So I get out of the hammock. Finally.
We have gone from strenuous days of trekking to very un-strenuous days of loafing. Pokhara is the perfect place for this.
Pokhara is situated on the south east edge of Lake Phewa, which is surrounded by beautifully picturesque soft green mountains. The lake itself is a cool blue green, dotted with boats and brave swimmers. The sky is a warm blue (usually) and dotted with the colourful canopies of the many paragliders. We have arrived in the week leading up to Holi festival, just before the beginning of the busy season, so there’s a definite sense of gearing up here. Since Nepal is a land-locked country, this is where everyone comes for their beach holidays…
The city itself is quite large, but we and all tourists like us tend to stay lakeside. With it’s wide streets lined with bars, spas, hostels, shops and cafes there’s not much reason to venture into the city proper… and there’s plenty here to suit every level of activity or laziness…
Row across the lake and climb up to the world peace pagoda or head north back into the mountains to find the hot springs, swim, paraglide, hire a bike and do one of the cycle trails around the lake… I start off lazy and indulge in a trekkers massage!!! Bone meltingly good.
We are happy for the moment just wandering around reacclimatising to the non trekking way of life
We find a superb place to eat called the Juicery Cafe. Salads, insane bunches, coffee and smoothies to die for. My favourite is the matcha bowl. After weeks of rice and dal and fried stodgy fare, all these fresh tasty greens are heavenly. (They also have a black and white spotted baby goat wandering in the garden. Too cute for words!)
Entertainment stakes are raised when we find the Blind Tiger… a tall orange building at the end of the main drag. It’s run by Pete, who is a lovely guy and something of a film buff. He has rigged a rooftop cinema on the covered terrace, and he somehow gets his hands on terrific new release films. We manage to watch most of the Best Picture noms in the run up to the Oscars (Shape of Water, Phantom Thread, 3 Billboards, Darkest Hour … Gary Oldman as Churchill.. wow)
The pace of life here is so relaxed. We get up, do some yoga, wander into town for lunch, read books, write journals, mooch around, watch a film and repeat.
In fact it’s so chilled that after a while we start to feel like we’re turning to stone.
So we take paddle boards out onto the lake (it’s only when you’re on the water that you turn back and see the snow capped mountain peaks that we spent so much time and energy walking through. It feels like a different life now.)
We find a tennis court and play some truly shocking games of tennis… Made more fun by all the local dudes of the tennis club showing up to watch/laugh and then volunteer to be umpires and ball boys… an utterly undeserved level of professionalism for the likes of us!!!
Then it’s Holi festival and the whole town gets up early to drink and throw paint at each other. We wear white and get quickly covered in colourful paint powder (the kids here fill water pistols with colour and fire them at anything that moves all day). You have to jump into it. The bars all have stages and dance floors blaring music. BBQs are everywhere and everyone just cuts loose. We drink and dance and as evening falls so does the torrential rain! The colours run down us all to puddle on the floor and streets.
Straight after Holi (and with bright pink green and purple hair) we catch a bus back to Kathmandu to pick up Joe. Yup. Joe Hostead is on his way and if (big IF) he can get himself onto the right planes then two tracks are about to become three…
But we will be back in Pokhara soon and I can’t wait.