Day 2: Pokhara
It is said to be one of the most tourist-friendly cities in Nepal. With its Lake Side full of organic coffee shops, restaurants ranging from Mediterranean to Burgers or Chinese bistros, Pokhara might seem a bit out of place. But do not worry, we are in Nepal after all!
Sketch of the day: Boulevard, People and Goats.
I don’t know whether they were supposed to graze on the hot concrete pavement, but apparently, this was the perfect place to have them.
Date: 8th October 2019, afternoon
Location: Pokhara, Nepal
...But now, let us go back to the beginning.
We arrived by a minibus from Kathmandu, a journey I highly recommend if you want to get to know Nepalese cities and people in them. Our transport was not “Tourist only”, meaning it was was crowded, lacking air conditioning, and a lot of fun. Listening to catchy Nepalese songs, we were slowly bumping our way forward, 200 km in 8-11 hours. This was the first time when we tasted traditional Nepalese breakfast: at 11ish, we stopped at an amazingly suspicious bistro and were served a full plate with legumes, rice, noodles, dal and curry, a rather different experience to European toast or cornflakes. Needles to say, the food was delicious and cheap. In Nepal, we go by the rule: “The dodgiest the tastier”, and it sure holds true.
The journey was slow and gave us enough time to enjoy the crowdedness of our vehicle as well as the changing scenery of settlements with endless shops and restaurants, chaotic traffic, tons of rubbish everywhere, haphazard houses and sheds inhabited by people of all ages, playing, sitting and chatting, surrounded by animals of all kinds.
Have we opted for an expensive bus with “lunch included” and a prescribed seat number, this experience would have been much weaker.
Pokhara is a more planned city than Kathmandu. It has some sort of street structure, roads are also ok, and there are many almost western-style places to eat and stay. Stepping out of the bus far away from the famous Lake Side, however, gave us some insight into the real city.
The first street we walked is captured in my sketch for the day.
The pavement itself would give material for a whole modern art exhibition, with its amazingly varied shapes and curves and random pipes and holes.
This policeman was taking his job very seriously, making sure the streets remain orderly.
Lake Side itself was vibrant, full of white tourists, and kinda fun. All over Nepalese cities, I have enjoyed the way they take wires through the street. Completely random, hopefully not deadly, and strangely photogenic.
We stayed in Hotel Point, which I highly recommend if you search for a nice hot shower, clean rooms, welcoming staff and a neat compromise between Nepalese and continental breakfast. In the upper floors, you also get a great view of the Himalayas in the morning.
In the evening, we searched for all the missing gear, stocked up on some energy bars, and gathered all the permissions for trekking from Pokhara’s tourist information points. Nepalese cities have been chaotic, loud and vibrant, and we were ready to leave the city for a while...