Details of Life on the Road: Street eats, cheap sleeps, budget travel experiences

The Annapurna Diaries: Day 14

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“Finished. I have so many things to say. 183Km hiked/trekked, according to my mini map. But, considering the little 2km hike in Manang, the getting ‘lost’ in both Upper Pissang and Muktinath, and taking some of the more scenic secondary off-road routes, the total is probably more like 190km or 200km. Iodine pills used: 50. Liters of water drank: approx. 50. According to the map, we hiked 23km today, but a few km into the hike we saw a ‘Tatopani 23’ sign so it was probably more like 25km today. One of the most beautiful days yet despite the afternoon rain. We left at 8:21am this morning and hiked beside beautiful,  picturesque villages, beside dried riverbeds, and then I can’t remember all of the other scenery – it all blends together. 5416m down to 1200m in a few days. The walking was much easier – not many ascents, warmer weather, more oxygen. My right thigh hurts, though. I’m not sure if it’s due to the day going down Thorong La Pass, hiking quickly and for many km’s the last couple of days, or from walking with a soleless right shoe. Luckily, the shoe didn’t cause me too much stress. Today we walked through beautiful mountain villages, through a short, walled path made of stone, and beside the stone homes, past water buffalo and chickens, all the while beside a river, in a valley, below blue skies and the Himalayas. Everything was made more beautiful by the flora. Greener and greener, out came the ferns, taller were the trees. Funny – the scenery, and even more the villages -reminded me of Zelda, for you gamers out there. Out came a sudden smell with all of that green. Everything got a little greener. Nepalese marijuana. Small plants everywhere for a few kilometers. Not thousands of plants, but likely millions. Quite a pleasant smell actually. Pretty, too. The rain started after lunch, kept up until Tatopani and it’s still going. A little hail, too. I don’t care and I’m not complaining. I’m sitting across from a new friend, beside a beautiful woman who looks a mix of Keira Knightley and Audrey Tautou, sipping a cold Nepalese beer. I’m warm and content, but not necessarily ready to do it all again. I’ll likely visit and lose myself in the local hot springs and then bus-it out of this amazing land to the next biggest city, book a plane ticket and then, in a week’s time, move on from Nepal. For now, though, I’ll try to revel in the now. I’m staying at Himalaya Hotel, one of the many of the same name along the route. Other common names of hostels, hotels, guesthouses, and lodges include Yak, Everest, Paradise, and more fittingly Annapurna. Annapurna. Wow.”

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