much water. Solution: trek down a steep re-entrant to the lake. There’s no beach area at the bottom just a 4’ drop into the lake so we both leap off into the water. It’s chilly but so delicious! Fortunately we find a narrow ledge to climb out! Daz spots an opportunity for cliff jumping and tries one at 8’ and then at 15’. He’s loving it! Then it’s a scramble back up the hill and time for dinner and bed.

Wednesday 30th August – Lesnoy National park to Kara Kul

Distance: 26.1 km

Total Distance: 16693.24 km

We’re up early today. There’s a head wind and it’s undulating – short sharp uphills and then down, then repeat.

It’s fun but very tiring! We ran out of water this morning at breakfast, so we skipped porridge and Daz toasted some stale bread we had left over. Fortunately we managed a cup of tea before setting off. We had about 2 mouthfuls of water each to sustain us until the next town but we stop and try scrounging water from passing traffic. I see a bottle heading towards Daz’s head – it’s a half bottle of water thrown from a moving truck! We cycle into Kara Kul (actually we discover it’s just the suburbs, the centre is still 8km away) a little parched and soon neck our first of 2 one litre bottles of coke. We decide to have an early lunch as we had missed breakfast porridge! Sausage and eggs for me and Daz has the local dumpling soup.

We also need to find some Internet as we have important admin to get sorted. Just past a police toll point we notice a rather new, and busy looking restaurant / hotel with a big ‘Free Wi-Fi ‘ sign. That’ll do nicely! By the time we get our flights booked for Nepal (the internet is not strong in this one Luke!) we decide to have a half day! The cycle to the next pass can wait until tomorrow. What’s great is that the hotel is not only brand new and clean, but very cheap too, so we book a room for $14.

 

Thursday 31st August – Kara Kul to Toktogul Reservoir

Distance: 27.38 km

Total Distance: 16720.62 km

 

A warm night, no aircon, but a restful sleep. Pancakes for breakfast, oh yes please! This place is really great. Yesterday we booked our Nepal flight and because the cheap flights were few and far between we compromised on a flight from Bishkek on 12th September. This means we don’t have time to cycle to Bishkek. So our plan today is to cheat. There’s a pass ahead of us so we’re going to attempt to hitch to the top. First we decide we need to do a shop in Kara Kul. It’s only 8 km away but when we set off we realise it’s up a great sodding hill, so much for cheating. There’s a white water rapid flowing down the re-entrant at the side of the road, quite spectacular if we weren’t too wornout on the early hill!

Once in the village and shopping done we sit by the road side with our thumbs out. After a couple of false starts (including a guy that offers us a lift for 300som, loads our gear and then demands 3000som -$40) a truck carrying barrels of apple juice gives us a lift. We have to lift the trikes on top of the barrels of apple juice but all is good. 30 km later we are at the top of the pass. Even the truck struggled and nearly overheated on the last steep bit so we are glad for the lift. The driver even invited us to tea once we arrive in Bishkek.

A glorious 10 km descent sees us gliding down to Toktogul Reservoir. It’s a beautiful blue and the mountains beyond are very colourful. We check out a couple of possible camping spots but they are either crowded with locals enjoying the cooling waters or the reservoir is not accessible. After another 10 km we finally see a nice plateau off to the side. We take a dirt track and park our bikes. Swimming kit, bottle of beer and some snacks and we walk for about 10 minutes to the calm blue waters of the reservoir. There’s not a soul in sight so it’s skinny dipping time again. We sit on the pebbles with our feet in the water and eat our bread and cheese washed down with a local beer we’ve had cooling in the water. The views are amazing, hardly a ripple on the water. It’s incredibly beautiful. How lucky are we?

Friday 1st September – Toktogul Reservoir to Sangar

Distance: 21.94 km

Total Distance: 16742.56 km

Our plan today is to do very little so that’s precisely what we do. We sit and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and hit the road about 10.30am. We stop and chat to 2 German lads cycling the other way and get a tip for accommodation in Bishkek.

This is one of the greatest things about cycling – almost everyone stops (we’ve passed some ignorant fuckers who don’t but we assume they’re in a rush) and swap news of the route ahead, travel itineraries and other helpful tips. After our chat we continue on until our first village. A young boy flags us down, he wants Daz’s tyres so we give him the 2 spare tyres Daz has been carrying. Yesterday I binned the 2 tyres I was carrying. Then we go to his house for bread, raspberry jam and tea. In the village we stop for some provisions and then head off to find a camping spot. We find ( after a considerable search) a site by the lake but there isn’t a shingle beach like yesterday just a muddy inlet. But once past the scum and sinky, sucky mud it’s very pleasant.

We planned to cook egg banjos for lunch and we’re just in preparation mode when a man mountain strolls up. This guy is huge, and he would fit into the Fijian rugby team seamlessly. He has hands the size of shovels. He’s actually a policeman (less uniform). He asks what we’re up to and then makes odd hand rubbing signs. We’re completely clueless as to the message he’s trying to convey so then he pulls Daz away and shows him the marijuana plants growing around us. Perhaps he’s patrolling the lake for drug users and miscreants.

Now it’s dinner time and Daz is busy burning marijuana plants over our camp stove and breathing in the fumes.

 

Saturday 2nd September – Sangar to Töö Ashuu Pass/ Tunnel

Distance: 21.10 km

Total Distance: 16763.66 km

Today we’re rudely awaken by some fishermen. They’ve been night fishing but the fact our tent is all zipped up and there’s no-one about is no deterrent. They keep hollering until we come out to say ‘Hi’. Today’s plan is still unresolved. We cycle around the eastern end of the lake and then go in search of a nice swimming spot. Our first location is horrendous – loads of rubbish both in the water and on the shore. We head to another spot which is rather nice; the water is clear and the beach isn’t too strewn with rubbish. However it’s so easily accessible it attracts many other visitors. No skinny dipping today. We watch a group of men who drink vodka, swim, clean their car and then start wrestling. After a few hours we decide to move on.

Back on the main road we start hitching. We want to get to the top of Töö Ashuu Pass at 3586m. Depressingly whilst there’s plenty of cars and minibuses, there are no trucks. After 30minutes our first viable truck comes over the hill and he stops for us. He’ll give us a lift but for 1000som (about $14). And so we agree and load up! We pass some amazing scenery, Chichkan and It-Agar canyons with swirling rivers besides then over Alabel Ashuusu Pass at 3184m to a plateau filled with Yurt camps and herds of horses sheep and goat.

After 4 hours our very slow truck arrives at the top of the Töö Ashuu pass, well to the tunnel. The tunnel is very narrow and about 2.5 km long. Trucks are only allowed through from one side at a time so we wait at a traffic light as the sky darkens and night descends. Finally we are allowed through, by the time we are through the very scary tunnel (no wonder you’re not allowed to cycle through) it’s dark on the other side. We unload and put the bags back on the bikes in the dark.

Lights on we start off down the road looking for a camping spot. We want one as soon as possible as there is tons of traffic on the road, the surface is terrible and we don’t want to be cycling at the same time! Fortunately within about a kilometer or two we find a level bit of ground on a bend and camp. A quick tent erection, brew and snack and it’s time for bed. The constant noise of trucks grinding up the pass, or hissing brakes descending soon sends us to sleep!

 

Sunday 3rd September – Töö Ashuu Pass/ Tunnel to Bishkek

Distance: 136.69 km

Total Distance: 16900.35 km

 

After a cold night we are soon up, the plan, a 135km cycle all the way to Bishkek! Are we mad, we’ve never cycled so far! Don’t worry, apparently it’s all downhill! We set out about half past nine, having fortified ourselves with the usual cups of tea and porridge.

We complete 30km in the first hour. But the descent is not as free flowing as we would have liked; the tarmac is cracked and there are ruts and potholes to avoid. Then when we get nearer to the bottom the wind picks up in the canyon, and it’s a headwind! So now we actually need to pedal on the gentle descent to make headway.

After the canyon we cycle through open plains. We make good progress despite the headwind. After 70 km we turn right onto the main road towards Bishkek and still there’s a headwind, what gives with this wind!?

The road is busier now and as we near the capital the traffic gets even heavier. We stop at a roadside shop and grab some lunch provisions then shelter under the shade of a tree to eat our bread, cheese and crisps. Unfortunately half the cheese triangles we bought are mouldy! The rest, like the bread, are hard! But a kind lady who lives in a nearby house brings us some biscuits, bananas and tomatoes, how nice! Refreshed we push on, only another 20 km to go. The traffic is now very heavy indeed but there’s a huge car sale next to the road and there are cars and people everywhere ; it’s chaos.

We manage to escape unscathed but the remainder of the journey continues to be stressful as we dodge cars, buses and people whilst trying to spot junction signs and traffic lights. Finally, after a quick beer stop in the Metro pub, we arrive at our hostel. Our best distance ever!!!

 

Monday 4th to Wednesday 6th September

Bishkek

Most of this time is spent preparing for our flight to Nepal. First we dismantle the trikes which is unexpectedly quick and straightforward. The only difficult part is when we try to separate my frame. Daz’s came apart quite easily but mine is stuck fast. Eventually a tiny gap appears but then I snap off the end of a screwdriver trying to force it apart further.

However, preparing the bike boxes is massively time consuming. First we need to acquire normal bike boxes. Then we need to cut these up to conform to Flydubai dimensions 75cmx55cmx35cm. We also need tape and bubble wrap. We discover our 2 acquired bike boxes only makes 2 Flydubai boxes and we’re going to need 4. So now we need to acquire 2 more bike boxes and collect them. That’s 2 days committed to boxing our trikes and still we’re not done. Finally on day 3 we wrap our trike parts and box everything.

We’ve also bought 2 Chinese bags to hold our panniers. There is still more to do but we’ll finish it all up when we return from Almaty. During this epic procedure we spend time with Lottie and Ryan who we last saw in Murghab.

 

Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th September

Almaty

Thursday we catch a bus to Almaty. It’s hot, sweaty and uncomfortable and takes most of the day. Friday we head to the British Consulate where we hope to pick up some parcels. There are (we think) 4 parcels in play. Two were sent to Tashkent but took so long to get there (8 weeks) that we were long gone. The Tashkent DA kindly arranged for them to be carried to Almaty by a colleague. Two were sent to Astana, one from Azub in Czech Republic, and the other from Scotland. Both these have then had to be carried from Astana to Almaty by DA staff. So in summary a complete cluster, all of our making, and fixed by the assistance of numerous DA staff but particularly Matt (thank you all!).

We arrive at the Consulate in an exuberant mood which is soon rudely deflated when there’s no answer at the door! We check we’re in the right place for the right time. We are! But the lady who mans the office has gone off somewhere. We phone Matt in Astana. He manages to track her down but she won’t be in the office until 3pm. So we fill our time with a Croc search before returning to the Consulate. Eventually we have 4 parcels in our hands. Daz is beside himself with excitement. We’re not entirely sure what we’ve got since it’s so long since we ordered this stuff. There’s new MTB shoes, a flag, a solar panel, maps, tent pegs, credit card and more. It’s fabulous.

Saturday is sightseeing day.

In amongst the usual monuments, churches and cathedrals there’s Arbat Street. We were expecting it to be Almaty’s equivalent to Covent Garden full of street artists and arty stalls but instead it’s just a huge construction site with a mass of workmen everywhere.

The highlight of the day is the Arsan baths, a collection of baths; the Finnish, Russian and Turkish style hammams (steam rooms) and Moroccan. The bathing areas are totally segregated for men and women and most visitors are naked. We alternate between the Finnish sauna, the Russian steam room and the Hammam hot slabs with sudden cooling using the buckets of freezing water or dips in the swimming pool. In addition to the baths, I have several treatments. A back massage and a body scrub. Daz has a back massage too but also tries the venik – bunches of dried birch leaves, which have been soaked – wielded by a fellow bather who gives Daz a gentle slap (or not!) to stimulate circulation and remove toxins.

Sunday we travel back to Bishkek. During our travels around Bishkek and Almaty we’ve mostly used public buses. Obviously we can’t ask where the bus goes but with a combination of handsignals and MapsMe we’re able to travel effectively. We also use the unofficial taxi – wave a hand and a private car will stop and then it’s just a question of conveying destination and agreeing a price.

Monday 11th September

Bishkek

Today we finish packing. We’ve paid for an extra 20kg each so we each have 40kg for hold luggage. We’re allowed 7kg each as carry on luggage with a further 3kg each as a hand bag. We thought we’d easily conform to these requirements. How wrong could we be!! Daz says the trikes are no more than 20kg each and when we did a pannier weigh in, mine were under 20kg and Daz’s just over. So why are we 10kg over for hold luggage plus exceeding both carry on thresholds. Instead of the permitted 100kg we’re carrying about 113kg. This is after a complete repack (initially we were probably carrying over 120kg) which includes removing many clothing items which we’re going to ‘wear’ to board. So instead of wearing crocs, shorts and T-shirts to board it’s trousers, shirts, socks, cycling shoes, 2 jackets each with pockets filled with pants, hats, buffs and spare undies. And binning anything we can! By the end of the pack we’re both completely fed up and expect a huge bill. It’s £7 for every excess kg. Now we just have to sit and wait. We’re getting a taxi to the airport at 6pm and our flight is at 0540hrs tomorrow morning. Yes it’s an early move to the airport, but we didn’t want to pay for another night in the hostel. Hopefully we can sleep in the terminal!

 

Tuesday 12 September

Bishkek to Kathmandu

So we just about managed to load all our baggage into one 4×4 and got to the airport safely by about 7pm last night. We then had an 8 hour wait until our check in and a further 3 hours until our flight was due to depart. Fortunately the airport is pretty deserted except for another pair of cyclists with their bike boxes who are flying back home to France via Moscow. So we end up chatting away the next few hours before trying to get a little shuteye.

At 3am our check in desk opens and with fingers crossed we join the short queue. To cut a long story short we wave goodbye to our luggage and also $215 in excess luggage charges. We are so depressed. Flydubai have charged us for the extra 13 kg. Not even a whiff of letting us go free of charge. Our flights are uneventful and after a 4 hour stop over in Dubai we finally reach Kathmandu. We are shattered, grimy and irritated, but the good news is our baggage arrived with us with only one box being slightly damaged.

We load up another taxi and set of into the darkness towards Kathmandu city centre. It’s hot and humid and the traffic is as manic as we remember from previous visits to Nepal.

We get booked into our hotel in the tourist district of Thamel and after a cleansing shower decide to celebrate by going to Sam’s Bar. This is one of the only places in town Daz can remember! But it has an excellent ambience and the beers are cold.

Later we get a rickshaw taxi to a very local restaurant on a dodgy looking backstreet and eat a ton of food to soak up the beers.

Welcome to Kathmandu!!

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