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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Annapurna trek Nepal

Well we have been totally useless at writing our blog but at least we can use the excuse that we have been having far to much fun!!!! We shall en-devour to be much better for the next few months and actually try and put some photos up.

Having booked our trek we met our amazing group who we would spend the next three weeks with, one other Brit, 2 kiwis and 2 Australians. We set off the next day and were lulled into thinking we had booked a luxery excursion as our first night was spent in the "Old Inn" a beautiful old house full of wooden beams, wonky stairs and beautiful wood carving (along with tutor style paintings) and would have looked more suited to the Suffolk countryside.

We set off the next morning for our first proper day of walking. Nepal is amazing, we passed through tiny villages, field after field of rice paddies as far up the mountain as you could see. Rickety bridges over gorges with milky blue water running underneath. Our next nights accommodation wasn't quite as glamorous, as you can see. One of our group was woken in the middle of the night with a huge rat stealing her banana!!

As we climbed higher and came closer to the Tibetan border we began to see Tibetan prayer wheels at every village, yaks became more of a common sight and we all began to love the tables that had fire stoves underneath that we filled with yak dung but kept you so toasty as the temperatures outside plummeted at night time (i was also very glad to have the biggest down sleeping bag and jacket you could find!!). In some cases the walls were quite literally paper thin, showers very quickly became a thing of the past (unless you could brave a glacial wash down from a bucket and the baby wipes, carried all the way from England, were the most important thing i had in my rucksack. Although December is a bit cold, it  is an amazing time of the year to be trekking as often we didn't see any other westerners for days and felt like we had the Himalayas to our selves.

Newly engaged
We walked at a steady pace between 5-9 hours everyday in preparation for the Throng La pass which at 5416m was to be the highest point on our trek. We we woken at 4am and set off at 5, tiny head torches could be seen impossibly high on the mountain in the pitch black, we set off in -15 conditions with every single item of clothing we owned on. Was so cold our water froze in our bottles and you had to keep your head down against the biting cold wind. After 4 hours of trudging for me ( i couldn't breathe properly as the air was reduced to 50% of that at sea level), Ben was almost skipping up,  we reached the top. So freezing cold and windy but the views were amazing and hundreds of prayer flags covered the stupa at the top. Everyone in our group made it to the top although one was so badly affected  by the altitude that he was immediately carried down the other side. Ben wanted to do a little extra walking and managed to convince me to climb a little higher to get photos from another hill. I wasn't overly impressed and did spend most of the extra climb voicing my opinion! Once we got to the top I was slightly confused by his seeming lack of interest in actually taking any photos. It was so cold and windy I just wanted to get it over and done with, but Ben just seemed to be faffing around trying to remove his gloves. I had no idea what he was doing and still didn't understand when he got onto one knee (I just thought he was getting something from his bag!). It was only once he revealed a small paper box from his pocket that I twigged. We were engaged at just over 5430m. He had kept the ring in his day sack all the way through India without me finding it. Time for the descent and finally I  got my own back on Ben as I love the downhill and it would appear that Ben's knees don't!!

The downhill section took us through beautiful villages, sunny fields, Tibetan monasteries, seemingly the windiest valley in the world  (if it wasn't for the strong grasp of our Sherpa i would have been blown off the edge!! money well spent), the longest and hardest staircase I've ever climbed that went on and on and on and on (2000m worth of the buggers in a single day), and the best views of the Annapurna region from the top of Poon Hill. Unfortunately we couldn't charge our camera the night before but had to complete photo freeks at hand to take over 2000!!!

Three weeks after starting we found ourselves in Pokera where we bumped into one of Ben's Gurka friends who appeared to have done the same walk in about 5 minutes. Spent a few days in Kathmandu where we endured riots under hotel arrest and a slightly  bizarre Christmas. We have fallen totally in love with Nepal and can't wait to come back but now ready for some sunshine and off to Vietnam!!!

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