Monday, 24 September 2012

12 days in Pokhara, Nepal

     Pokhara, Nepal is a town based around an idyllic lake and is an adrenaline-seekers paradise with its trekking, paragliding, and even the world's longest zip line at one's disposal. Moreover, if you are seeking something more spiritual, Pokhara offers all types of Yoga and meditation lessons. It is a perfect place to find peace.
      Johnny and I came to Pokhara to escape the hectic Kathmandu and relax after our mammoth trek to Base Camp Everest. Seeing that our budget was overspent due to the trek, and because the above activities were out of our price range, there was not much more for us to do in Pokhara except grab a comfortable spot by the lakeside, soak up the view and chill. 
      For twelve days we did nothing but relax--it was bliss. Well, we did try one private yoga lesson which was disastrous due to our rather uninterested yoga teacher. The lesson started well, with incense stinks  lit in a shrine dedicated to the instructors God, and some chanting that we all participated in, but then it all went down hill. He requested that we touch our toes to our ears 42 times and then proceeded to make countless telephone calls on his mobile while we jammed our feet into our ears; any spirituality that I was seeking was ruined by the non stop chatter from my so called "spiritual teacher." 
      Apart from our interesting Yoga Lesson, we read, ate--a lot, and soaked up Pokhara's vibes. We actually ate extremely well because we happened to have found a gem of a restaurant called Royven's. If you ever come to Pokhara, find this restaurant! The food is cheap and delicious, plus Sunil, the restaurant's owner, is the most welcoming person. 

Pokhara was an ideal place for us to just watch the world go by and feel at peace. 
Bye, Pokhara.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Nepalese Tin Plant Pots...

     Whilst hiking the Himalayas I came to noticed the way the Nepalese recycled their tins and used them as plant pots. I found the pots to be rather charming as I spotted them on window ledges or decorating an entrance to a house. I thought to myself, 'When I next have a home, I will give this a go.'   Perhaps you too can think like the Nepalese and recycle some old bean or paint tins.

I think my friend HJK would very much like these tin pots.


Hostel Guide - Tengboche - Base Camp Everest Trek

Tengboche Guest House

     What the Tengboche Guesthouse lacks in appearance it makes up for in hospitality. You immediately feel welcomed and at home which is well needed after a long day's hike. Rooms are the standard $2.50 a night and are extremely basic, but the shared bathroom is kept nice and clean. If you want a hot shower you would have to part with another $4.
     The food served at the Tengboche Guesthouse is delicious, and the best I had on the whole trek. I personally recommend the Sherpa stew and chocolate pancake, yummy.


Hostel Guide - Namche Bizarre - Base Camp Everest Trek

The Nest - Namche Bizarre 

A night's stay at The Nest will cost you $2.50, without a private bathroom, and showers are located outside the building and will cost you another $4. The rooms are a good size and seemed well kept and they offer internet and laundry services but prices are pretty high. The food was reasonably priced but more expensive than the lower towns. However, it was the atmosphere that made this hostel score low: the staff seldom smiled and it made you feel some what unwelcome.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Treasure Shopping

      I was the Head Buyer at Beyond Retro for many years, which meant I had the chance to travel the world finding treasure for their stores. I was often sent to India to purchase new ranges of accessories for our upcoming Summer collections. This was the favorite part of my job because I love hunting for treasures and then seeing them sell on the shop floor. 
     I left Beyond Retro five months ago to pursue my love of travel; however, it seems I can't shake my buyer's eye. So as I eyed up many a shopkeepers' gems and jewels in Nepal, I couldn't help but purchase this antique Tibetan necklace. The necklace I feel brought me some luck as it inspired me to start buying interesting accessories to sell on my Etsy store, which will fund further travelling.
     Over the next few months, while I am in India (I fly to Varanasi September 20th!) I will be hunting out some extraordinary accessories and other eastern delights to sell--but I think I will happily keep hold of this Tibetan necklace, as I think it is rather special. 

        Will keep you all posted on the pieces I buy in India.


Monday, 17 September 2012

Thank you - A Harem of Peacocks

     My close and beautiful friend Kelly-Marie, who runs the inspiring blog 'A Harem of Peacocks' has devoted one of her blog posts to HMS Voyager. This touching post was a delight to my eyes, I am extremely lucky to have such a special person in my life. You can see the blog post here. Please take the time to look at Kelly's magical blog, it is worth the read.

Thank you KM xx

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Book Log...

The Great Gatsby -Stunning writing, I was dazzled and charmed from start to finish.

A walk in the Woods - Full of wit, I am now very much interested in walking the Appalachian Trail at some point.

The Alchemist -Not a book I would normally pick up due to it's religious content. But that's the joy of travelling, you start books that you would never normally try due to the limit of material available. Being the only English book on offer at a hostel on the Everest trek I gave the Alchemist a go. What I gained from it was a charming tale of never giving up on your dreams not matter how hard they might be to accomplish. 

"Anyone can work magic, anyone can reach his goals, if he can think, if he can wait, if he can fast".
Inspiring read from Hermann Hesse

Life of Pi - A magical tale that for me dragged a little in the middle, but the ending's twist made up for it.

What books are you reading? What is your favorite travel book?

I have just started reading Seven Years In Tibet by Heinrich Harrer.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Hostel Guide - Monjo -Base Camp Everest Trek

Summit Home - Monjo

The room Rate was $2.50 (the standard rate) with shared bathroom, but hot showers were an extra $3each time you washed. The food was reasonable in price but lacked in flavor. We had two windows in our bedroom which kept it light, and we were provided with plenty of blankets to keep us warm at night. The rooms and bathroom were uncluttered, clean and tidy. The lodge offered a large dining area and had some reading material that you could borrow. I found the Great Gatsby which was a highlight of my stay.


This is the first post dedicated to the places I stay during my travels, which will become a handy guide to the hidden oasis's that are clean and comfy to the bargain buckets and the down right terrible.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Base Camp Everest Part 4

     Leaving Pheirche we now had one day to go till we reached base camp. First we had to hike to the next village, Loboche, sitting at 16,100ft. Luckily on our way to Lobuche the mist Lingering above Pheriche had passed, revealing a bright and clear day, giving way to views that could melt even the coldest of hearts and bring them to a tear, for this land is special and its spirit is alive.


     We hiked four long hours from Pheriche to Loboche.  We made it town at 1pm, tired and sore, we were ready for a lodge and a big bowl of Sherpa Stew.
      We ate and rested, but the high altitude began to do very strange things to our bodies.   The effects go something like this: when hiking at high altitude you start to walk like a much older version of yourself; breathing is harder as there is less oxygen; headaches occur; your mouth remains dry even when you drink water; you get tired, so very very tired; sometimes you get dizzy and fall down; and you have a tendency to go to bed very early, but remain awake and restless throughout the night, even though you are exhausted. Worse of all, altitude sickness can bring on death within 12 hours, and the only cure is descend as quickly as possible. You must always remember to listen to your body and walk very very slowly. 

   Awaking the next morning we were ready for Everest, we could see her in our sights, she was a short hike away. The higher we climbed towards the 17,000ft  the thinner the air became. The altitude hit us and took over our  bodies, sucking us dry. Altitude sickness symptoms started to stir inside myself and Johnny, so we decided to take the advice we had seen written so many times along the trek 'Don't ignore altitude sickness - DESCEND-DESCEND-DESCEND'.  We listened to our bodies and the warnings and descended just before the official marker.

We had hiked the Base Camp Everest trek alone and we had made it out alive.


What went up must come down....

After nine days hiking up it took us three long days of hiking to get back to Lukla airport.

Our descent in pictures 

16 seater plane to ourselves!

Love you forever BHW


Base Camp Everest Trek Part 3

Namche Bizarre

     Namche Bizarre was a larger settlement than I imagined. It was a trekkers paradise with everything you could possibly need but at a staggering high price--internet access, bookshops, trekking equipment, snacks, money exchange, even a German Bakery.
     We took a $2.50 room and decided it was time to wash some clothes. We opted to join the locals at the stream and began scrubbing our dirty clothing with soap. We hung our freshly washed laundry in the sun at our guesthouse and hoped it would dry.
     We acclimatized in Namche for two days, where we took short hikes and rested for the trek ahead...

Washing clothes with the locals

Nepalese Momo's 

        Outside the Namste Museum    
        One of the many waterfalls                                        


     We where excited to have our packs back on as we left Namche headed for the next village, Tengboche.
It's an exhilarating feeling as you pass trekkers who are armed with guides and porters when you are hiking to Base Camp Everest without those precautions...well, perhaps, one could say I had a porter, my wonderfully strong boyfriend, who carried a few things up the mountain for me; but otherwise, we were on our own.
    We hiked for six hours to reach the ghost town of Tengboche, which was idyllic. We barley saw another hiker all day and it felt as if the land was ours. We were at peace.

     We ate our first Sherpa stew at our guesthouse in Tengboche, which is a hearty stew consisting of vegetables, dumplings, a touch of ginger, a dash of garlic, and a steamy broth--and it is delicious! After dinner, we were ready to hit the sack but as our heads hit the pillow we suddenly heard screams of joy coming from outside our room. We made way to the sound and found a group of people gathered outside the guesthouse staring at the sky:  Everest had made her first appearance in days, and, boy was she stunning.

 Our Room in Tengboche                                                                          Sherpa Stew

Wild flowers that pave the way

World's Highest Monestry

     We awoke early the next day after our first good night sleep in days and set our for the village of Pheriche. With our trusty guide book in hand we were ready for the six hours of hard trekking ahead of us. When I say it was hard work, I mean it really, truly was hard work, especially when you're carrying a large pack, as well as suffering high altitude aliments and a blazing sun.  However--and this is when I need to give a special mention to the many porters of the Himalayan hills--the porters make you feel shameful for stopping, for huffing-and-puffing, and for getting red in the face, because they carry all manor of items up the mountain on their back, and I mean all manor: wood planks, food boxes, water drums, doors, rolled carpets, beds, coffee machines, even generators, beer cases, and stones. So I should retract my previous comment about the high price of a Mars bar, as the porters have to haul the candy bar boxes up the mountain.

                                                                             The porters and their loads

      Reaching the small valley of Pheriche we bunked in $2.50 a night room. Pheriche was a misty place that would ever so often reveal the snow topped peaks that hug like giants in the sky behind the village. We rested and acclimatized here for 3 nights.

All Photo's Pheriche 

x HMS x