It’s hard to describe Pokhara without being romantic. Just imagine. A great gleaming lake, surrounded by green hills and the snow-capped Annapurna mountains like sleeping giants as the backdrop. The place is buzzing with hippy, athletic types in their ethnic clothing and fully loaded backpacks, the sky is dotted with paragliders, there’s trendy cafes and yoga retreats at every corner offering relief for the mind and body.
We took a 7 hour coach trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara which sounds horrendous with a child but it actually turned out to be absolutely fine and fun too. The service from Greenline coaches was great, they left on time, drove carefully and offered a decent lunch. Ava loved seeing the mountain views, the rivers, spotting bridges and counting diggers along the way and wasn’t fazed at all by the fact that we were driving right at the edge of mountains with sheer drops just inches away.
There was one unexpected hiccup on the way though and it reminds me how every day I am learning something new about my daughter. This time it was how particular she is about cleanliness that she refused to go to the loo at all three rest stops. The first two were ‘too stinky mummy’ and ‘too dirty’ and the third just filled her with horror, the sight of a squatting toilet. Now every time we go to the loo she makes sure ‘there is no floor toilet mummy?’
Our three day trip to Pokhara turned into two weeks. We’ve spent our days walking by the lakeside, hiking up the hill to the World Peace Pagoda which was not easy with a toddler on daddy’s shoulder but the views were amazing, doing yoga, paragliding and just taking in the tranquil surroundings.
What we’ve loved most is doing yoga here. We were planning to take it in turns to do classes but the yoga instructor was more than happy for Ava to join in which definitely made life easier. She ended up putting us all to shame by doing a better mountain pose! It was good to take a few toys with us too as the lessons are quite long, so when she wasn’t joining in she would play quietly or use us as climbing frames.
When you’re walking around Pokhara, enchanted by the incredible landscape, the laid back vibe, you forget Nepal is actually a poor country. I didn’t really think about this until taking our clothes to the launderette and seeing a baby’s crib in the corner and the sight of a bedroom through the back door. Although these people may be struggling financially, there is a sense of inner peace and happiness when you talk to them and this is something incredible in itself.
We’ve crossed paths with so many interesting people here. Some who are seeking adventure, to trek and paraglide and others who have come to give back like the Christian missionaries from the USA. One man was particularly interesting. An Israeli man, inspired by the Buddhist way of life, gave away all of his wealth when he retired. Now he comes to the lake side every day to sell his Kombucha (traditional Chinese drink which Ru is addicted to) just to earn enough to lead a basic lifestyle. There are so many people who are seeking adventure and so many coming to give back. I hate to say it but there is a real sense of eat, pray, love here.