As far as long haul flights go, it wasn’t a bad one. I was prepared mentally and physically for the long journey in my comfy clothes and all the gear. I managed to watch a few films as well as getting in a good amount of sleep as this bit was an overnight leg. However on arrival into Kathmandu, after meeting the Exodus rep, Pasang – who, it turns out, was going my be my guide for the entire trip – and a quick transfer to our hotel, I realised I was exhausted. Although only late morning, I was lucky enough for my room to be ready and, desperate for a shower and a clean change of clothes, I headed straight up, with the intention of heading out a couple of hours later to explore the city. Well the district of Thamel which was nearby the hotel. However a ‘quick lie down’ on the bed turned into a whole afternoon of napping. Normally I’m really one for getting out and about and exploring whatever city you’re in, however tired I am – as there’s always the nighttime to sleep. However in all honesty, with 14 days of trekking ahead of me, I didn’t feel one bit guilty. There would be plenty of time for exploration on this trip, I knew we were coming back to Kathmandu at the end, and I really felt like I should make the most of this rest time alone.
Late afternoon, feeling refreshed, I grabbed my book and headed down to the hotel lobby, where I planned to read and wait to meet the rest of the group, who would be arriving at around 6pm for the first group meet up! After a few hours, I spotted who I thought were my group and made a beeline to go and join them. On first impressions, everyone seemed so lovely and I was really looking forward to getting to know them.
We headed out for dinner at a nearby local restaurant called Opium. Serving a plethora of random dishes on all ‘all you can eat’ basis from noodles to fresh green vegetables to chips, it was definitely geared towards tourists. But nevertheless we all enjoyed our first refreshing pint of ‘Gorkha’, one of the favourite local beers, and it was a great evening gradually exchanging the usual pleasantries of where we were from, whether we had been to Nepal before (turns out quite a few of the group had, which seems to be the case with this country, something I was keen to find out the reason behind…) and gradually working out who was travelling with who. Kitted out with our welcome pack from Exodus including maps of the region and our trekking permits, we listened with keen ears to the welcome speech from our passionate guide, who interestingly was from neighbouring country, Bhutan, who filled us with excitement (and fear on my part!) as he told us stories of what awaits us. Then with an early start the next morning, with full bellies and tired eyes, we headed back to the hotel, keen to begin our adventure.