The next stop on our roadtrip was Pokhara, my second visit since our first time back in November. It was much more interesting to arrive by road than by plane, especially since the last visit had been very foggy and there was nothing to see from the air. Mist still hung around the town and lake, but this time the Annapurnas weren’t so shy and we had great views each day of our three day stay.
We took a morning boat ride across Fewa lake, while the mist still hung around. It was beautiful and a bit eerie at the same time as we watch silhouettes of oarsmen gliding over of the sparkling water.
Our destination was the trail head up to the Peace Pagoda, a pleasant 1 hour hike up to the top of a hill. Halfway up we stopped at a small cafe for a cold glass of water and took in the views.
When we’d had our fill of stunning Himalayan views, we drove back down the mountain by car, which took over half an hour on the dusty narrow road. (We’d walked up in an hour). When we arrived back in town the police wouldn’t let us drive our car back to the hotel, so we parked out of town and walked. Pretty soon it became clear why, as music start and a group of Nepali VIP’s lead the start of what turned out to be a very long parade.
The colourful parade went by for a good half an hour: an amazing array of clubs, societies, musical and dramatic displays. It heralded the start of the four day Pokhara Street Festival, now in its 15th year, aimed at the tourist celebration of New Year. Restaurants took their food out on to the streets at night, and competing vendors with tinny music systems blared out distorted music over one another. I could have done without that! From our street-side hotel the racket went on til late, but some how we managed to fall asleep anyway.
The next morning we had originally planned to take Latham paragliding and, although I wasn’t eager to pay good money for my son to jump off a cliff, I knew how badly he wanted to do it and are several reputable companies in Pokhara….so I agreed. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) they were fully booked. So instead Latham and Jess launched themselves down from one hillside to another on the Zip Flyer, the world’s longest zipline. Pokhara is rapidly becoming the Nepalese center for extreme sports, with a giant bungee jump in construction too…
After the thrill seeking duo returned, we headed out to lunch at Krishna’s Kitchen, a popular Thai restaurant on the North side of the lake. The food was good, but the best part of the experience was watching the paragliders land on the beach in front of us, some so low we could see the expressions on their faces. The location was perfect too…a beautiful sunny day, peaceful sparkling waters and no noise or crowds. Staying at Lakeside has been fun, but if we return for a few days, I think I’d like to say on the quiet North shore next time… it was a beautiful spot!