Live from the Himalayas (2): Nepal Diaries Kathmandu
The Buddhist stupa in Bodnath is one of the cultural treasures of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the valley of Kathmandu © Trail Angels
Those who come to Kathmandu with an open heart and serenity will be fascinated by this melting pot. For hardly in any other city in the world do tradition and modernity meet as conflict-free as in Kathmandu. Here the countless temples (an old quote claims that there are more temples in Kathmandu than people), the load carriers and rickshaws and the colorful lively markets; and there the young western-dressed Nepalis with their smartphones, the tourist stores and hip restaurants and bars. Kathmandu is truly unique and those who do not succumb to its magic should seriously work on their cosmopolitanism and tolerance.
Power lines in Thamel © Trail Angels
The next day welcomes us with bright sunshine. It will be a special day in any case, because within a few hours we will go by car from the evergreen monsoon forest through all kinds of landscape levels up to the already Tibetan highlands. The road, which remains spectacular, has meanwhile become accustomed to us, although the rapid succession of impressions – one is simply much faster on the road by car than when trekking – almost overwhelms me. Near Timang, we enter an enchanting rhododendron forest that is in full bloom. The many shades of red and pink of its blossoms contrast delightfully with the brilliant white of the glacier giants. A few kilometers later, the landscape changes again: from Koto, dense coniferous forests replace the rhododendron and one feels reminded of the Rocky Mountains, if the narrow valley were not overlooked by ice giants. And at Pisang, we are now already over 3,000m high, the valley suddenly widens into a wide U-valley, revealing the whole splendor of the Annapurna Himal. Several times the jeep track crosses huge avalanche cones, the witness of the massive snowfalls last March.
The graduate geographer is one of the founders and managing directors of Trail Angels, which is responsible for the web platform Bookyourtrail.com. As a trekking & outdoor freak, he is one of the fathers of the Alpe-Adria Trail and has been exploring the Nepalese Himalayas for more than 25 years.
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