Family Festival and a Sore Arse
Katie had volunteered in this mountain town around 6 years ago and with her highest recommendation we had a quick stay at Khangasar in Kathmandu a roadhouse pizza and took the bus in the early hours of the morning. The bus journey was an experience in itself with some bumpy roads, giant homemade swings, sacrificial goats and gorgeous views.
Our arrival in Pokhara happened to be the start of the Doshain festival (Deepavali). So of course everything was a few rupees more expensive, service in restaurants was slower due to lack of staff and then the lady we hired bikes from didn't have a map-because of festival! It didn't hinder us too much and made us laugh as anything that wasn't quite right was 'because of festival!' We did experience some positives of festival time when our guest house owner invited us to join his family with some of the festivities. We had masala tea, lots of fruit and tikka on our forehead. Raj and his family are so friendly and have very cute children with great names, the daughter is called Princess and the son (who we thought was another daughter!) is called, wait for it… Prince! Unfortunately it was raining on the main day of the festival so the party atmosphere was a bit lacking. In fact we didn't have much luck with the weather in Pokhara during the four days we were there two of them had such bad rain we couldn't do much at all. It was a bit frustrating as we had wanted to do all of the things Katie had recommended.
On our first day, when the weather was nice, we took a rowing boat onto the lake for the day where James did most of the rowing and I did most of the relaxing! We stopped off to look at a Buddhist stupa that was on the mountain. We thought it would be a two minute walk to the top. About 45 minutes later we finally reached the summit after passing some American walkers in their full trekking gear, poles included. We strolled by in a skirt, well I did, and flip flops (surprise!). The views were amazing we could see the lake, Pokhara and the snow-capped mountains of the Annapurna range in the distance. When we were back on the water we took time out from relaxing to save a butterfly in need and then had to row quickly from one side of the lake to the other when the rain started!
As we had been cooped up for two straight days, only venturing out to enjoy the culinary delights of Pokhara's restaurants, on the last day we hired bikes. We were disappointed as we had wanted to have an overnight stay at one of the mountains but although it wasn't raining there were so many clouds we couldn't see too much. We took the bikes to another area of Pokhara to see some caves, full of slow Nepalese people taking ages, and Devil Falls, a small but beautifully formed waterfall. We cycled back to the guest house for a rest before biking around the other side of the lake. The ride was scenic but hellishly bumpy so with extremely sore arses we took another bus headed to Chitwan National Park. Never again will we do a day long bike ride just before an Asian bus ride!