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Monday, October 12, 2009

Seeking postcard perfection

We left the City Sunday morning in search of the postcard perfect views promised from the village of Nagarkot. As quoted from Lonely Planet (they are never wrong are they?), "...between October and March a trip to Nagarkot will nearly always be rewarded with a view over the Himalaya...". We had planned the trip as an overnight outing last weekend but canceled when the forecast was for cloud and rain. The purpose of the trip was, after all, to take in the amazing views.

The sun returned to us on Thursday and I checked and double checked the forecast for Nagarkot through Monday. All sunshine! No chance of rain. With the promise of 30 degree celcius highs, we set out. In just two and a half hours we reached Nagarkot, a whopping 32km east of Kathmandu, by public bus(es).

After negotiating the switchbacks to reach this viewpoint village, we walked the strip of lodging in search of the perfect accommodation. Having decided to treat ourselves, the checklist included windows out over the mountain range, maybe a balcony, and what the heck, a rooftop patio would be nice... We found a huge range of accommodation, everything from dingy two dollar dorm room right up to one hundred dollar suites. Most of the accommodation recommended in our trusty Lonely Planet guide however, was accommodating Kathmandu's Narcotics Anonymous conference being held, as chance would have it, this very same weekend.

Hungry from our travels, we ended up stumbling across an adorable hillside restaurant that happened to operate two small cabins. Basic, nothing fancy, but adorable and perfect with a view out over the valley. Just what we had been looking for for our overnight retreat from the City!

This little gem would cost us but a few bucks so we decided to splurge on a bottle of wine. (We hiked uptown, found the finest of 'blush' wines, got lost making our way back, wound up smack in the middle of the NA meeting, and cut in front of the stage, all eyes on us, with brown bag in hand,... oops). A whole lot chillier than in Kathmandu, we bundled up determined to soak up the peace of the great outdoors and enjoy a glass (mug) of wine by the light of the moon before turning in. Planning to hike up to the lookout tower to catch the sunrise, we peeked out our window at 5am to see a blanket of clouds. We could barely make out the hillside below let alone an elusive mountain range off in the distance. Realizing that we had experienced several hours of uninterrupted sleep (a rarity in Kathmandu) in this peaceful little paradise, we shrugged off the disappointment and welcomed a few more hours of shuteye. Surely the clouds would clear by late morning, the forecast was for a beautiful day afterall...

After breakfast, we hiked up to the lookout tower. The following photos compare my postcard perfection to the view we were actually afforded.

We decided to continue our hike down through the countryside from Nagarkot to Banepa, increasing our chances at catching a view of the Himalaya. Surely the clouds would clear by early afternoon, the forecast was for a beautiful day afterall...

Standing in the pouring down rain somewhere between Nagarkot and Banepa, I gave in to the fact that, not only had Lonely Planet lied but so had the weatherman! Taking on an optimistic, and somewhat naive, attitude I had decided against packing my raincoat. Though I shivered in the wet and cold, the friendly greetings and smiles from the women that we passed en route (who also were not afforded the luxury of rainwear), carting their huge baskets on their backs and sloshing through the puddles in their barefeet while pointing our way down the hillside, kept us motivated.

We eventually found the sunshine and I can't think of a better way to have spent the afternoon than navigating the countryside of the beautiful Kathmandu Valley. Though we still have yet to feast our eyes on the Himalaya, finding the peace and quiet of the hillsides and the beauty of the villages along the way was a more than satisfying alternative.


  1. Love the wine in the mug!! You guys made the most of your adventure, like usual! At least you've been spared SNOW in early October! Don't ya miss Alberta??Ha ha!

  2. Let's see.... 32km/2.5hours on the bus..... hmmmmm. Could you have hiked it in that time?
    You are in for culture shock when you get back home. If you ever decide to return home, that is.