Nepal, Travel diary

Monks, monasteries and mountains

We continued our Base Camp trek, leaving Namche, and used the path that was built by a man and his team, and he sits there collecting donations to continue their work. He was something like 96. Incredible.

We set off for Tengboche, where there is the largest monastery in the area. It was a very long day, with six hours of ‘Nepali flat’, which was Dawa speak for ups and downs, and then a two hour vertical climb to reach Tengboche.┬áIt hurt.

It was worth it all for the monastery. It was absolutely beautiful, as it had just been finished being repainted after previous fires and earthquakes had destroyed it. We got to sit in silence while the monks meditated. It was one of the most humbling, peaceful things I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. It was one of those moments you remember forever, sitting on the steps of the monastery, watching the clouds roll through, and an eagle soaring with the thermals. Marvelling at the worlds highest mountains, still in shock that I made it. I was busy trying to ignore the horse that came to hang out and thought my camera looked delicious. Let me enjoy this moment equine friend!

The monastery had a piece of rock that has been there since the 16th century. It has two dents in it, left by a monk who kneeled and meditated for so long over the years it has left his imprint. It has a huge crack through it, as it didn’t quite survive one of the earthquakes. Or maybe it was the fire. Not always the best of luck.

We cracked on to Dengboche, which was a tough trek, as we had to go down a huge valley, only to be at the same altitude we left Tengboche. The clouds rolled in, and I was expecting rain…was so not prepared for snow. Maybe the pink Nikes weren’t the best idea after all. The altitude was about 4400m by this stage, and the vegetation stopped at 4000m. It was very surreal, it felt like walking on the moon. Add to that you can hear your heartbeat in your ears, as your blood is pumping so hard through your body because of the altitude, and it all becomes a very weird experience.

About half of our group were really beginning to notice the altitude. Dawa kept telling us to drink plenty of water, as this was the main way to stop it affecting you, so I wasn’t taking any chances.

The snow set in hard, but it was a ‘rest day’, so we had breakfast at 8. Woohoo sleep in! The kitchen staff were awake from 4am, singing their heads off. Bless. Our acclimatisation hike took us to about 4800m, where we had to hang around in the snow for a while, to get our breath and adjust. We could barely see in front of our faces, and Dawa was dancing like an Egyptian to keep everyone in good spirits. We really were blessed to have such wonderful guides.

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