After the hectic Kathmandu (where we just returned to today), it was so nice and peaceful after we arrived in Pokhara. Our hotel, the family owned North Face Inn, was real comfortable and welcoming. We spent six nights in there. In Pokhara the definitely best experience was the bicycle ride up to Sarangkot, which Tuomas described in an earlier blog text. Other than that we spent the days in Pokhara by walking around quite a lot. One day we walked up to another hill to see the white World peace pagoda. The mountain views were quite stunning from there too. Another day we walked around the city and actually the walk turned out to be a bit longer than intended as we got lost at some point. The difficulty of walking in this country is that they don't seem to ever name their roads or at least they never put any signs indicating the road's names. The map is a wee bit useless if you have no way of knowing where you are… The walk was still interesting and we saw a lot of typical Nepali houses and some small temples. The last two days in Pokhara we spent real leisurely. There was this small temple on an island on the Phewa Tal -lake. We took a boat to explore that. There were a lot of pigeons and tourist, and the temple itself was not like the most stunning one we have seen. It was still nice pastime to go there. The last day we walked a little on the Lakeside side of the lake a bit away from the town. We saw the paragliders landing and also some local people doing their daily chores.
Our favourite restaurant in Pokhara was the Third Eye restaurant on the main street. It had a nice terrace which was on the rooftop level, standing on tall metal pillars. You could see the lake from there and also in the dark it was very nice to sit there and watch the stars. The typical Nepali "thakali"-food sets were my favorites. The "dal bhat" -set includes rice and lentil soup, and you are supposed to pour the soup into the rice. Then there is some curried vegetables, some boiled salad, curd (yoghurt type of milk product), spicy sauce, some hard bread type of thing and some other things which seem to vary from one restaurant to the other. Also the Nepali breakfast in the Third Eye was really good. On top of that the prices were really good, it was markedly cheaper than many other restaurants nearby. And they had very good tea, which we have been drinking a LOT in this country. J Another favorite restaurant was the David's restaurant on the same street as our hotel. Their breakfast was good and the price was right.
After Pokhara we spent about a week discovering Lumbini (which Tuomas described in another blog entry) and Chitwan National Park (about which we will tell more later). After those we are now back in Kathmandu once again, and immediately after we climbed out of the bus our stress levels rocketed up. There were about a dozen cab drivers all trying to offer us rides, and they were really persistent. We walked back to Thamel just to figure out that we had pretty much forgotten what a hassle this place was. Everybody was trying to sell us something from flutes to scarves to accommodations to some less legal products (Tuomas got at least four or five offers of hashish). We finally located our guesthouse, which turned out to be quite basic as expected. Now we just spend two nights here, and then we are off to India!