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The Annapuna Circuit: hike through all types of climate zones and villages!

07/11/2021

I woke up very soon, unable to fall back asleep. I read "Speedbump Himalayas" until around 7:30, when I showered and woke Alex so he got ready, too. At 8:30 we were out and about and found a place for breakfast (omelette, toast, coffee). Then, at 9:30, we were at the Nepal Tourism Board, where a guy called us from around the building and took us to the permits office, where 2 guys where finishing the papers from other people, and gave un the forms we had to fill. We had to just fill one, the ACAP permit, give 2 pictures and pay 3000 rupees each. Then, I went back to the main entrance thinking we had to ask for the TIMS somewhere else, but the security guy told us we had to go back where we were. So we went back, asked, and they literally told us "in this times, TIMS is free", and that we didn't need it when hiking on our own. Ok, cool! We were out before 10. Apparently, even if everywhere is written tey open at 10, they open at 9.

Sign on the NTB stating the timetable for issuing permits
Sign on the NTB stating the timetable for issuing permits

We tried to get a taxi back to the Everland Hotel but the one we found wouldn't take us, so we walked back stoping in several ATMs. We packed, checked out and took a taxi to the BG mall, where the microbuses stop is. We looked a bit around and a guy spotted us and told us 1k each to Besisahar. No chance to negotiate. He put our bags on the top, called some more people, and started at 12 sharp. We stopped a couople times to pick some more people until it was VERY full (for what I understood, some of them were friends with people that were already in the microbus). In the first 30 minutes, the kind in the front was already puking in a bag. Poor thing, we didn't hear hin at all during the last 6h the trip lasted.

We arrived at 18:15 and checked in the Gateway Himalaya Resort, waaaaaaaaaaaay too fancy for Besisahar! But hey, for 2k the night we decided to stain in the very clean room with towels. We had dinner there, too, which took FOREVER but was nice.

Laura wrote half trip about buying a flat half with them for mum, sell her flat and use the money to remodel it. Sounded great! I called her about it before going to sleep and then we were excited about the hike and the flat! :D

Opening times for permit issues
Some info for the trek
Microbus station
The microbus

08/11/2021

We got up, packed, and went to have breakfast. It took forever again, so waking up at 7 we were done at almost 9! I went to the the bathroom when we were done and... my period came. Perfect timing, as usual!

We checked out, walked outside to the end of the village and asked (and payed) for a bus to Ngadi. There, we met Stephan, a German man that has already been 4 times in Nepal. After the bus ride, we decided to have some tea and walk together (after all, we are going the same way!).

The first bridge we crossed!
The first bridge we crossed!

We stopped to have lunch in Bahundanda. We ordered 3 times the same thing but... Alex ordered momos, too. And since they make them fresh, we were longer waiting for the food than the 90 minutes we had walked so far. We still had 3 hours to go, it was past 2 and wanted to come with light, so we had to hurry a bit. There was a swing on the path and we took some pictures there. A kid came and told us it was his, and Stephan gave him and his sister two finger puppets from Ikea. Actually, a very cool idea for kids gifts!

Ghermu was beautiful. In the first guest house, a girl asked us where were we going. We said Jagat, asked how long is was, and she said 1:30h (what we thought). Next guest house, the same. She asks, we say Jagat, and she replies "oh, but that is still 2h!". Lol. One was better at trying to lure us in!

Coming down from Ghermu to Syange we saw the waterfall and on the road just next to it, a recent small landslide. There were 5 jeeps waiting and clearing rocks from the road. They cleared it as soom as we arrived to the road part of the day, that thankfully was very short.

In Jagat (where we arrived... drumroll... 90 minutes after Ghermu!), we checked a couple places and stayed in Tilicho hotel, clean and colourful. Double room with bathroom, they asked what we wanted for dinner while I showered so we didn't have to wait. It was a very nice Dal Bhat. We ate with Stephan and planned the next day, and we ordered breakfast for next day at 7:30.

The first hanging bridge
A valley
The swing in the path
Flowers in Ghermu

09/11/2021

I woke up before our alarm went off, but by the time we were ready it was already 7:30, time for breakfast. We met downstairs with Stephan and we started our long day at 8:15. After 20 minutes, there was a sign on the left of the road saying hiking path, but after a loooooooong staircase up, where somehow in the middle changed from white-red to white-blue sign (secondary path), we decided to come back down, saw a small path and took it to just cross the waterfall and back to the road. After Chamje, we took the path to Tal. It was gorgeous, and the Manang Entrance Gate is spectacular!

Alex and I in front of the Manang entrance gate
Alex and I in front of the Manang entrance gate

When we were going to go down to Tal, a guide came and told us that the July Monsoon broke the villages, path and bridges up and that we had to, sadly, follow the jeep track. It was just 12 and we didn't to just eat yet, so decided to stop in the next place. In the beginning of the track, we had our first permit control. 75 minutes later, we arrived to the JK restaurant. I was hungry by then, and already worried for a while because Stephan didn't have water, so it felt like a well deserved stop.

We kept walking and crossed Dharapani, with lots of awesome lodges, but continued to Bagarchap, as suggested by our guide. The guest house, Marsyangdi lodge and restaurant, was very basic but clean. We should have, maybe, walked the 30 minutes more to Danagyu, but at that point I was already tired. We got our rooms, showered and froze in the common room with 2 not-so-fit Irish guys and some Nepalese doing the Circuit with motorbikes.

At 8:30 we were already in our sleeping bags, since there was nothing else to do. Stephan is sick, a lot of people around too... I am sure we will fall at one point, but I hope it happens after the pass!

One of the several waterfalls on the way
The Manang entrance gate
Cutie villagers
Our basic room

10/11/2021

We got up and it was freezing! But once I got a tean and a Tsampa porridge (maybe nor a thing for everyone, since I just tried because Stephan told me he hated it, but I liked it), I got warm. Then, we started walking (I remoed the jacket just before starting). Danagyu was very nice, we saw the first ot the temples with a big wheel inside! Short before Timang, we met a new group: 3 young Israelis with their porter. We kept seeing them, the big german group, and the swiss couple all day long (and the Nepalis with the motorbikes overtook us at some point, too!). In the top of Timang we stopped for a tea (the guy working there got Stephan's order wrong) and ate some cookies. From there, the walk was very easy and straight. In Koto we had to check in a check point.

Alex making good use of the prayer wall
Alex making good use of the prayer wall

We arrived in Chame and... everything was destroyed. We walked to the end of the village to check the place recommended by the guide and didn't look good, so we checked another two and end up staying in the furthest away from the "city center" one, the Hotel Mountain Lodge. The rooms are free if we eat dinner and breakfast there, very nice rooms, veeeeeeery nice common hall and we washed and hanged our clothes before going back to the city to find food. We checked the bakery but just had donuts, so we went back to a meat shop Stephan had seen, where people from the village eats. We got buff and chicken momos, very cheap and nice! Then we split from Stephan for some "romantic" time. We got the donut from the bakery and roamed the place, taking the streets uphill where no guest house was. There, we sat to see the sunset over the Manaslu, turning it red. Then, we crossed a hanging bridge towards a poorer area, and saw a party going on inside a building with some fire outside. They invited us to dance, but said no, since we already had dinner ordered in our hotel. And it was crazy to see how totally destroyed the village is, but how much work they put in it and how optimistic they stay.

The dinning hall was fully heated, with the german group and their guide, and chilled and had dinner there, hearing them.

First of this kind I've ever seen
Prayer wheels wall
First clear view of a the mountains! Here with Stephan
Devastation in Chame after the monsoon
Sunset over the Manaslu

11/11/2021

Today was a nice day!

We woke up again before the alarm went off, and were having breakfast at 7:30 (I had a masala omelette and Alex a pancake, both very tasty). We started walking a bit after 8:30. The way followed the road but it was still nice, and we met a French girl, Cassy (Cassandre) travelling on her own with her guide Ravi. She told us she had quitted her job in Berlin to travel the world until the end of the year. You go, girl! After an hour and a half we arrived to the Apple farm, where the German group and... well, actually everyone, was having a snack, so we did too. Apples, apple muffins, apple crumble and apple juice... everything was amazing. The only thing we didn't try was the brandy. Some guys on a motorbike did, though! There were some puppies there and they loved our rests, too. I felt bad because I offered my muffin liner to a puppy to lick it but didn't grab it good enough apparently, so the idiot took it away, they fought a bit for it, and the cutest one ate it. I tried to stop him, put my hands inside his mouth (super good idea, now that I think about it)... but he swallowed it.

Can we please take a moment to appreciate this part of the way
Can we please take a moment to appreciate this part of the way

Sfter it, we kept walking to Dhukur Pokhari, where we had lunch on a roof top with breathtaking views. From there, it was and easy 45 minute trekking path to Upper Pisang. We had to cross a new small wooden bridge, since the suspension one was broken during the monsoon, too. Short before arriving, we catched up with the German group and followed them shamelessly to their place, the first one: the Hilltop hotel, a very big pink building. We got 2 rooms with attached bathroom, for free if we eat there. Since there was a problem (and a queue) with the hot shower outside, we took a cold one inside. Then, we ordered a tea and enjoyed the views to the Annapurna II from the roof top. And we were able to see the other guesthouses' rooftops, includig the Isralis doing yoga on theirs. The group had the rooms in the first row with the views, but, really, what for?

After, Alex and I went to see a bit of the village and to the temple on the top, and when we were already leaving it, the German group came. It was nice to have it for our own, a lady there opened it just for us to see it! Stephan decided to stay down, and apparently he went after on his own and didn't like it. Strange. To go back to our place we found the most beautiful prayer wall and took lots of pictures (and videos), got slightly lost, had to avoid a pissed cow, found the German group smelling some dried marijuana plants... We enjoyed walking a bit more around the videogame-worth village and  couple meters from our place we found one of the Irisi guys, who looked (and confirmed that he was) destroyed. The rest of the night was having spent in the common room, planning next days, drinking tea and eating Dal Bhat.

On our sunny way!
Pretty epic way...
Views are just breathtaking
From the temple in Upper Pisang
Prayer wheels with a view in Upper Pisang

12/11/2021

I slept very little, maybe one hour or so, I was just fully awake. Apparently is one of the things that can happen when encountered with altitude. We got up, had breakfast and set off with the German group, overtaking them shortly after and started the slow climb up to Ghyaru. The views were breathtaking, and when we arrived there was a bakery where we got some tea and apple pie (finally! we had read all kinds of things about how this trek is called the apple pie trek but appart from the apple farm, we hadn't seen any) on a rooftop with Cassy.

On the left, Ghyaru already from the distance on the way to Ngawal
On the left, Ghyaru already from the distance on the way to Ngawal

Then, we started going down to Ngawal, here we were supposed to just stop for lunch before continuing our way to Manang, but things started going south. Alex had been really sick (got Stephan's cold) during the night, and now he was just not feeling fine and very tired. In Ngawal we had lunch in a very nice place (Cassy and the Swiss couple were there, too) and Alex napped before the food came. Stephan gave us a nose spray to help with the congestion and we decided to keep going, but even before leaving the village, I saw Alex was not even walking straight anymore, so I said we needed to stay for the night. We said goodby to Stephan and check in the closest lodge, one we just had passed. Alex got into bed and immediately fell asleep, but I couldn't, so I went out to walk to the top of the village to see the sunset. On the way I chatted shortly with two Austrian women we had seen in Ghyaru that are doing the trek on their own, too, and then met the German group as they were already coming down.I had to explain everyone that we had a change of plans. The last one of them, was the nice woman with an accent, and we talked long and walked down together. I learned she was Hungarian, married to a German diplomat living in Tokio, she had already done the Everest base camp and is cool as hell.

Back in the room, I ate some sweets (Alex was awake and already ate some), prepared for bed and... Alex vomited. Not much, but still I was concerned, it looked like altitude sickness. He didn't have a headache and next day we would go to Manang, 300 meters down, so my plan was to take him to the doctor there he next day if he didn't improve. We had some lemon ginger honey tea and garlic noodle soup (which I almost ate on my own because Alex couldn't eat much) before going to bed. The owners of the place looked a bit worried about him, too. I prepared mentally for the case we had to stop the trek and take a jeep down if he didn't get better in a couple days.

Stephan wrote me that he made it to Manang and even had some tips about where to stay. Alex was a bit tired of him (een jocked about being literally sick of him), but he was actually really nice.

Friendly yaks
Halfway of the day's crazy hill
The pretty village Ghyaru
The valley views
Alex's still going strong

13/11/2021

I woke up lots of times during the night again. The last one, short before 6. And I got to see the sunrise over the mountains from bed. I told Alex when he woke up, we opened all courtains and cuddled and enjoyed the view. I had ordered breakfast for 7:30, and when I came out of the room first, the lady of the guesthouse (Hotel Peaceful) asked me about Alex, all worried. Very sweet. She then slowly started making our breakfast. Alex ate without problems this time, and we started hiking a bit past 9.

Sunrise as seen from my bed
Sunrise as seen from my bed

Alex was still not 100% fit, and I felt very tired, too. So the 2:30h hike took us about 3:15. We saw horses on our way, and it was an ok hike, very nice until the last stretch, a dusty track. In Manang, we went directly to the Tilicho Hotel, the one Stephan recommended. A room with bathroom 500 rupees, non-negotiable. We showered with very hot waer, cleaned our clothes and ordered food in the cozy and warm dinning room: a pizza, noodles and seabuckthorne juice. Alex napped a bit and at 3 we went the AMS free info talk. We measured our oxigen and I was more than perfect, Alex just a bit worse. Then we went to the "Annapurna Trekking Shop". They had EVERYTHING we wanted: a belt for Alex (since he returned Stephan the one he lent him), batteries, tissues and cookies. And more. Since it was still 4, we walked to the Gagnapurna Lake. Shockingly, it was empty. The glacier was still there, although much smaller than in pictures I had seen. Alex was not really dressed warm, and they told us in the talk he should rest, so we didn't make it to the viewpoint at the top. We went back to our place to enjoy the very nice common area.

Short before arriving, next to the trekking shop, I saw a small "post box" on the wall. We started making fun of it and taking pictures, and the owner of the shop came out and started really laughing at it: "if you put  something there, in 3 months maybe is up there (pointing up the street), and maybe in 9 months more at your place!". Even his wife came out to see what all the fun was about.

For dinner, we ordered Yak burgers with Yak cheese. It was not much, but it was very nice, and exactly what we needed before chilling in the warm room before going to sleep.

Sunrise from my bed
Horses on the way
Small rest in a cool place
RIP the Gagnapurna lake in Manang
The post box

14/11/2021

We woke up soon again. Alex was feeling better, so he suggested to give the Ice lake a try. We got breakfast at our place, packed warm clothes, cookies and water and bought carrot cake and a brownie in the bakery. We started at 8, and went back all the way to Mungii because on our way to Manang we had seen a sign saying it was the shortest and fastest way to the Ice lake, just 3:30h. Taking into account we walked 1h until back there... not worth it. After 2:30 we arrived to the Ice lake restaurant, where a sign said it was 1:30h more. It was already 11:30, Alex was not 100% and we didn't want to arrive very late, so we decided to cut it there. We ate our cakes and some cookies and went down.

Day trip!
Day trip!

We were back in Manang before 2, even taking thousands of pictures of Bragha, the monastery and the people carrying stuff. We showered, cleaned clothes and went to have some pastries in the bakery of the Alpine Home. It was way cheaper than out place, but very, very bad. 

There, we met a guy who told us his twin brother runs the Thorung Pedi Base Camp lodge, and a couple that just had arrived from the Tilicho Lake. We went shopping for some more tissues and pills for the throat and my stomach started aching weirdly behind the ribs. It was gone short after, I guess it was what they explained us in the talk, "HAFE", high altitude flatus expulsion, increased gases at high altitude, since I felt fine after a noisy bathroom visit.

We bought some more juice, ordered an apple crumble at our place and chilled the rest of the afternoon. We checked that we can go in one day to the Tilicho Base Camp, but Alex checked the weather and it is supposed to be the coldest night in the week, about -14. So we'll see if we go there or stay in Kangsar an extra night to avoid the cold.

You can pray with a view
Alex's jacket matching the mountains
View from the top of Braga (also spelled Bhrakaa)
Bhrakaa Monastery
People working... carrying pieces of house?

15/11/2021

We got up at 6:30 (although I was awake 1h before, but just stayed in bed reading), and got breakfast at 7. We thought about walking with the japanese and his guide, but he wanted to start at 8 sharp, and since he just has a small pack and probably walks faster... we decided in the end not to. With eating, packing and paying, we started at 8:15.

We checked in the ACAP post and took the way to Kangsar. We took 1:45h and since it was so soon, we walked 1h more to Shree Karka to make a stop. We got some tea and garlic onion soup. From there, the way got more interesting. We arrived to a broken bridge, where we had to go "down and around" the steep hill with lose stones. I found it pretty scary. It was an adrenaline kick for sure. The people coming after us didn't dare to go through it and turn around and took the long way. The way got more and more interesting, epic and beautiful! In the landslide area we saw a rocky formation that was casting a shadow that looked like a dragon. Alex told a guy we crossed that look at us like we were crazy, but a minute later called us to see us he was seeing it!

Landslide area. No filter.
Landslide area. No filter.

We got to see a lot of eagles there, and we stopped to take about a thousand pictures in videos, so we were there in 2:40h instead of 2:15. The Tilicho Base Camp consists of 3 lodges, but since I had read online bad things about the first one, we skipped it even if it was the nicest looking one. The third one didn't look appealing either, so we stayed in the middle. A room with a double and a single bed for 500. The place just had nepalese people, two israelis and all the porters and guides.

We changed to something warmer, put out the sleeping bags and went to the common room for lots of tea and dal bhat. At 5 o'clock the owner started the fireplace and we all gathered around it.

Golden prayer wheels
Look at that wall behind me!
The bridge... if you look closely, you see it's broken in the back (and the way we had to take)
Landslide area
The stones + the shadow = a dragon

16/11/2021

The night sucked. I finally got Stephan's and Alex's cold, so I was very congestioned. We had ordered breakfast for 5:30, after everyone told us the night before they were starting at 4:45. Everyone was awake at 4:30, but unsurprisingly almost everyone was still there when we were having breakfast. The owner of the lodge told us there were -17 degrees at the moment. I mean, I notices when I went to the bathroom and had to hit the ice on the bucket water. I even came back to the bathroom telling Alex how proud I felt for going to the bathroom and cleaning myself with the iced water!

We started walking at 6:15 with a guy and 3 girls but we dumped them pretty soon. It was HARD. Specially because I was not able to breathe at all through my nose and it was freezing until the sun came up. I was wearing 2 pairs of socks, thermal trousers under the hiking ones, a merino tshirt, a thermo one, the fleecy, the jacket 2 pairs of gloves, a buff and the beanie! We had some snacks with us and made a stop at the 2h point. Then we kept slowly climbing and arrived to a flat iced area. I thought we were super slow, but we reached the Tilicho Lake at 9:15, just in the exact 3h you are supposed to! It was so, SO windy and cold, even if the wind usually starts at 11 (the reason to start so soon) that we didn't really enjoy it and after some fast pictures we left. The way to Base Camp? Epic. Views and sunrise going to the lake? Great. The lake itself? Sorry, but maybe another day.

So cold and windy!
So cold and windy!!

The way down was way faster, even having to stop to tell every single person we met how much they had left and another snack stop, finishing all our cookies. I got a pretty bad headache so rushed back to the Base Camp and arrived totally tired and feeling done! I took an ibu, drank a lot (maybe it didn't help that the hose from my water bag froze and didn't drink enough on the way), had lunch and chilled. And went from feeling absolutely trashed at 11:30... to completely ok at 13:00 and ready to go! So we walked back to Shree Karka and got a cottage in the place we ate something the day before. I wanted to shower, since it was still 3:20, but the warm water was not working... after they tried for at least half an hour, I told them I was ok without the shower, but they gave me a bucket with warm water. A bit useless  to wash yourself and get inside the dusty and dirty clothes again, but still feels great.

We went, as usual, to the common area to finish the day and plan the nex one before going to sleep.

The night sky
Walking during the sunrise
The very windy and cold Tilicho Lake
The way to the lake
Alex in the winter wonderland

17/11/2021

What a shit day. Literally, for me...

I was able to sleep a bit, but my nose was dripping non-stop, so didn't get much rest. We had breakfast, packed sloooowly and started at 8:30 or so. I was tired and feeling weak, but the first 2h went smoothly, with nive views eagles and the ruins of Upper Kangsar. Then, as the path got easier, everything started going south for me. My stomach started to cramp up badly, and had to stop in the trail to go to toilet. Twice. And it still hurt a lot. We arrived a bit later to a restaurant, had a tea, and went to the bathroom and... well. It was, literally, a shitstorm. Never had been like that in my life! Maybe it was my water... they gave it to us from a pot so we though it was boild, but still tried to treat it but... the damn steripen refused to work normally, again! We thought it should be safe anyway. Probably wasn't.

Gorgeous views of the Manang Valley, just before I started feeling bad...
Gorgeous views of the Manang Valley, just before I started feeling bad...

I had to push HARD to arrife to Yak Kharka, cried a bit, too. Alex wanted to take my packpack, I refused but I gave hime some stuff to make it lighter. When we arrived, I just sat down in the beginning of the village and let Alex check the lodges. He picked a very, very nice one. It was the one chosen but all the French people around, too. Lol. We ordered some food, and since the sun goes away very fast there, I had on all my warm clothes by 15:30!

Luckily, my stomach seemed to settle down just fine, but I was probably dehydrated, so felt tired and with head ache. Alex went to the safe water station and... it was frozen

Alex in the beginning of the day
From the first cool viewpoint
There were many of them. So big. And so close.
Minutes before I started feeling veeeery bad
Perks of having to walk very slow: looking at this for long

18/11/2021

We woke up at 6, after a pretty good night speel! Alex usually does not want to get up, but today he was fast as hell, excited about buger for breakfast! It was actually very nice! The place even heated the dining room in the morning, something we hadn't had until today. After breakfast, we had some ginger tea before starting, since we wanted some more liquid (the steri pen is dead) and played a it Jenga. We started at 8:30.

Shortly after, we made a stop to remove my jcket, and 2 German guys arrived: Nico and Jost. Jost is a 29 year old professional mountaneer that is going to atempt climbing the Everest solo, in winter, and without oxigen. It was very, very interesting to chat with him. Nico is kind of a profi, too, just not like Jost. There was an Indian man, too, retired, that previously owned a company with 250k employees! He is all about sustainability now, and went to a workshop about it, where he met Joan Clos, the ex major of Barcelona, and now they are pals. He was so modest when I asked him, he just told me he used to work in IT...

Very different landscape
Very different landscape

We split at one point (Nico and Jost were taking videos) and we arrived to Thorung Phedi, where we met the twin of the guy we met in Manang. Or it is him. We'll never really know, with his enigmatic smile... We had some tea and cinnamon rolls and then the Fren and everyone else arrived. We were there relatively long, feeling great, so we decided to go up to High Camp to sleep. We had a garlic soup while chatting with the "famous people", and when we finished we took our sweet time to go up. We got a room and went to the view point just next to it, to "hike high and sleep low". The path was slippery, but the views very nice. Tooms and toilets had no light, and the toilets, the typical very rustic hole on the floor, slippery. The room was spacious and clean.

We played a bit with the French a Nepalese card game, called Dumbell, which they repeatedly failed to explain how it worked... For dinner we ordered Dal Bhat, but even if we finished it we didn't repeat. We felt pretty bloated, probably because of the tea and altitude and we went to bed very soon.

Dramatic change of landscape
Feeling way better
More and more epic paths
Lunch in Thorung Phedi with very cool people
From the top viewpoint of High Camp

19/11/2021

The big day. I slept poorly, as expected. We went to sleep before 7, and at 9:30 I woke up feeling ready to go. Then I just snoozed here and there. Our alarm was at 5:30. We packed and went to have breakfast, as people from Thorung Phedi were arriving for tea. In the end, we started at 6:45, without needing our headlamps.

The beginning felt easy. "Mistare, mistare", slowly but surely, we started our climb to the pass. I had overhead a guide saying it would snow, and it did at the very top, but it was most of the part just cloudy. The way was icy and slippery at times. At about an hour after starting, I started feeling more tired and had to slow down even more. Our water bladders had frozen, so we didn't have any water. My head started hurting, a lot. We made a pause to eat cookies and felt a bit better, but not for long. A porter overtook us, and about 10 minutes later I saw him celebrating. Is that, fucking finally, it??? It was. We arrived at 9:30. Half an hour before, wind had started, and the snow, too. It was SO cold that we took our pictures and just kept going. We didn't even wanted to go inside the hut to stop for a tea and then have to start again.

More relieved than happy. I think.
More relieved than happy. I think.

Going down we overtook the solo French girl, who told us was feeling a bit dizzy, and found a crazy one going up the other way "because she just had 4 days so she was just going up and down the same way". Ok, wow. We overtook the Israeli and his poster too, and made a cookie stop where the French couple (Elodie and her boyfriend) were. My head was still feeling bad, and it showed... They offered us cookies, water and meds. We took a cookie in exchange for some of ours. We were able to unfreeze our water and drink a bit, and took Ibuprofen. Oh, FYI,  Alex was feeling good.

The way down was actually easy, and we shortcuted (and logcuted, too) until we arrived at a restaurant where the French couple were. We joined them, and a bit after the French solo and the Israeli arrived, too. The couple told us how unhappy they were with their guide, and after lunch we all kept walking together, although we naturally separated. We arrived in Muktinath next to the temple, but we decided to go to the hotel first. We went to the "Bob Marley", the one Stephan (and EVERYONE) recommended. The "big" French group (Deborah, Max and the other 2 girls) were already there having some celebratory beers, and I joined them immediately. Alex followed short after, and we spent the resto of the evening drinking and eating (not so good food, tbh) and talking with all the other hikers that arrived (oh, and got a really hot shower somewhen in between).

From the rooftop, we had amazing views of the Daulaghiri, and when it got cold, they turned on the fireplace in the bottom floor, the nicest one by far. Power was not very stable and got cut a lot of times. Alex and I were tired and went soon-ish to bed, turned on some Netflix, and fell asleep soon.

Mood for the day: cold
Relieved to have reached the top
Unable to keep our eyes opened
Alex walking the pass
Sunset in Muktinath with Dhaulagiri views

20/11/2021

We slept so fine! And were awake at 5:30! We cheched what we wanted to do for the day, packed and went to have breakfast at 7, since we saw the Muktinath Temple opened at 8. We visited it and found it very interesting. People swimming in some pools, getting water from the 108 cow heads that dropped water, doing offerings, chanting... And the young ones recording everything for social media. The buddhist part of the temple was way quieter than the Hindu one. After, we went shopping for toilet paper (way too expensive), cookies and batteries for the steri pen. We found a place where they were cheap, but... they didn't work. At all.

Back in the hotel, after purifying water with the "mix and match batteries so the light turns on for a bit and repeat until all together is like 3 minutes or so" method, Alex noticed... His Kindle was gone. After thinking long, he determined he left it in High Camp. He thinks in the room, I think the common room. It was 9:30, and he spent 45 minutes trying to get the phone number (our hotel even called Thorung Phedi to see if they had it) to call and thinking aout going back! Which was way too crazy, not to mention late. In the end, I convinced him to go through with our plans. The hike to Kagbeni, the long way, was very nice, just us, a guy we had seen in Tilicho, a shepherd and an old lady. The guy told us he didn't understand why people would shortcut this part of the hike, and it made us wonder if we wanted to actually walk back. Jhong and another tiny village were cool, and the views were awesome, even if it was so cloudy we were sadly missing the high peaks.

The path (almost) just for ourselves...
The path (almost) just for ourselves...

Kagbeni was a really beautiful village with lots of lodges (and if we had followed the old lady we would have arrived sooner, since she was jumping around faster than me and taking every shortcut!).  We went directly (after getting a bit lost) to Yak Donalds, our reason to be there. We ordered Happy Meals, and they were amazing! Yak Burger, fries, apple and sea buckthorne juice. Tasty AF. We had long doubts about walking more, staying there or going to Jomsom (specially because our guidebook was saying flights were just on Mon-Wed_fri). After deliberating LONG, we decided to walk to Jomsom. Going out, we met the Turkish guy, who was with 3 more, 2 of them apparently living there (and for what I understood, gave the other 2 a motorbike ride). We recommended the Happy Meal and the 2 living there told us it would be very windy going to Jomsom, but we didn't care. Before leaving the village, we stopped to put our windstoppers, buff and sunglasses and a street dog started followin us. The way was a very busy, dusty jeep road, no too windy but very annoying. Made our decision of flying back easier. The dog followed us the 2 hours to Jomsom, even if we tried to shush him away weveral times! He got attacked bu other dogs in the city and we lost him there. We asked about bus and jeep prices and tried to find the place Stephan recommended, unsuccessfully. A local started trying to talk to us and kind of "guided" us, took us to the ACAP post without us asking and insisted on walking before us. I told Alex I thought he was going to ask for money and managed to loose him, and ended up booking a flight in an airline office and getting a room in a guest house next to the airport. When I was paying the tickets, Alex was suddenly having doubts again, Stephan was calling back (we called him without meaning it), and I was a bit pissed because of that.

In the guest house we felt really unwelcome, but who cares. Alex wrote a book to his Kindle in case someone donwloads and reads it, we researched for places in Pokhara, ordered dinner and ate upstairs. When we finished I looked out and... the fucking dog was there!! Alex freaked out. A lot xD. We payed for the room before going inside, put two alarms, and went to bed soon (and, at least me, excited about the flight!).

Muktinath temple
The fountains in the temple, all different
Jhong, in the way to Kagbeni
Looked like the moon...
Happy Meal in Yak Donalds
Published: 17 January 2022, by susana

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In the after still during Covid times, we decided to go to the usually overcrowded Annapurna Circuit to do our first multi day trekking on our own!

Entry 3 out of the 5 from this trip