March 19, 2022
Our first ever “Slow Walking Nepal” trip has just begun, and we’re so happy to be back in Nepal and spending time with the wonderful people here. Bhaktapur is our base for the start of these tours, one of the three cities that have defined life in Kathmandu Valley for centuries. The streets of the old town are chaotic, as they cling to the topology and hold closely the traditional crafts that have made Newari people so appreciated. Wood carving, pottery and farming.
The main squares can get very busy, especially in the middle of the Holi Festival, but the smaller lanes are still home to residents, goats and quiet moments. I always find something new here.
Bhaktapur is also a great base for getting further into nature. Forests around Dhulikhel and Nagarkot are great places for wildlife, birds and spring flowers. The rhododendron trees are exploding with colour at this time of year, so we’ve often found ourselves walking through carpets of petals as we descend the trails. Locals collect the flowers for offerings at temples, and we’ve even been roped into rhododendron selfies by local students wanting to be photographed with anything remotely exotic!
Spring time is a bonanza for flowers and birds. Cheeky and chirpy Himalayan species are being loud and lovely around hotels and guest houses. Out on the trail we’re almost constantly gifted with companions in the tree tops, while the butterflies dance about at human height but rarely stopping long enough for a photo. The planet feels alive.
Holi festival kicked off while our group was staying in Bhaktapur, which gave us a unique opportunity to step gently into their celebrations. We were worried about being water bombed and stained with bright colours, but the people of Nepal were very gentle with us. Dabs, daubs and friendly smears of colour were waiting around almost every corner. Always offered in generosity and friendship.
Tomorrow we head west and leave Kathmandu Valley, heading higher into the mountains and travelling through more dense flowering forests. We’re hoping for clear views of the snow capped peaks near Nilgiri and Dauligiri. But with the added bonus of wild rhododendrons, azaleas, and alpine flora. It’s a joy to be back in Nepal.
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