From Taiwan to Nepal to India

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A small village in the mountains close to Pokhara (Bumdi)

„Great white mother“ is how the Nepali call the Annapurna region in central Nepal, the residence of the Himalayas, the residence of the most relaxed people on this planet and since two months also my residence.

The Nepal story started in a small surfing hostel in the south of Taiwan. I was working in this place called „Rainbow Wave“ about three months ago, surrounded by a group of awesome Taiwanese friends who either also worked there or who just came there everyday to chill out. It is a shame that I haven’t been writing anything about Taiwan so far: I had such a great time there that I forgot time and duty. Originally arriving for a week or so I stayed for two months to explore the whole island and I began to like the Taiwanese people and culture much more than I would have ever imagined. I will do a blog post only with pictures from Taiwan in the next days but first have a look at some pictures from Nepal:

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A ceremony in a temple in Kathmandu…

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…followed by a cremation…

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…and the air is filled with the smell of burned flesh.

The owner of the hostel is a passionate photographer and he has a fable  for Nepal. Rainbow Wave is covered with beautiful pictures he shot in Nepal. Pictures that made me come here. Without too much expectations and with even less knowledge about the country I booked a flight from Taipei to Kathmandu and jumped into the next great adventure.

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The flags with prayers you see everywhere

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Our guide shows us “roxy”, the local spirit

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Open air shower

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An impressive old men in a village in the mountains

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The first view on the huge mountains, far away and clouded but impressive enough to make me want to go closer 😉

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Thats how the “roxy” is made

Instead of climbing the Mt. Everest on day one I got soaked up by Kathmandu for a few days and did a first short hike near Kathmandu before I escaped by bus to Pokhara, base camp and temporary home for expeditions in the Annapurna region and a travelers hub that brings the right people together. You can easily spend some weeks in the small town itself, go with a boat on the lake, hike the surrounding hills or do everything from paragliding to yoga. But the real deal are the mountains in the north and the endless tiny villages that you find hiking in whatever direction…

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Kathmandu Valley from a small hill near by

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First sunset in the mountains

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Beautiful houses, build only from natural materials

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The kids are overwhelming friendly and respectful. They always greet you with a smile and with “Namaste!”

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…and the kids always love to pose for a picture 🙂

From Pokhara it is not far away to the Begnas lake, a much more quiet place with a perfect view of the Annapurna range. I went there together with Antonio from Costa Rica to visit the Vipassana meditations center located close by a small temple up on the hill. Meditation and yoga are the center of Antonios life and while he had already attended a number of meditation courses, I didn’t knew what to expect – but I trusted the whole thing because of the positive talk about the place from people I’ve met.

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The meditation camp at Begnas lake

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View at Begnas lake

Getting up in the morning at 4am. Meditating for more than ten hours every day – without moving. Eating only two simple meals per day. No words. No eye contact. No book. No mind. Nothing. No prison has harder rules and without knowing why people do this, it might sound horrible. But for everybody I have met so far who finished a course, it was not only one of the most challenging experience but also one of the most rewarding things they have done in their lives.

The course is over since a few weeks, I am back in Pokhara and many things have changed since then. I never questioned to travel alone in the last nine month and when I was prepared the least, life decided to start a new chapter.

Only minutes before the beginning of the meditation course, when the sun just came back after a little rain, a beautiful girl from Columbia arrived at the place and introduced herself to me with a smile and with the words „Here I am.“ Apparently she is still here, so am I. Since then we catch stars, climb mountains, build castles, we walk together, we fall together and we get up again together. Is there anything better than to be in love?

Still slightly stunned from what is happening to us we decided to travel together to India. We are still waiting for my passport with the indian visa and meanwhile the indian visa from Vanessa is already running since weeks. The time we have in Nepal is just too good to believe, and it is getting better every day 🙂 When we where again in the mountains a few days ago we asked ourselves, why the hell we ever wanted to go to India. The beautiful Rhododendron forests, the endless jungle, the lush green valleys, the cute little villages in the hills, the amazingly relaxed and lovely Nepali people, 8000m high mountains around us… Every 5 minutes here are worth a 5 minute story. Every moment is worth a picture, even if there is bad weather it is still beautiful….

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Kids following us on a hike to upper Sidhane

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A heliport in the middle of nowhere

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Colors of Nepal: The (tibetan?) flags with prayers and Rhododendron in the background

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Hundreds of bells on a tree next to a small Shiva temple on top of Panchase mountain.

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A beautiful orchid we saw just minutes after the sunset

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Without words she greets us – with soap bubbles

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We are trying to find a place to stay for the night…

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Blood everywhere: We find a small temple where they just sacrificed a cow, a goat, a chicken and a pig…

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They goats head is being prepared for…lunch?

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He is preparing a…wait – is this another goat head?

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After some days in the mountains our backpacks are getting heavy, the knees start to hurt and we need sticks to continue walking. Are we getting old?

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Always a warm welcome: A Nepali women is preparing Masala tea and Dhal Bhat, the national dish

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Yoga…

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…and meditation in the morning.

Today it is raining since the early morning hours, whatever comes down in Pokhara as rain will be snow a bit up higher in the mountains. People say it is a bad season for hiking and the stories of travelers getting trapped or lost in the mountains are getting told. At 6am I get up to see if the weather looks stable enough to go on a one day hike to Sarankot, the mountain where all the Paragliders start from.

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Not exactly the weather that makes you want to start a hike…

Thunder and clouds are announcing the coming rain and I go back in our room to make a tea. The warmth of the camping cooker is not enough to heat up the room and I sneak back into the warm bed. Sikkim, Varanasi, Rishikesh… Before I fall asleep again pictures of India come up in my head, stories from travelers I have heard turn into dreams and when I wake up again I need a moment to realize the we are still in Nepal.

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Laliguras (Rhododendron): The national flower of Nepal

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Birds flying into the night just after Sunset at the peace pagoda in Pokhara

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My birthday cake 🙂 Thank you soooo much Gigi, Jelu and Vanessa for this wonderful night!

Finally I am writing again a bit on the blog and together with the motivation to write again, the idea to create, to „give back“, to „take part“ is in both our minds. While India is not exactly the country you would choose to make money while traveling, our motivation to be part of a social project will soon be supported by the need to stop spending money. We don’t know yet for how long our indian visas will allow us to travel India, we just decided yesterday spontaneous to change the route again and more than one time we almost needed to forget about the idea of traveling together because of a complicated circumstance called „life“… We both know that the challenges waiting for us in crazy India are even bigger but our curiosity and faith are much stronger than any doubt could be and we are following again the call for adventure. Mother India, we are coming!

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See you soon, Nepal!

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4 Comments

  1. Mox
    April 3, 2015
    Reply

    Sehr schön, von dir zu lesen. Es macht mich glücklich, dass es dir gut geht, dass du viel erlebst, und dass ich daran teilhaben darf. Es freut mich auch sehr, dass du eine Spielkameradin gefunden hast. Vielleicht bringst du sie ja mal nach München mit. Falls du mal wieder nach München kommst. 🙂

    Eine Frage stellt sich mir aber ganz dringend: wieso bist du wieder erbraunt?

    • April 13, 2015
      Reply

      Hey Max, freut mich wenn ich dich mit den Bildern ein wenig an der Reise teilhaben lassen kann! Ganz liebe Grüße nach München, freue mich früher oder später wieder nach München zu Besuch zu kommen (oder dort wieder für eine Weile eine Homebase zu haben, wer weiß 😉 PS: braun?

  2. dennis
    April 3, 2015
    Reply

    its so beautiful to read all this and its eaven more beautiful to know you are feeling well. have a nice adventure, all of you. soon ill be joining you or meeting you somewhere on accident ^^. love you!

    • April 13, 2015
      Reply

      Happy to hear from you Dennis and even more happy if we meet again soon 🙂 <3 from Rishikesh

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