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    Annapurna Loop to Poon Hill, Day 2 – The Friendly Path to Ghorephani

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    This day’s trek ended well before the sky started to darken, at a place called Ghorepani. This is one of the larger towns in the Annapurna Conservation Area, it being at a crossroads of different trekking routes, with the popular viewpoint of Poon Hill above it. We made our way up further steps – Bishnu having decided to pick a guesthouse close to the start of the walk up to Poon Hill – and, after a quick (and very cold) shower to wash away the day’s sweat, I stepped out onto the patio with my camera and a masala tea.

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    Annapurna Loop to Poon Hill, Day 1 – Endless Stairs to Ulleri

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    The Poon Hill circuit is one of the more popular routes in Nepal. It’s the one my brother tried on his first visit to the country and was the natural first choice for the owner of Osho Vision Treks – Ishwor Bhandari – to recommend when I informed him that I was not especially fit nor experienced with trekking. Nayapul was busy with other groups making ready to depart and, after a quick breakfast there, Bishnu and I set about making tracks.

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    Pokhara: Nepal’s Outdoor Adventure Hub

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    Pokhara itself is like Thamel in Kathmandu, but scaled up to an entire town. It’s the gateway to the Annapurna Conservation Area and the wealth of trekking routes that can be found there, so every other business in the town centre (and some distance out of it) seems to be a tour company of one sort or another. I, of course, was only here for a stop-over, my tours having already been arranged in Kathmandu with Osho Vision Treks & Expedition P. Ltd.

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    The Long Road to Pokhara

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    On Wednesday 9th October 2019, I presented myself at the little office of Osho Vision Treks & Expedition P. Ltd for what would be a transit day, though one of the most amazing I’ve ever spent. For the first time in this trip, I properly felt like I was actually in Nepal. Or, to be more accurate, what I suppose I had expected of Nepal.

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    A Tale of Temples in Kathmandu

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    Nepal has quite a staggering array of beautiful tourist attractions — particularly temples and religious site. I’m delighted to say that they have largely survived or been restored to their previous glory since the April 2015 earthquake, as I discovered on 7th October 2019.

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    Doing the Tourist Thing in Thamel

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    My second day in Kathmandu saw me with only a very general plan to check out some of the attractions in the centre of the city, around the tourist hub — Thamel. I had a list of places deemed worth checking out from Anima and a second from my brother, and both proved to be pretty reliable. I also had an interest in just seeing where my feet took me. I had Google Maps on my phone and a pretty good sense of direction in my head, so I wasn’t that concerned about getting lost.

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    Kathmandu. Dog Man Don’t

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    On 5th October 2019, I landed in the capital city of Nepal, ticking an item off the top of my bucket list that had been there for quite some considerable time. There was no especially good reason why it had taken so long to get to, perhaps other than doubting that my cash reserves would be sufficient for me to have a good trip. However, earlier that year, I’d won a prize at work that allowed me to spend my entire time there without spending a single rupee on hotels. As you might imagine, that made affording the trip significantly easier.

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    Overlander: Day 7 – Rest and Repair

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    Our wander around the city of Swakopmund revealed that the word “city” is perhaps a little generous. It basically boils down to nine blocks arranged in a grid, with a bunch of outdoors shops and mechanics specialising in off-roaders. It almost seemed like the city only existed to serve overlanders.

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    Overlander: Day 6 – Dune 45

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    At various points through the night before then, I needed to answer the call of nature. Lacking any alternative facilities, the only solution was to walk for about 20 metres away from the camp into the scrub that surrounded us to the horizon in every direction. As I was…communing with nature, I looked up into a crisp, clear, starry night. And I started to laugh. There was nothing especially funny up in the sky, I wasn’t being tickled by nature. It was just raw joy.

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    Home by the Hải Vân Pass

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    From the start of my trip across Vietnam, the Hải Vân Pass had been the one thing I could call an objective. Everything else was a bonus, but that 93.4-km drive from Huế to Da Nang was all that mattered. So, I rose on a miserably drizzly Saturday 29th December 2018 and, with a degree of nervous excitement, awaited the arrival of the motorbike taxi driver who had offered his services as a tour guide the previous day.