Apr 5th, 15
We set out to the historic town of Bakhtapur, one of Kathmandu Valley’s three Malla Kingdoms before they were conquered and united by Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768.
It was an interesting ride, winding through the streets of Kathmandu. From chicken and livestock, to a noisy Easter parade, to men carrying leather sofa chairs and assorted loungeroom furniture in busy traffic , you are never quite sure what you will see on the road.
When we finally arrived in Bhaktapur we were instant celebrities, with a crowd of a dozen or so kids (and adults) following us everywhere. It made sightseeing somewhat challenging but we gave them all a demonstration before we left. Anna brought out Johnny, her little boy puppet, and gave the locals an impromptu puppet show. Bhaktapur is famous for puppet making, and Anna walked away with not one, not two, but three Nepali puppets!
After getting back to the hotel, we were met by Ramesh Chandra, probably Nepals only mountain unicyclist. Ramesh works as a bicycle tour guide, and heard about our tour from his friend who had seen us riding out to Patan yesterday. He unicycled for an hour an a half just to meet us! Hopefully we will meet up again on the Annapurna Circuit as he sets off tomorrow to guide a small bicycle tour group through the area.
—Anna and Ken
Apr 4th, 15
Sean, Anna and Ken rode out to Kathmandu’s neighbouring city, Patan, today. Following the ‘scenic’ route, we find ourselves riding through thick gloopy mud, dusty dirt roads, and negotiating crazy traffic intent on seeing who can beep the loudest. We got lost on more than several occasions, but luckily had the GPS handy.
We made it to Durbar (Palace) square in Patan, marveling at all the intricately carved wooded pillars and doorways. On the way back we weaved our way through quaint little backstreets leading to Kathmandu’s own Durbar square. There are several Durbar squares in Kathmandu Valley, as neighbouring Kingdoms competed with one another before they were amalgamated.
After the ride, Anna and Ken headed over to Dilibazaar to meet up with Ken’s host family from his time as an elective medical student at Kanti Children’s Hospital back in 2002. It was fantastic to catch up after so many years and enjoy Rama’s cooking again!
—Anna and Ken
Apr 3rd, 15
We arrived yesterday in Kathmandu, and checked in to our hotel in Thamel before exploring on foot. Nepalese traffic is even crazier than I remember, but we managed to make our way to dinner before heading to the Garden of Dreams…a very picturesque garden in the middle of Kathmandu.
This morning was spent riding up yo Swayambunath…the Monkey Temple, which overlooks the city. After a few nervous starts in the Anna was able to negotiate the narrow windy streets and busy traffic up to the temple. As its name implied…it is full of monkeys. Hold on to your valuables, we saw one monkey steal candy from a baby girl, leaving her in tears. That aside, it was well worth the effort, with a sweeping panorama of the city, framed by prayer flags.
We spent an epic afternoon walking to Pashupatinath. ..one of the holiest sites in Kathmandu, where many families cremate their dead on open pyres along the banks of the Bagmati River.
We have more exploring tomorrow before meeting up with my host family from 2002, who I stayed with as a medical student.
–Ken and Anna