I want to start early and ordered breakfast for 6.30h even though my guide said it’s too early, too cold… Breakfast is ready at 6h45 and I enjoy porridge with bananas and a view on the mountains! What a great start into the day. I can’t wait to start walking so I am leaving ahead of the German couple (it was the last time I saw them as they walked slower). It’s going to be a lot of road today as we slowly get higher and higher.
Soon we reach Ngadi, with some nice lodges and a lot of flowers! We continue into an area where a hydropower plant is being built – by Chinese! They have their own houses to live and all the signs are in Chinese and English. As we meet a couple of Chinese workers on the road, one of them wants to take a picture of me to show to his friends. I was expecting a lot – but not a Chinese taking a picture of me in the middle of a trek in Nepal! The whole situation feels pretty unreal and I am happy once we left this area.
The sun is finally reaching us in the valley and I enjoy walking along the green rice fields. We see 3 girls who are distilling millet to produce the local wine called Rakshi. They are happy for me to take pictures of them. Later I will be able to taste a bit of Rakshi – it’s not that strong and drinkable, but not more….
Then we have to take a steep hike up to Bahundanda, which is at 1310m. There is a Tourist Check Point where Prakash gets my permit signed up while I take some pictures. As we continue there is a first beautiful lookout with a special tree and I ask Prakash to take a picture of me. I am quickly realizing that he has no clue about how to take pictures and will soon move to taking selfies rather than asking him! The views on the terraces and the river is very nice and I enjoy walking down for a while after the ascent. I talk still quite a lot with Prakash, about family, work etc and it’s nice to have some company.
After realizing yesterday that my bagpack was a bit too heavy, I gave Prakash my sleeping bag including the inlay – so I am carrying 1700g less and that feels perfect to me. At Ghermu we stop for lunch and I am eating my first Dhal Bat. Nice! Especially for the refill – which is not yet needed but my body will need it already in a few days!
We continue along a quite high waterfall and cross another suspension bridge to Syange, then to Jagat and from there to Chamje. When we arrive in Chamje I realize there is still time to continue walking; and so we hike on a few more hours to Tal. We reach Tal at sunset and it’s already getting darker. The town still looks beautiful as it’s right in the bottom of the valley next to the Marsyangdi River we are following since yesterday. I will see very quickly though that it has more the feeling of a ghost town, as all the buildings are just empty guesthouses. Everything was just built for tourists!
We stay in the very colourful Tilicho Hotel & Restaurant as the only guests. I am happy when I am proposed to take a hot shower – which will be one of the best during my trek! The water is heated by a wood fire just next to the shower which also heats up the bathroom itself… in all the other showers I will be quite frozen in the bathroom itself when I am not directly in the warm water. I wash myself and put on my still fresh night clothes (basically my thermal underwear) and am invited to sit at the fire in the kitchen while our host couple is preparing Dhal Bat for us… or well, for me first and when I am finished they will eat together with my guide. I really enjoy this evening, watching how they prepare the food, walking outside in the garden to collect fresh spinach, saying all the time “chou”, meaning “cold”. I will hear this word a lot from the Nepali. And still we aren’t even yet at high altitude but the evenings quickly become cold even if the days are warm. The couple were both born here and for 30 years they are already having a guesthouse, they were among the first to open one. Now they have to face a lot of competition with at least 20 guesthouses having opened in the last years.
I go to bed early to read a little and I realize when reading my guidebook in my warm and cozy sleeping bag that I walked today in 1 day what usually are 2 recommended hiking days!