Weronika and I are not even big fans of trekking through the mountains. Looking back, we’re not even sure how we ended up here. One day, we are relaxing on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches in the Philippines, and the next, we are in Katmandu prepping for two and a half weeks of trekking in the highest mountains in the world.
From the air, Katmandu looks a bit strange. Multi story houses are sprinkled on a flat landscape against a backdrop of the foothills of the Himalayas. The buildings seem to be randomly placed, with no rhyme or reason, facing whichever direction they happen to face when they landed from the sky. One wonders how the streets must look which connect these haphazardly placed structures into a city.
On the ground, Katmandu is a trip. Dust, colorful people, markets, stalls, stores, taxis, motorbikes, and a cow or two in the street make up the general landscape. It is loud, alive, poor, a bit suffocating, and somewhat overwhelming. The hotel van drove us directly to the tourist area of Thamel, where the cty changes somewhat. You find yourself in an oasis of clothing stores, trekking and mountaineering outfitters, restaurants, money changers, and souvenir peddlers. The streets are narrow and the offers to sell you something many.
Very quickly Weronika and I got working on prepping for our mountain adventure. We booked a roundtrip plane ticket to Lukla, which is the starting point for many Everest treks. We spent the next day shopping for warmer clothes, sleeping bags, and other gear which we would need while hiking in the hills. Thamel and its many stores had everything we would need.