A Magical Land of Discovery
The world’s highest mountain has attracted mountaineers and explorers to Nepal for hundreds of years, and it is a well-known destination for travellers and trekkers the world over. Nepal was an obvious destination for an adventure, and through a fortuitous meeting, we have found a little-known gem in the Himalayas.
Our base is in the village of Phaplu - gateway to eastern Nepal and a fantastic starting point for trekking. We stay in one of the oldest and most beautiful houses in the country, built in 1968 by Italian explorer Count Montzino. He designed it with a plethora of character and an eccentric personality to match his own.
When the local family was driven out of Nepal by a changing government and guerilla warfare, more than a decade ago, they managed to keep the house, putting its care and well being into the hands of a dear friend, a man with as much character as the one who originally built it.
From the house, the routes into the mountains are many and varied. One of the multi-day trekking adventures we go on is up Pikey Peak. Delightfully devoid of tourists, we don’t see anyone other than local families, and lots of yaks. We hike through the beautiful rhododendron forests and out onto the mountain ridges where we see both the eastern and western Himalayas. We trek up with the sherpas who regale us with their stories of climbing Everest and living life in the mountains. And in the evening, we sit around the fire sipping local “firewater”, roasting marshmallows, and re-living the day’s adventures. Home and life could not feel further away.
When we finally pull ourselves from the warm fire and good company, for our beds, we head to our tents which have been blissfully prepared with mattresses, down sleeping bags, fluffy pillows, and hot water bottles. This is camping at its very finest!
The true spirituality of Nepal rings loud and clear in the mountains. Engulfed in its enigmatic wonder, with colourful prayer-flags that criss-cross the countryside, and guide you to the summit, one cannot help but feel a connection with the world around.
We also trek to the local, working monastery where we can sit with the monks as they meditate, share a lunch of local potatoes, and experience a glimpse into their way of life. Upon departure, they give guests three pieces of red string - one to keep and two to give away for luck.
The beauty and spirit of Nepal allows a person to reflect on the balance of their life. It reminds us that one of the most important things is to find fulfilment, and one can only do this by enjoying the journey, and embracing the challenges that it presents us with.
Interesting Facts About Nepal
The Nepali calendar is 67 years ahead of Gregorian calendar.
Nepal is called the Amazon of Asia, as it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is one of the amazing living museums of the world - with the densest concentration of World Heritage sites.