Up until now I have been travelling through the more hectic parts of Nepal and that shows in my pace of doing things. I would see 3 things and try to get a fourth one in every day. In Bhaktapur the pace is different. I think it is due in part to the peace and calm of this lovely city and also to the fact that Sarah enjoys taking frequent pauses and just enjoying time. As you can imagine, we get along really well!
All of this is to say that today I took it easy. We were also limited by the fact that Sarah did not pay the toll to enter the city so we cannot wander past any of the checkpoints in case she gets caught and forced to pay! The best thing about this is that it allowed us to see a lot of the tiny streets that most people don’t venture into as we had already covered the major arteries.
My day, as is usual on this trip, started at 6 am. I did not sleep well as there were dogs fighting most of the night in front of my window and at 1 am we had a huge thunderstorm. It was scarily loud and I would have loved it if it wasn’t 1 in the morning. So at 6 I got out and saw early morning Bhaktapur. It is a lovely city and well worth waking up for. Plenty of people on the streets and all the temples were full of people worshipping.
I had agreed to meet Sarah at the hostel at 8 am and I needed to move my stuff there as I was planning on spending the night at my new hostel. Just as I was leaving the old place, the guy at reception reminded me that I had a free breakfast included in the price so I was begrudgingly 15 minutes late to meet Sarah. The breakfast was one of the best meal to date here. They said it had hash browns but it was a stir fry of potatoes, onions and sweet peppers with some secret heavenly spice on top. I also got scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of toast, coffee and orange juice. Suffice it to say I had a late lunch. 🙂 I arrived at my new hostel at 8:15 and I was greeted by Sarah, Jacques and Laure. Jacques and Laure were supposed to meet a Nepali friend of theirs to go to his house at 8:30 and spend the night. The friend did not show up until 9:30 by which time I was informed that there were no rooms available for me but there might be space in one of the dorms. Luckily Laure offered me their room as they had it booked anyway and it was already paid. So in the end I have a double room with a bathroom to stay in, yay!
Sarah and I wandered around town for the rest of the day, exploring as we wished. It’s great to walk around with her as she will enter places I would not have gone into. Bhaktapur is full of little tunnels that lead to the interior courtyards and are well worth exploring. There’s always a way out if you look for it and the people seem amused rather than annoyed that we walk through their courtyards. I don’t think we would be as nice if that happened back home.
After a quick pre-lunch siesta (yeah, holidays are exhausting!) we looked for a place to eat. We ended up going up to a place called Dattatraya Rooftop Cafe where we had a selection of local Newari food and a shot of local engine degreaser which they say is actually alcohol. They views were great and we ended up lounging there for a couple of hours. Just before we left, poor Sarah got a really bad shock from some loose wiring but the waiter said not to worry as that only meant that Sarah has high blood pressure. People with normal blood pressure do not get shocked, which he proved by… not getting shocked!
We walked back to Durbar square to see the sunset and sat there for an hour or so, talking to some locals which tried to make us go see their painting school (to sell us some mandala paintings) but which were still nice when we said no. After that we did a quick stroll through the market and went back to the hostel. We grabbed a couple of freshly squeezed juices (and were proud to pay half what the Chinese tourist paid) and we’re now chilling at the rooftop terrace.
Tomorrow promises to be a hectic day as we want to visit a monastery in the morning, come back here and then take a bus to Nagarkot, to see the sunset over the Himalayas. All this while not getting caught by any of the checkpoints so Sarah does not have to pay. Tune in tomorrow!