MUSTANG JOURNAL

Preparations…

 
     
 

"MUSTANG, THE LAST LOST KINGDOM" arises during the filming of the movie "Kathmandu Lullaby" directed by Iciar Bollain and produced by Larry Levene.

To know Mustang and its people, and to know that this Himalayan Kingdom, isolated for more than 1,600 years from the world, is about to be opened with the construction of a road, land road, but after all a road, were the starting points.

Also the friendship between Folco Terzani and Larry

In January 2012 the initial core team started to work: Graciela de Pablos, Derek Levene and Larry Levene. We talked about the concept and the story we want to tell through the documentary and the work of each in the project.

Graciela and Derek are going to carry the weight of the location, a long journey on foot, one month following the steps of the first Western who ran Mustang in 1964, Michel Peissel, author of "Mustang, A Lost Tibetan Kingdom," their bedside book for the trip. Peissel died late last year and, to some extent, the documentary is also a tribute to whom has been teacher of generations of travellers.

We saw the route to be followed in the footsteps of the travel Peissel made, and tailor models that will address Production and Direction to be filled during the trip location: cities and towns, monasteries, relics, forts, caves and scenery locations ... everything will have a written and visual reflection. What is easy and what is difficult. What is possible and …what is impossible?

A first proposal route, a list of required reading and rereading, Tucci’s "Journey to Mustang", Lo Bue’s "The Wonders of Lo", Dhungel’s "The Kingdom of Lo", Terzani’s "The End Is My Beginning"... and especially Peissel’s "A Lost Tibetan Kingdom".

Visas, tickets and ...  passports renewed.

Two months of reading and thorough preparations.

Graciela and Derek will write a Travel Journal that will allow us to discover with them the most remote corners of the Lost Kingdom.

 

 
     
   
     
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Day 1:

Destination Kathmandu

 

 
 

The first day opening the Travel Journal in which we will reflect everything that is going to happen. We started the day in Spain, in Madrid and we finished in Doha with a stopover. In Madrid Airport, Terminal 4, Graciela and I have covered our backpacks that we have checked directly to Kathmandu. Farewell to family and my girlfriend, Christina. When we were in line we learned that our flight was delayed an hour, in the end was a bit more. Fortunately, due to the delay Qatar Airways has invited us to a small snack, sandwich and a soda, we've had in the gate. Already in the plane, we realized that we had been sitting in different places, so every one to his stuff ... watching movies, listening to music, look out the window, or also the story of the nice grandpapa on my side that spilled on me a glass of wine, which will force me to wash upon arrival my first shirt of the trip. We arrived in Doha after 6 hours, but the truth is that time has passed quickly. Here we scale about 4 hours to catch the next plane. During the stopover we started this Journal ... Internet, play some card games, read, rest, ...

Derek.

 

 

It is 3:07 in the morning, the airport of Qatar is like any other, impersonal, we could be anywhere in the world. The wait at this hour of the night is long; the dream is growing on us. People wait and wait with patience and we hear all kinds of languages ​​at the same time. Derek lies beside me, listening to music and try to take a nap ... I cannot, I'm tired but active at the same time ... I do not get me to the idea that we are already far ... that after this strange transfer I will be again in Kathmandu. I guess I will react when I step back after a year on Nepali land ... when I smell and feel the magic of that amazing country ... when I walk again those colourful streets full of smiling people.

Graciela.

 
   
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Day 2:

"A departure is always a promise of adventure"

 
         
 

We took a plane to Kathmandu at quarter to 5 in the morning. We were lucky and one of the attendants spoke Spanish so we could roll up in our language away from home.

Upon arrival in Kathmandu we left the control of the visa and we collected our luggage, which interestingly have come very quickly, to see if you learn Barajas. Just outside waiting for us, Larry. We've gone straight to the hotel. Already installed in the hotel we decided to go to eat at a great terrace in Boudhanath our first momos, Nepalese dumplings,  and other Nepalese dish,  dhalbat, lentils and rice.

The afternoon we spent organizing and rethinking the route we're going to do in Mustang.

After some hours and the fatigue of the long journey, we went to a bar to smoke a good grape Shisha. And at 8:30 pm, a little late to Kathmandu, we met a Nepalese friend for dinner with him and we enjoyed a hot rice pudding with peanuts. After dinner, we went to the hotel to sleep … Finally !!.

 

Derek.

 

again in Kathmandu ...

That's it, we're here ... we arrived after a long trip with a stop in between the two planes of 5 hours ... no sleep and very tired of the pre-trip tension ... But at last we have reached our destination, Nepal.
I think I still have not responded ... after only just a few hours in this pulsating city.
I got off the plane, having woken up with a huge orange stripe in the sky ... it was the dawn of a sun that diluted the dark of the night and let me see amazing mountains ... large mountains loomed slender under the belly of our plane, the clearest sign that we are already in my beloved Nepal, land of mountains and gods ... the roof of the world.


On the way down the plane, touches me the first Namaste, the first of many to come ... stamp on the visa, backpacks rolling down the conveyor belt and out the door … a hand waving from afar Larry being seen among all tour operators cartels awaiting the arrival of "their" tourists.  A Taxi and we enter the swarm Nepalese traffic, between chaos, beeps, and black smoke from tailpipe pollution ... and life begins ... colours, smells, and all characters are the picture of this city that is familiar to me ... With the first smell of incense memories come to me and I feel again that the adventure begins. ...

Graciela

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
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Day 3:

Meeting with the Prince of Mustang

         
 

Larry up very early to a courtesy meeting with his friends of Yeti Airlines, for tickets of the aircraft from Kathmandu to Pokhara, and then Phokara to Jomsom, the entrance to Mustang. And ... back to Kathmandu.

Meanwhile Graciela and I slept like angels until 9 o'clock in the morning. We have risen thanks to the alarm and noise emitted by pigeons, right on the window of my room. After spending the first night in Kathmandu in a comfortable  bed, a hot shower I personally tasted glory, thinking I wont be able to enjoy many in Mustang.

At 10 am, Graciela and I, forgetting that we had breakfast at the hotel, we left for breakfast near the Kathmandu Guest House, a special  coffee place for me because that's where I had breakfast with my girlfriend many times during my last trip in 2010. Then we went to pick up the shirt I had left yesterday in a laundry, wine-stained shirt by the old man on the plane, and bought two trekking poles to walk in Mustang for a very good price, infinitely less than it would have cost in Madrid.

Then we took a rickshaw to Lazinpaat to go to see a Nepalese friend, who owns a small shop. Upon arrival we found the store closed. That store is special to me, brings me many memories. It's right in front of which was my home when I worked in Nepal in 2009. In an instant, many wonderful images of that year I spent in Kathmandu with volunteers and teaching children, come to me.

Taxi to Boudhanath, where we have an appointment with Larry. We do 2 "kora" (two laps) for the success of the trip around the largest stupa in Kathmandu and one of the largest in Asia, the stupa of Boudhanath, under the gaze of the eyes of Buddha which seem to watching us. After giving the laps, the first without Larry, and the second the three of us, we headed to see the Prince Jickme Bista, son of Jigme Dorje, the present King of Mustang. He lives here with his father in the winters, too hard in Mustang for the advanced age of the King. As we tasted tea with milk and Losar cookies, the Tibetan New Year, we have been talking about the fantastic project at hand.

I have enjoyed meeting the son of the then Prince in Michel Peissel book, because although he was not a character in the book, his father did and I remembered those chapters of the book of Michel. While we were drinking tea and we said goodbye to him we have a few photos of the Prince with us. After the meeting and farewell ceremony, I forgot my backpack with the computer for a few minutes in the parlor. Luckily, just down I realize I'm light weight and running back for her ... good news, still there.

The three of us eat in the restaurant "Tibetan Roof", one of the most desirable of all Kathmandu especially to make momos, best ones with chicken, long noodles and cheese balls coated with sesame .

Then we come back to Thamel, bought some flip flops for shower if there is any in Mustang and we headed to our hotel, Hotel Mandala, to rest awhile.

Shortly after we went down to the terrace and get to work in the journal, on the final route we send to our guide via email, to update our project in Dropbox, on bills of day, etc..

Finally we go to dinner at the restaurant Mithos, a restaurant that has a related project with an NGO training of waiters and cooks and then to sleep. Tomorrow we fly to Pokhara, necessary stop before taking at dawn a small plane to Jomsom, at the gates of Upper Mustang, , the only time that these flights are possible.

Derek.

 

... Another day in Kathmandu, the city has its own life .. surrounds you with their sounds, pictures and their incessant activity. The day passed quickly, in this city there is always where to look and what to do ...

Today we have been in Boudhanath, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in the city. The largest stupa I've seen, one of the holiest places for Buddhists in the city. A large square with a stupa in the center, a large golden dome crowned by the huge eyes of Buddha .. a picture that does not leave you indifferent .. those eyes ... they look awesome!

The stupa is surrounded by four Gompas, Buddhist monasteries, low houses and all kinds of shops. Around the stupa, Buddhists in the neighborhood and pilgrims ... do Koras, ... spin the prayer wheels and recite their mantras ... is a powerful image and very beautiful. We have also taken a couple of Koras, for the journey ahead of us : "om mani ​​padme om ".

The stupas are constructions that are supposed to contain a holy relic. This Bodhnath stupa remains a bone of Buddha. Around its circular base are arranged 108 small images of the Dhyani Buddha Amitabha. The number 108 is no arbitrary, since this number is very important for Tibetan culture.

Today Larry has introduced us  to the Prince of Mustang, Jigme Bista, who lives in one of the monasteries surrounding Boudhanath. We finally met the Prince of the Kingdom in which we are about to delve. We were greeted with tea and delicious Tibetan pastries and we chatted for a while very friendly.

It has made recommendations on the journey that we do and has been very interesting, he lit his eyes when he spoke of the magical land of Mustang.

We ate at a Tibetan restaurant already knew Larry, Tibetan food is delicious and the views of the beautiful square breathtaking … there is a calmness .. beautiful silence broken only by the “gru gru” sound of hundreds of pigeons that inhabit the square, the rustling of mantras that are recited, the wheels turn and the flapping of the thousands of the hanging prayer flags blowing in the wind ... a wonderful show.

Finally, we dined at the restaurant Mithos, a beautiful corner at the end of Thamel close by to  Chhetrapati; is a very nice place I discovered last year in good company ... a small reataurant with tasty food as its name suggests, because "mythos" in Nepali means tasty. Besides I have to say that carrying out a nice project, because the waiters and cooks are young people without studies that are taught and work there, they are given a chance.

I finish the day with an evening stroll through the city, which at night is dim and the alleyways intuit mysterious .. very different from the light, joy and color that sprout on the same streets at daytime ... it's magic this strange city… has good karma ... so I call it “karrrmandu”.

Tomorrow more … we will take a flight to Pokhara and we will be closer from the forbidden kingdom ... the adventure begins ...

Graciela.

 
     
 

 

 

 
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Day 4:

Flying to Phokara before the last jump to Mustang

         
 

We got up in Kathmandu late as 9 am, and went down, finally, to take a good American breakfast included in the fee of our hotel, Hotel Mandala. Then we climbed to the roof of the hotel to photograph Swayambuhath, the Monkey Temple; inside it there are many hundreds. Seeing the temple, that far, it looks like a picture I found familiar, as if I had recorded it in my previous trips.


We move from the hotel directly to Kathmandu airport, to take a flight to the beautiful Pokhara, next to the big mountains and beside a lake. Although unlikely, and few Westerners understand it, I decided to take a bath in that lake with two Nepalese (if you read me you'll remember this bath, eh, Chris?). I really enjoyed it and recommend it to everyone, because we must not follow every warning, or at least I do not. Speaking of warnings, though, you have to swim when I did, in July or August, as it is now impossible because of the weather and because the water is very cold.

In Pokhara we have eaten in a neat and we made some last minute shopping. I recommend the Glacier Hotel as a place to stay for good customer relations, its rooms and lake views.

Derek.

 

We are already in Pokhara, we have been in a small propeller plane, we were about 30 people clinging each to its seat belt ... not too heavy turbulences but they impressed a little bit ...Yeti Airlines makes this type of domestic flights and we have been fairly treated and flying has been a nice pass. You fly with the mountains very closely ...

Tomorrow we will take one more flight to get to Jomsom and then begin the step by step route we intend... They say that the best way to know a place is crossing it on foot, I think the same and therefore we're going to spend from tomorrow morning 25 days walking.. easier to say than to walk. A guide provided by the Mustang Prince will join us on our way.  He knows Upper Mustang from the heart; he was born there and he  will also be interpreter from Tibetan into English.

We will have two porters ... which is highly appreciated, I need to take pictures of locations every moment and so I'm more liberated. Last year I made the
circle trek around the  Anapurnas, here in Nepal, with my 12 kgs backpack on and although it is comforting to the spirit to carry it with your stuff, it is really tyring and now this is a journey in which I have to be concentrated in my work.

We are in Pokhara, a town with a lake in the middle, surrounded by mountains and has a special charm ... the weather is warm and quiet breathing at night ... lots of fireflies light up in the dark, pure magic. I'm happy to be back in this town so magical that brings me so many beautiful memories, I remember a lot the people I stay with a year ago ...

I have gone most of the afternoon alone finish the preparation, as we have been repeatedly told we have to be prepared for the cold, and so  I went to buy a hat and a couple of things I needed, in this town there is a lot of mountain staff and at a very good price if you bargain a little. This is the place where  people coming from all over the world starts to trek over the Annapurnas. I have also gone to a shoemaker to repair my boots ... cobblers here are charming gentlemen who sit on the curb of the street with all their tools ... I've spent a while sitting there with one of them while repairing with care the detached tips of my boots.

Well ... tomorrow begins the adventure part ... ugh, I think it is amazing what lies ahead, to discover ...

Now under the pressure to do my job well, ready to collect all the interesting information received after talking and talking with the locals. They will sure tell us great stories. I am in the departure with the desire and need to make good pictures and considering the important fact that we have a good walk ahead ... with many adversities as cold, altitude sickness, and more .. I am somewhat nervous... but I take it and I think I am able to od it or I want to  believe it. I think everything will be fine ... I think we'll even get lucky and find amazing things at every step, and why not, we will encounter even with the snow leopard ...

Well, good wishes for the journey .... "om mani padme om​​."

Graciela


 
         

 

         
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Day 5:

We have landed in Mustang !

 
         
 

We got up at dawn in Pokhara, exactly at 4:30, to reach the airport in time, since our flight to Jomsom is scheduled at 6: 15. We arrived at the airport, pay rates and then, delayed flight ... however, the flight is amazing, watching the beautiful Himalayan Mountains, a unique and priceless experience in life.

We had just a glimpse over Jomsom ( we will do location here the last day of our trip) and we get away to walk towards Kagbeni, the gateway to Upper Mustang. We arrived after 2 hours of  trekking. We settled into the Hotel Himalaya, hotel not to be recommended. Data for production. We went out for location, stop for lunch and back to the cold and chilly wind to continue with the  locations. My favorite places in Kagbeni, the impressive Monastery in the middle of town and "Grandfather Meme", a place to hang out. Later we come to the Annapurna Hotel, small lodge at the entrance of the village with great views and highly recommended to stay, where we worked on the documentary project. It is owned by Norbu Tsering, the male leading character in the film "Kathmandu Lullaby" and Larry’s, good friend. Norbu is now in Kathmandu. When we will come back in one month I hope to meet him and to stay  at this Lodge.

The night is falling and after the cold wind in the afternoon and the little snow that has fallen we believe it is going to be a very cold night ....... But hopefully not too much!

Derek

 

 

"Himal" means dwelling or home and "Aya" means snow. Today we have flown a small part of this range of almost 3000 km, this house of snows ... We were flying planning on a small aircraft really close to the white and bright icy peaks ... passing over these sharp and somehow unreal peaks as we go into the highest mountain territory. Now I do feel that we will slowly leaving civilization and penetrating slowly, step by step, into this mysterious and unknown realm we have come to discover ... At 7 am we landed at the windy Jomsom airstrip, this town reminds me of the west but all surrounded by large white mountains. There Wangyal, our guide, and Panna and Manangui, our porters ... three smiling faces, were waiting for us. After embarrassing presentations began the first day of our route that for sure is going to be a great trip ... and together we reached the road, the journey will be long ... a lot of beautiful scenery to go, stories and amazing things to discover and behold, are waiting for us

Graciela

 
 

 
 

 

 

   
   
         
         
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Day 6:

FROM KAGBENI (2800m) TO

CHUKSANG (TSUGSANG) (2980 m)
second day in Upper Mustang route:

"... in just a couple of days in our way,
  we are a century away ... "

 
         
 

We marched from Kagbeni to Chuksang, and we make it in 3 hours and 20 minutes. In books, maps, and all sort of documents, the name of the villages of Mustang is written in different ways and Chuksang is also Chhusang or Tsugsang many times .

Passing through the first village, Tangbe, we took some photos. We continued our trek through beautiful landscapes along the Kali Gandaki River, which crosses Mustang from north to south. When we arrived Chuksang we settled in "New Bhakra Guest House" Hotel, the best in town next to the Tourist Hotel Bhrikuti Camping (not a campground), decent hotels for the shooting crew. Chuksang is a town that takes you back to the middle Ages.

We had lunch, rest a while in the room and around 15: 00 hours left to the Gumbakang Monastery, located in front of the village at the top of a hill. Nice ride, crossing the Kali, but it was a tough ride, lots of wind ... It was worth because the monastery is beautiful, although there is no monk at this time of the year. The statues, especially the central one Buddha, have impressed me. I also loved how we have been received by the caretaker lady to whom which we made short interview. She told us that his father took care of the monastery, now she is the one taking care and then her children, that is, to guard the monastery passes from generation to generation. From this day I will remember, no doubt, this monastery, and especially the lady who has received us, her young daughter who was afraid of us and she looked like not to want to eat the candy we gave her and finally the comforting black teas that this nice woman has offered to us.

Derek.

 

 

We're in Chuksang ... in a semi-dark room, as night falls and, of course, today there is no light. We are sitting in a small and cozy Tibetan style kitchen, presided, like in all of them, by a small but powerful square cast iron stove... women exchanged without stopping pots and kettles of fire to another. Here there is nothing better to do than to serve tea to try to get warm ... the atmosphere is quiet and familiar and now we are the center of attention ... I would love to speak the language and know what they say ...

Today we left at 8 am, an hour later than expected ... we have to adapt to the new rhythm. The sun was already appearing from behind the highest mountains and has been quick to light our way, which is tremendously grateful for warming body and soul. The road has been easy and I have passed very quickly looking at breathtaking scenery so different from my Segovia mountains in Spain ...

It is a strange and beautiful landscape, desert, with little or no vegetation ... we have come following the great canyon of the Kali Gandaki river to accompany us much of our route. We walk along the river bed, now you can trek it cause until summer is not flowing well ... the landscape sometimes looks like a decoration ...

I go all the  time taking pictures with camera in hand for locations and I feel that sometimes I melt into the landscape and forget the world ... almost without realizing I had reached our destination. The most beautiful moment of the day has undoubtedly been the visit to the monastery of Chuksang, although it has been an amazing walk with the wind against and beating us with dust and sand as we climbed the mountain path ... it has been a journey of courage, but it was well worth it. We have reached a place full of charm, a little out of the village on the mountain just across the river, where stands this small monastery that has become quite deteriorated over the years ... very beautiful, light and colorful.

A woman opened it for us. She is the one who has made this place even more special for me. A Nepali woman with wrinkled clothes and bright eyes, shameful but very real smile. She lives there taking care of the monastery, that is immaculate and the gods are well cared with incense and candles ... She opened with hospitality and left us wandering at our ease in every corner without asking anything in return ... very nice place, full of calm and of beautiful paintings ... while she silently prepared three offering candles to the gods, one for each of us ...  calmly rolled cotton wicks pouring grease or yak butter ... she passed a stick to each one of us we have lit a candle making a wish, then we pulled into the air some seeds after  passing it over our head and heart , thinking a positive thought ... a very nice, very special moment.

She was so lovely that she had no problem to be recorded a short interview. Wangyal was translating for us. She looks happy, living in a simple world, her husband was out herding goats ... they live very humbly and in exchange for taking care of the old monastery they receive food.

Then she invited us to a delicious tea in another room, their home to the warmth of a small kitchen fire. She kept refill our cup of tea and there we were very quiet with her very tiny daughter who has literally pissed when she saw us, I think she might have never seen anyone as odd as we two white people, and with blond hair like me.

A pleasant evening in a beautiful place full of peace and in the company of a woman with clean and sincere smile ... a house of the gods very nice.


Graciela.

 

 
 

 
 

 

 

 
   
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DAY 7

CHUKSANG (2980 m) SAMAR (3321m)


"... Climbed through deep gorges and finally reach the confines of endless rolling steppes..."

 
         
 

We left Chuksang direction Samar following a path that has brought us by steep cliffs. We've been through Chele (the first town totally Tibetan in character and origin) and we have seen on the other side of the mountain the small village of Ghyakar, a small village not too much  interesting for our documentary. The road today was the hardest, so far, and I am proud to be writing from Samar.

In Samar we have stayed at Hotel Annapurna, a good hotel that caught my attention for its interesting dining room, small goat that roamed there, and we can say that the rooms they were fine. After lunch, we relaxed a bit, and around 15:00 hours, we have put in place to locate. In this town I'm hooked on the dzos, yak-like animal, actually a cross between yak and cow, an animal I had never seen before and that has impressed me greatly. Samar means "red earth" and hence one of its two monasteries is of this color.

 

The team altogether have spent the late afternoon, after locating, talking and talking, Wangyal the guide, two porters and us. Reading, looking at and speaking about the book by Michel Peissel. After I taught them to play the "donkey" and "liar" two Spanish card games and we spent an afternoon of laughs thanks to a such simple element of joy.

Derek.

PS: I advise you good, very warm clothes... or cold will overcome.
 

I quote Peissel, being in the same place: ... "... we have gone through the fertile riverbed, between large peaks and after passing the limit of the monsoon, we ascended to the deep gorges. Now at last we reached the confines of endless rolling steppes ... "

Today we arrived in Samar, is a beautiful village, pristine and with stone-made houses. The first thing that caught my attention at first  sight was to see trees, we had days without seeing even one. Wangyal, says they are  willows, but I'm not entirely sure, its trunk is very large and all its branches are depleted, Here wood is a scarce and precious commodity. The town is full of horses and dzos that carry firewood from one place to another.

The road today was hard, but I know that there are worse stages to come. We stopped walking by the empty stream of the river Kali Gandaki and we have entered into a deep gorge, our path went up the mountain and there were vertigo drops down... So we were on a narrow path that made ​​its way to the ridge of a mountain, as walking down a set.

Right now I'm sitting in the parlour of our tea house(so called here to where we slept during our trip). This town is the coldest we've been so far and the wind, of course, goes mad through the boards of the windows ... I see in the distance a towering snowy peak looming above the clouds, below is a sea of ​​mountains not so high and fewer frost and in the middle the gorge we ascended ... an incredible landscape that comforts the eye and makes you feel that every step was worth... Through the window ring the bells of the furry Tibetan horses, every where they go there is a happy tune...

Oooh! Wangyal and Panna are smiling holding a treasure, they bring a brazier ... so we sat together to share the warmth ... I show them photos of the book written by Peissel, photos of Mustang 60 years ago and they like it. It happens that  talking together, the afternoon happens best and all of us forget the cold ... Derek teaches us a few card games ... we laughed like children. A large full moon appears behind the mountains ... so beautiful, transmits calm ... I ask only for a good guidance  on the right path and for protection ... Subaratri! See you tomorrow!

Graciela.
 
         
 

 
         
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DAY 8

FROM SAMAR (3321 m) to Geling (3570 m)

"In my eyes, filling the horizon, lay a land different from all I knew before..."

 
         
 

I want to start the day remembering last night, a very cold one. Nevertheless, we were privileged to see, from the dining room of our hotel, the moon rising from behind the clouds that were looming over one of the mountains... so beautiful.

We get up in the "red earth", at 3321 meters, and altitude begins to show. After spending the freezing night we headed Geling (also Gheling or Gheiling). The road has been hard and long but, again, was worth it because we have had the opportunty to find locations in a beautiful cave full of history, the cave of Ranbyung (Ranchung) at 3842 m, an amazing ancient stupa in Syangboche, the village of Tama Gaon with their remarkable chorten (but no place to spend the night) and Geling, where we slept.

The strongest impressions of this day are the ones experienced traveling through beautiful mountain scenery, the history of the monastery of Geling, and our history there during our visit. It has two floors and is a special one because although the ground floor is open to everybody, women can not go to the upstairs floor because it is considered an insult to the gods and they tell us they could cut her hands with a knife. In the monastery, just on the second floor, I have been shown a human hand and I felt somehow fear. The truth is that when I took it I have returned it fast and I have hurried down with Graciela, because to be honest I was scared and I preferred to get off. My dear readers we have photos so ... you will see them.

Now to rest, today was a tough day.

Derek

 

... "A new world lay at my feet. From Samar I had seen an endless ocean of snow-covered peak that extended to infinity, but now, from here, I look closely at what exists between the peaks. In my eyes, filling the horizon, lay a land different from all I knew before  ... "

 There is nothing better than to steal a little paragraph from Peissel to explain what we have seen and felt, which during these days leaves me speechless ...

Today we walked for a long time trough a rather steep uphill path behind a goat herder who was twice my age and endurance. He was climbing up effortless, I walked behind, suffocated with a little bit of altitude sickness … I liked him because he walked beautifully singing and whistling tunes ... a man of hard face, wearing his warm and elegant chuba (the kind of cross coats worn by Tibetans in the area). At the top sitting on a rock it was very difficult to get a greeting Namaste, but finally I got it ..

I think today has been definitely the most intense day in our journey, we have been eight hours on the road ... literally five hours non-stop up and down mountains ... climbing the steepest hills I remember.   I could not believe it every time we stopped and saw everything we have crossed. All these ups and downs are due to have taken the pilgrim route to go through the Ranbyung cave ... the most sacred cave of all Mustang ... So amidst all up and down, a big number of stone steps climbed the slope of a small mountain to the cave we were searching. After a couple of breaks in between the staircase, few finally entered the cave and my face lit up with the light, beauty and tranquillity of the place. A guard who looked like a true hermit lives there alone, taking care. Once again, the cave is well maintained and gods are well cared. Out of the cave walls a kind of black stones as gods come out and is full of stalactites ... very magical. We have lit a few candles and throw some seeds into the air praying for beautiful things and we have said goodbye to the guard who was slowly emptying the wallet of our guide. An amazing place in the middle of nowhere, filled with a special energy.

We are now in Geling, in a cosy little hotel, waiting desperately to be six o’clock in the evening ... There is not much to burn, firewood is scarce, there are no trees so as a rule we have to wait until six every evening to light the stove in the living room-kitchen. The most abundant and used fuel is cattle dung that burns very easily. In every tea house is the same story, so all of us we look forward to six o’clock to get a little warmer, and when the fire is going all got together for tea around as the owner of the house cooks and commands.

It seems that fire is turning on, we all seat close together on small stools around the stove and a woman with great strength in her face pours a liquid into an elongated tube and begins to stir… it sounds good ... the thick liquid is poured into a teapot and I get to try, oh! It is the famous salted butter tea, thank goodness I only have to prove it, I do not like it at all. I return the cup to Managui and everyone laughs ... so I keep my ginger tea while they enjoy the delicacy, I guess it is a matter of getting used to its taste.

We had garlic soup for dinner, very good for altitude sickness and cold ... the light is dim and I see nothing ... today there is no electricity ... I'm happy, I'm travelling ... Namas-te (sounds like “no more tea” in Spanish) , see you tomorrow!

Graciela

 
         
 

 

         
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DAY 9:

FROM GHELING ( 3570 m ) TO TRAMAR (3920 m)

The curtains flutter in the air, though the window is closed...

 
         
 

We woke in Gheling and departed with final destination in Tramar. The path has been easy, stopping at Ghami, a colourful village, where we visited two monasteries, one open where I have drawn attention to the entrance with yak wool precious fabrics, frescoes and statues very beautiful; in the other one, very old, we could not enter because there was no key. Electricity doesn’t arrive to Ghami, but there are solar panels where we charged camera batteries.

We had lunch in one of the hostels in Ghami and talked with three tourists, who had chosen a twelve-day trek and were already down to Jomsom. I noticed that they had no porters; it was because they had taken horses to carry luggage, so yeah ... they have horses-porters.

So far everything looked good, but out of Ghami, heading Tramar, we found a very strong and very cold wind, which has complicated the way ... but we got the goal that today was to reach at Tramar, "Red Cliff".

In Tramar, from where I write, I hope you never turn in to the "hotel" where we are spending the night, because it is the worst place where I stayed in my entire life. Part of the roof does not exist, no showers, there is a terrible cold with nothing to do ... the Tenzin Guest House, a never finished construction is a mess.

We had a terrible night with a deadly cold. I think I've caught a cold and I will be dragging it. I'm crazy for the morning to arrive and get out of this town, where we have located an interesting watermill, stunning caves and a monastery similar to the one in Ghami, .... that  nightmare "hotel"... I hope I never, never have to come back ...

Derek

PS: Dawn please!  I call and beg the gods!
 

Finnaly we have not slept so bad in Gheling ... we have not been too cold and just before going to bed we had a couple of extra and clean blankets, and I think… that’s a five star ... We are now in Tramar, and we have entered on the wrong foot in this cold, cold and dreary village ... after a rather long trek, I was thinking about a couple of buckets with hot water to shower, but here, the only tea house that is open has no bathroom, it seems that one day someone started building and then got tired, there is no roof on all areas, a large part of the corridor has no ceiling and a great cold wind comes in through, that removes the entire place  and my feelings ... about the room, "no comment" ... the curtains fluttered in the air though the window was closed.
Today I'm not in a good mood, I will keep that the way has been beautiful, we have seen a couple of fairly large eagles .... Now I just want dawn to sunrise and get a little warmer.

Tramar is a small town, there is not much to see, but their rock caves in the red cliff, which gives name to the village. In these holes carved into the rock monks lived 80 years ago ... the truth is it's very interesting to see. I think it reminds me Bandiagara in the Dogon Country, in Mali ... where one day I could imagine the famous red little men hanging from the cave...

There is also a very old water mill and a monastery from which in the morning we could hear the prayer drums  ... a good sound to start the day and walk with good spirit.

Graciela.
 
         
 

 
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DAY 10:

FROM TRAMAR ( 3820 m) TO TSARANG (3560 m) CROSSING MUILA BHANJYANG PASS (4120 m)

... And down there, in a small valley, enclosed between the mountains and tormented desert, appeared Tsarang. The town seems magic whim or inspiration of a great artist who, tired of wasteland, he had intended to paint a haunting picture on such a rough background. ”. Peissel.

 
         
 

We said goodbye to the worst "hotel" of our route, where in order to sleep and not die of cold we had to put a big mattress and blanket in the window (the room had three beds) and still cold air went in, so you can deduce we have not spent a very warm night. When we got up we found iced windows, with frost on the inside.

After breakfast and to get some heat we started to walk towards our initial destination: Marang, which is near the Monastery of Lo Ghekar, one of the important points in our path. Coming out of Tramar (Dhakmar) we have seen the caves, high above in the cliff, where we have been told there are interesting paintings inside; you can not see them unless you take some scale or climbs to have access to them. I note this for the shooting. We have also seen the Monastery, passing by we have heard a monk praying. This monastery is very similar to the one in Ghami.

Finally we have not stayed in Marang, because the village apart from a monastery had nothing ... we could not even make food so we have all decided to walk an hour and a half more to Tsarang, where we have stayed at a nice hotel ... a luxury place compared with the one yesterday; after three days I could take a hot shower ... well exactly I "showered" with a bucket containing hot water and now I feel good, clean and comfortable with myself ... I do not smell of sweat, do not smell bad.

Well, now, I can tell you that Tsarang have beautiful things to visit. Especially his five chortens, the ancient palace and monastery, with a curious college for monks (like any school, including a buzzer-bell to warn the beginning or the end of the classes or to warn of any event) and something that caught my attention is that there was a football goal (for a moment I thought of my Real Madrid) where I thought, if a goal is scored, poor goalkeeper or player who has scored ... mid-mountain down to pick up the ball.

I would also like to note that Tsarang is a large town, with a water channel (the second I see from Tangbe if I trust my memory), a little bit dirty, but very colourful and bigger and developed than other villages that we have been.

I would emphasize to the people because I found a happy people, lively and industrious (some spun). I'll take the moment when I gave children small balloons making them happy and the beautiful sunset with my travelling companion Graciela, bringing me a "hot chocolate" after losing a rock-paper-scissors game.

Derek

PS: Today I am happy to see Tsarang, with the hotel and especially with THE SHOWER!!
 

I think the cold is certainly the hardest element we must live with in these mountains. This makes people hard and marks the children with those red circles in the cheeks … cold wind and close sun. It was the coldest morning I remember ... we walked stiff as candles through the shadow cast by the mountains ... I just wish with all my heart that the sun will again cover our path, so it has happened after a while ... oh, big star, you gave me life!

Today the walk was about five hours, has been a beautiful day and the road was not difficult. Although due to the altitude, about 3.900 m., every little step uphill fatigue as a long run, so today we were silent, breathing hard and concentrate on the road and the horizon. So many hours a day of such a walk gives way to think a lot of things to remember and to miss who most the ones you love ... Wangyal and me go always a little ahead, a few meters behind, Derek, and the porters at their own pace much further back and sometimes in a different way.

As usual we went enjoying the scenery and little chatty, talking disorders the breathing and gets you more tired. Wangyal is always picking stones to throw at the voyager lots (large piles of stones on the sides of the road) I'm going behind doing the same ... in each pile. We have come across a huge flock of black goats that dotted the brown mountain, a little lady dominated them all and still had plenty of strength to shout me make a photo from afar for making her a photo; she said that now you have to pay 1,000 or 2,000 rupees ... Wangyal has answered in Tibetan …who is marking those rules, that I am not aware? ... We have ended up laughing with her ... if you get it, ok you get it, she said. We continued walking until we saw far on the horizon the red sign of the imposing Chortens that was our first goal of the day, the monastery of Lo Gekar. There it was, in the middle of nowhere, at a mountainside with a river at its foot that is now frozen. Red, large and imposing and of course with its large Tibetan mastiff guard in the courtyard, and nothing more than that because now is winter when no one lives inside. I guess in summer will be full; all the monks come to spend the season. It's the same in almost all the monasteries, they are now empty but in less than a month monks and lamas will begin to arrive for the summer. I guess in summer when it's warm here is like paradise, breathing clean and pure air of these mountains. This monastery is large and a little below has a fenced plot of land where they cultivate their gardens in summer ... I could not help watching a bunch of monks dressed in ochre colours watering the green of their garden ... I would love to see it alive in July...

The best of the day, no doubt, a shower! You have to see what is valued here among the mountains a little bucket of hot water ... I've showered in the light of a candle and the steam came out and the light was changing with the dance of the flame ... and I was there with my little bucket and pot washing my hair up and feeling I was becoming years younger ... it has been rewarding and now I feel renewed...

Tomorrow we will finally stand in The Mantang, the capital of the kingdom.
There I will give updates, at least I'm feeling good, to my family and loved ones with whom I have spent more than a week without being able to communicate ... I miss and miss them very much.

Graciela.
 
         
 

 
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DAY 11


FROM TSARANG (3.560 m. ) TO LO MANTHANG ( 3.840m.)

Finally we arrived to Lo Manthang, the walled capital!

 
         
 

Tuesday and 13 (Spanish Friday 13) , and of course, the day was becoming complicate. I'm not superstitious, but after today, I will trust no more this date.
You may wonder why I say this, simple, to start with I forgot two dirty shirts in our hotel in Tsarang, and yet we're told, before leaving the town, the story of how they cut the hand of the builder of the Old Palace in the city. They cut the builder’s hand so he could not try to make another equally beautiful palace anywhere in the world. The hand is preserved within it, and they showed  it to me !

The road to Lo Mantang  from Tsarang lasted very hard four hours due to sustained very high wind, a difficult path where the ground was snow in some parts and the accumulated aches in my body . Combining all these factors, I thought I would not get to the capital of the Kingdom of Mustang, but in the end I got  … and I'm writing the journal.

In Lo Mantang we are staying at Mystique Himalayas Hotel, comfortable, with two floors, a dinning room, with good and spacious rooms, with a luxury we had not got so far : ELECTRICITY!

From LO Mantang I can only tell today that we have Internet, so we have used it to write to our loved ones ... they needed to hear from us. After leaving the Cyber ​​(very expensive) has started to snow and a freezing cold so was we decided to protect our lives and take shelter in the hotel ...

Tomorrow morning we will visit Trenkhar (Tinghar), and the Namgyal Monastery, for sure ... we will have better weather . They are towns near the capital. I advance that in the first village there is the summer residence of the Raja (King in Nepalese language)

Nothing more to tell you so … see you soon


Derek.

PS: I hope that you all haven’t had a Tuesday 13 like we have had.

 

 

"Only those who have walked eagerly for days understand the magical quality that the mind gives to the word arrival"

We have finally ARRIVED!

Walking through what is called the Plain of Prayer, overlooking all the time only a vast sea of ​​mountains ... we've been approaching LoManthang.
The wind seemed angry with us and whipped fouriously throughout the end sector of the road so after eight days of cilmb and four hours of walking with the wind
Against us, in absolute silence and a little bit exhausted, we reached the capital of the highest kingdom in the world…


Now we'll stay here a few days, there is much to see and do ... and let the nomadic life for three or four days just to allow us to recover some strength ... The truth is that in this town  you can breath good atmosphere, it is very colorful and it is alive. People seem quite friendly and hospitable and I like to sit at any place with the locals and live their a little. I've had the opportunity to spend some time sitting with an old woman under the sun, she was threading a lot of pure wool ... what a nice time while talking in their local language ... and the universal language, the gestures. I think there are many things to see and feel in this little village, that actually is the capital town, to see what happens in this corner of the world where it seems that one day time stood still ....

 

Graciela.

 
         
 

 
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DAY 12

LO MANTHANG (3.840 m.)
VISIT TO TRENKHAR ( 3.974m.) AND NAMGYAL ( 3.870 m.)

First moment of rest

 
         
 

I wake up in the capital of the Kingdom of Mustang after a good night of rest ...
I missed that much. Today was special because I have not been up to pack like a trekker like every morning, or take my orange reflecting backpack on today’s route. We went to Trenkhar (Tinghar), a town entirely uphill, with a small monastery where we have seen statues arranged on a bench and some paintings. The painting that most caught my attention, I want to share, was one of four animals together, one above the other. An elephant, a monkey, a rabbit and a bird.

I would tell you that this town is the town with more cattle per square meter I have ever seen because, without exaggeration, there have been times when I thought that the inhabitants of this town were the cows and the dzos you meet everywhere until later I started seeing someone, but in the end anyway, in proportion, were quite up to par. Furthermore, this town has trees ! I would highlight the one  which is behind the monastery. It is very nice, very big, the biggest I've seen in Mustang, and givea sense  life to the village.

After leaving Trenkhar we passed by the village of Puwa in the opposite side of the road that we were we awere walking , and  we arrived to Namgyal, a village situated about thirty minutes of Lo-Manthang, known for its painted monastery, like everyone else, with the colors of Mustang, safeguarded, like everyone else, by two dogs, one tied and one did not, which I was afraid - you have to know aboput the mastiffs, Tibetan mastiffs, to know what I mean - because it seemed that we were watched, but thankfully our guide Wangyal screaming in Nepali or Tibetan - who cares - has been successful and, sincerely, to scare away the Tibetan Mastiff have reassured me ... when I have felt the dog close, I terrified.

It war remarkable, like that of Tsarang, the monastery’s monastic school. After visit it, we returned to Lo-Manthang. Now to have lunch, give a ride tomorrow morning and locate this beautiful city. We have collected information about what we want and we have to do, but we want to do with our own eyes.

To finish the day we spent all afternoon working on the project and I have to congratulate my colleague Graciela for the work she is doing and, moreeover, because she is proving to be a fantastic professional so my last words are for her now : Great work buddy and keep on the same way !

                                                                               

Derek

 

Lo Manthang, pure calm and cold so pure ... we have been here staying quite for a couple of days in this curious corner of northern Mustang.  I think “capital”  is  just for the word,  the important monasteries and palaces ... otherwise remains a small, full of charm, lost village.

Gradually, over the course of these twelve days we've been entering in this kingdom as we have been traveling back in time ... we have traveled many, many years ago ... As well as Peissel tells: "... the lost paradise, the land where men live ageless beyond the limits of our busy and prosaic world, a place where time is suspended, quiet on a secret universe, closed." This is the way this place is.

Despite the intense cold that makes difficult and hard to stay here and the altitude, which sometimes runs out ... this is a place where you feel at home, where the time goes fast and slow at the same time, a place away from pollution of any kind ... an untouched  flower. At dawn is always sunny, and although you can feel and breath the cold, everything is nice. The houses  and streets are stone made, cattle and samll horses with their bells go on the loose and children play in puddles in the street ... the dirty snow and ice piled up. Men and women gather in large and small groups in the sunniest corners of the squares and streets and chat, laugh, make yarn from pure wool piles and meditate and pray spinning their prayer wheels and rosaries ... also grind grain in large mortar embedded in the ground ... They just see  the cold winter passing by with a smile on and an unshakable calm.
I feel we are waiting for the thaw, to stop the cold wind whipping these tanned faces as the fields change from frozen white to deep green.


                                                                                                                    

Graciela

 
         
 

 
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DAY 13

Living in Lo Manthang

 

 
         
 

Today was a very busy day. One more night sleeping in the capital of the Kingdom in the best bed in the entire route (I have already slept like that for 2 nights!!) and when the alarm has sounded it cost me to get up, but after five minutes of shirking I put my lenses and I got up.

Not very complicated day, as our mission was just to locate in Lo-Mantang, and the capital town is not very large. What to say of this beautiful city ... very friendly people, with plenty of life (in July with the heat will be surely amazing) ... it's a completely walled city-maze, which is located in a unique place in the world, from here you can see beautiful landscapes and great mountains. Finally you can see charming shops to come back with something typical… and you can find some restaurants where you feel like enough brave for tasting food (we are satisfied with the food of the hotel where we lodged, the "Hotel Mystique Himalayan ").

Its architecture has captivated me above all things in Lo Manthang. Especially the King's Palace, where we have been able to enter thanks to Jigme, the Prince of Mustang. A palace with one hundred and eight rooms. From there you have beautiful views of the monasteries and temples of the city and the mountains in the surroundings. And, even more impressive than the palace, the three monasteries of the city, Thupchen Monastery, Ling Mon Gon Shedrubling Tsechen Lobdra and Jampa Monastery, where we have been locating.

 

Honestly, the most beautiful out of the three. The one that has impressed me so much is Thupchen Monastery from the very first moment when I saw her four giant statues and giant wooden doors. We were able to take pictures of the statues because they are at the entrance of the monastery, but within the monasteries we could not shoot because you have to pay a special permit (they have come to ask for $ 100 per hour and of course we said no, for when we will film, we will come with all the needful permits, so we made our location based on very detailed notes and without any photo ... be quiet readers, you will see those images in the future ... much better to do it late but well done, than early but wrong.

The third monastery, Jampa, is the largest one with three floors. It is located just behind the Royal Palace. It is the oldest and is known for having a huge statue of Buddha and a beautiful wooden door with a very peculiar texture.

After these feelings related to the monumental architecture today we also interviewed our guide, her school, where he teaches himself as a teacher. I have loved to make some children happy by giving just a few balloons (sometimes I wonder how many are not content with so much and others may have one of the best days of their life with so little… this is what you need in life to learn about different societies and cultures)

Afterwards we went shopping at some souvenir places. In one shop we made an interview in English to the owner (Never tell you anything about, you will see him on Youtube) and we shot a woman making thread in a traditional style.

Finally we have gone to the only Internet place in town with my computer trying to connect there with a cable modem (theirs). I tried to send several pictures, but it did not work because of the weight of photographs.  After several attempts, we gave up. We went for a pen-drive, to insert it on their computer and at least be able to ship our journal via email and to upload on the website where you will be reading this right now. After an hour and four minutes to send the papers and check emails, we have paid a very expensive price for Nepal, even expensive for Europe (5 Euros per hour … and Internet connexion was not that wonderful)

 

Came back to our hotel and rest a while until just right now. At six o’clock we set to work to benefit from the three hours of electricity they just have every day in this city.

Best regards and until next

                                                                            

Derek

 

We live in the only Tea House that is now open in winter ... and we spent the time we are not locating, walking around or talking to local people, glued to the stove waiting to be filled with dry dung and peel a little heat with which loosen muscles and the whole body.

We’ve been almost all the way without coming across with tourists, but as this is the capital town, here a little bunch came together... a guy with a large entourage that is assessing whether to make this place a UNESCO heritage site (I would say YES) a French Tibet lover, two quite posh Englishmen and ... the two of us, the spark of life in the party…. The other ones are all Nepalese people, guides, porters, ... and the lady head of the kitchen that feeds us all with home and warm cooking... The main place in the room is the certainly the little iron stove, holding kettles and teapots and pots and bring us together around it.

At six o’clock in the evening the power comes and we recharge our batteries and the computer and let us work for a while, but at nine suddenly … over! Life is like that here in the mountains and above 4000 meters.

Yesterday we went to Trenkar at only two hours distance (in addition it’s so nice to walk without backpack) to visit the King summer palace. A beautiful walk through mountain trails along a completely frozen river. On the way back we climbed a hill and passed by Namgyal, a beautiful monastery with two large fierce Tibetan mastiffs as guardians in the cold season… the only ones who inhabit it, but in less than a month the monastery will be full of children and lamas giving life to this mountain place.

Today we walked and located the town and its breathtaking monasteries and royal palace. The monasteries have left me without a word, stunning and built long time ago. All full of towering giant statues of gods and ancient paintings damaged away by moisture ... all with a magical light coming through the ceiling windows and slipped between the huge wooden pillars (here centuries ago there were great forests and built with large wooden beams and pillars … now everywhere is almost a desert).

The royal palace is very interesting with its 108 rooms and a large terrace where we have been allowed to go through thanks to a special permission from Jigme, the Prince. From up there you can control the entire town and have wonderful views.
We visited the museum of medicinal herbs, very interesting, and have learned that Lo means “the inhabitants of” and Manthang, ground herbs. And when we were finishing we were invited by the museum curators to have a Royal tea, which was one of those "wonderful" and famous around here, tea with salt ... ugh! cost me drink it , all the time fearing the lady who threatened to refill my teapot every 5 minutes.

We have finished the morning having a sun bath in the town square, among the ladies who make yarn sitting over animal skins and surrounded by children laughing behind their blushing round cheeks and curious ladies ... I have been investigated to see how many pants I wore, they probably won as some of them had three pants and a skirt and I only wore two...

Tomorrow we will take a horse to visit the towns and caves that we have to visit inside the northern district and get back in the day ... Wangyal said "no problem" ... I do not know, we will see how it goes us the gallop with these small, shaggy Tibetan ponies. I have to admit that I have some fear ... but as we go like adventurers...

Namaste from the high mountains! Subaratry (good evening!)

 


                                                                                                                    

Graciela

 
         
 

 
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DAY 14

Riding horses!

 

 
         
 

We woke up another morning more in the capital of Mustang with a sunny weather and no wind… very rare at this time, so we are very happy. After breakfast we decided to go riding horses to Chosar area ( Chhoser) where we have been locating in the monastery of Garphu, which I have not been called a lot of attention. Somethnig different is what we have seen today in Nyphu, a monastery excavated in the rock, ¡ it was a large cave!

I was really impressed because it was the first time I saw a monastery-cave. After viewing this monastery we have gone to see the caves of Chong, which are not very far from Nyphu (we have had as guides three children-monks, who have shown us the monastery-cave) dug into a cliff and with wonderful views.

After telling you everything referred to "monuments",  I would say that for me has been this has been the best day of all (not the most impressive) because we had an incredible weather and having gone on horseback to all these places… I love riding.

In addition we have saved a day of trekking, and we have been able to do all the way in the same day.  What can I say about the ride… nothing more than that it has been amazing with the landscapes that sometimes seemed decorated sets ¡ We will try to send you photos! And sometimes, go to gallop, experience that every time I like more, even on these small Tibetan horses.

Back in Lo-Mantang , pretty late, we have had lunch at 16:00 hours ( imagine the hunger that we had from 08:00). We ate and showered after 4 days without being able to do so, in order to smell again good, something already necessary.

It was so nice climate ¡ Amazing!  We have taken a sun bath at the hotel terrace until it has gone, but we have pursued tangent to the first plaza (where the "expensive" Internet is located) and subsequently as we have seen that the sun was going from there we headed toward the main street (where our hotel is) to take advantage of some faint rays more. After sunset we have returned to the hotel to relax (just a little time) and work on the project, the two of us tasting hot chocolate.

PD: hopefully we will be lucky and the good weather will continue.
What a great experience but a hard one.

                                                                     

Derek

 

Today was one of those days that you know that you will always remember. We have ridden in the mountains in one of those small Tibetan horses to the beat of their chimes… amazing… I am fortunate. At 8 o’clock in the morning the horses were propped and the sun shining down, so we ran toward Chosar, toward the north of Mustang, in the direction of Tibet… a sea of mountains was opened before our trot and again I seemed to be inside a set.

Crossing a wide river, without knowing how deep the horse was and without knowing if when the horse and if you know if I myself would sink, I feared more for my camera than for myself. Little by little we arrived to a landscape of red rocks… just behind these mountains is Tibet.

The first stop was at the monastery of Garphu and a little bit later we stopped in another, larger one, the Nyphu monastery. We have been received by three small red lamas assembled up to the smallest detail, the greater should not have more than 11 years, "the three little monks", seemed a rap group with their posturing of little older men, but leaving escape their child’s innocence by playing the rim and stick game …

Made a funny interview to them and later the reading I have filmed them reciting mantras in the meditation room, very nice. The monastery is beautiful, and has a great monastic school. It is half-built in a cave and from the terrace you have breathtaking views of a vast horizon of mountains…

A short walk and we have visited the great cave of the red cliff. Wangyal and me, visited the entire cave, its five floors and crannies dwarves, a kind of labyrinth monastery scavenging on the cliff with thousands of small and dark rooms and windows open to the precipice… so nice.

To finish off the intense day, back to the horse shuttle crossing by the bizarre landscape that reminded me of the Bandiagara Cliff in Dogon country and their little red men… suddenly, we were greeted and shout "Namaste, tea?” from a house, and of course we said yes, these are my favourite stops. When you get off the horse I already perceived something strange, a ubiquitous sound here and there and there are not many radios around…. And what a surprise!  We found ourselves in the middle of a great hustle by entering in the yard of the house, we have the perception that something is happening, smiling faces pushed me to a room filled with people singing in unison that ubiquitous strange, beautiful, surround… chant "om mane padme om…om mane padme om…"

It is a beautiful celebration that we account Wangyal in softly takes place only twice a year, all the people meet to meditate and pray, and to take the tea all together… that luck, one of those two times only a year … and it happens we rode by in the middle of the mountains on horseback … in the middle of nowhere…that luck!

I was so amazed and sometimes I go so fast that immersed in that kind of trance that was hard to leave, I am clasping my hands like a bowl and a man poured a thick, yellow water, holy water… as I seen those who went before me, they drink a little and the rest they poured over their heads ... and I, well, I'll do ... copy and drink and a strange taste runs up my throat and forehead and I was cool… I feel good ... Wangyal says it's like a kind of Buddhist communion ... I loved it, and I liked especially as we have received and made ourselves part of the celebration, all smiles and normality ... very cute, I liked it, nice experience of those that you feel authentic... "om mane padme hom ​​..."

Graciela

 
         
 

 
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Day 15:

YAKS AND NOMADS

 
         
 

We got up early one day more in Lo-Manthang (6:00 am) to go in search of yaks and nomads. The tour we do it riding horses because walking was a crazy idea due to the distance and the steepness of the road. We climbed cliffs and snowy mountain heights. If horses have given us a scare time when they seem to be slipping, I do not even want to imagine if we do walk. After riding more than two hours a very beautiful mountain landscapes and sceneries we found the yaks.

We got off the horse, climb a steep hill and, ladies and gentlemen, these beautiful and huge animals surround us... and we photographed them… Take it easy; we have yak photos without us! In the midst of this landscape where behind the mountains in front of our eyes is Dolpo, a region where Trekking, is a must and one of the places where the Snow Leopard still lives.

After rushing around among these peculiar animals we descend to the nomad camp consisting of nine tents. We entered one of them, guarded by a chained dog that kept barking at me and it did that I feel not entirely safe, and inside we are offered two kinds of tea, a traditional tea with salt and butter and black tea. I advise you never try the butter tea, try better black or milk tea.

Inside the tent we recorded and photographed the life within. We shot a video in which a nomad woman is grinding rye by the fire in the stove. We travel the camp and just when we start our way back we noticed that we have forgotten a water bottle in the tent where we had been - the second of the nine in the camp. I offer myself volunteer to go for it and the truth is that a moment after I almost regret because I recognize that to go for it, going up a bit, I had trouble walking more than usual because of the altitude above 4,000 meters, but then around, to be rather down, has been simple.

We went after the horses and go to step during most of the way because the way was dangerous. Afterwards we trotted and galloped back towards the capital of the lost Kingdom. Upon arrival, we went to the Internet place to send the updated journals and to send an email to my girlfriend because I really miss her.

We eat and relax in the room, but after a while listening to some music I think I want and need to call her, this is also the last chance before going to other towns where I can no longer do so. Back to the room after speaking with her, I relax a little bit more and when my partner Graciela comes we got to work in our beautiful project. PS: Tomorrow we leave the city of eagles (I have seen seven) and the beautiful temples.

PD: Mañana nos marchamos de la ciudad de las águilas ( he visto siete ) y los preciosos templos.


 
Derek.

 

 

The last day in Lo Manthang. At 6 o’clock the alarm sounds again, it is hard to get out of the bag and the three blankets that crush me every night and again I fell prey to the cold, my worst and only enemy in this kingdom, great warrior with whom I've been fighting every day since we are among these magical mountains ...

We saddle the horses and we were three early bird riders leaving back again into the sea of ​​mountains that lies beyond the capital town towards Tibet ... I love these horses, nothing like the ones I used to ride when I was a child ... They are small, hairy and its wooden saddle is covered with blankets with colour stripes, each horse carrying a beautiful bell around the neck and emits a beautiful melody when paired with tones of other horses ... They have their manes braided with ribbons or pieces of prayer flags in bright colours and a carefully knotted tail in two braids together by a colourful tie.

Now I'm the last one, unlike when we walk… I think my horse is the oldest and I am the wisest and I prefer to go slowly making my pictures and grabbing my camera and I take good care not to open my head at over 4.000 m in the middle of nowhere ... Today we went to see nomads and their yaks in their pasture land, so I'll start with a smile because I've been up since we started the trip wondering where we will end up watching them and now, at last it seems we are going to find them. I am very interested to see how these people live among the mountains, to see how they manage, view real yak (for now what we have seen is a cross between yak and cow called dzo that are smaller and less hairy) and especially seeing those yak-hair tents with a stove inside inhabited by shepherds, that sort of yurts that remind me something special ...

The road is beautiful ... we jumped back into a dream, within a beautiful scenery ... like being in a box! We leave Lo Manthang behind us and plunge us into a thousand hills up and down looking at Dolpo, towards the Tibetan plateau. The fact that the English trot so well learned when I was a child does not serve me to keep my kidneys at place on this little Tibetan horse which trotting is nervous and uncontrolled ... despite that I am delighted riding in the Himalayas reaching horizons and new horizons, I'm really enjoying riding horses like the locals ... Derek is more than fine, he is happy galloping ahead with Wangyal.

Suddenly in the distance, ou ou ou ... like American Indians sighting new camps, we see a settlement of tents… we have found them! ... Tents like yurts but more square, and further up the mountainside a great herd of yaks ... That way we went to see and photograph up close, to live this meeting a bit ... and so we are single file on horseback along a cliff, falling into the void to our left and a little more moderate fall into snow ice on our right, knowing that our life is in danger and trusting my entire life to the balance and faith in an animal I barely know and I have been riding just only a couple of days ... we move ... "I do not look down," says Derek. I if I look, I am terrified, but these Buddhists say, to trust in life is to make peace with death.

Finally we are in a meadow full of yaks with lots of peaks and mountains in the background ... I dive into the flock to take photos of these furry and impressive animals. Afterwards we went down to see the settlement and if we are lucky enough and one of these nomadic families invite us to have a tea in the warmth of their home. In the second tent we hear a namaste and invite us to go in, I think them and us curious ... nice exchange. We went into the tent, at the entrance a large mastiff barking, thank goodness that is tied because it has a big mouth ... Over here these great hounds are used as protection... we see them in every monastery ... and every one of these tents also have one... They are tied during the day and release by night to be sentries. There are guts drying in the sun and some meat and a pair of skinned rams hanging on the rough strings supporting the tent ... Passing into the tent what impresses me most is the light that comes filtered through the holes in the yak wool canvas and coming through the roof opening. I was also impressed by the warm feeling of a loving home as I have not felt in no house here, a small stove heats the entire room and heats pots and pans… a woman grinding grain with a stone mill that rotates on the floor and makes a fine flour (do it with a grain of barley and rye, is the basis of their diet, called Tsampa), its sound surround us … and her round and smiling face...

Another woman and a child look at us suspiciously curious and then I have in my hand the dreaded salt and butter tea, I drink with long shots to pass it quickly and I watch my cup because here they have a friendly habit to fill it again as you managed to get a drink. What a relaxed people, the way they are, and what a calm look ... I've loved them. We manage do a mini interview that have been provided with much laughter and tell us a little about their way of life, women are left to care for and work the home and men go out to herd cattle ... live and have lived like this generation after generation. What a good time we have had!!

In the evening I go for a walk in Lo Manthang and ended up sitting down in the square to the sunset chatting with a middle-aged Brazilian, a lone traveller and we have had a nice chat and then I stayed with the ladies that make thread and turn their prayer wheels and I make the latest photos in this colourful town full of friendly people and I must say they have been much more accessible here in the capital than in the other towns where sometimes they insist on ignore me … "no money" "no photo" ... and my the golden rule is that I never pay for a photo. Here I could take pictures and hook up with people naturally, a great pleasure that I usually enjoy very much.

 

Graciela

 
         
 

 
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Day 16:

Farewell to The Manthang

 
         
 

Last morning in our hotel, Iot is a pity because I was beginning to settle down and more or less to feel like home. No more nights in this delightful wonderful bed and covered with my sleeping bag and blankets to overcome the cold nights of the capital. We are also going to loose the connection to the Internet to contact our families and loved ones.

We will not see anymore these people so kind, these monasteries where you felt guarded by the statues or the dogs, the King's Palace where we could go through the prince of the Mustang ... Today, after two days of horse ridding, we turned to walk again with my orange reflective backpack ... again being hard to adjust to this altitude. Although to say the truth we had a very good day today, the sun has been with us almost until 6 pm, somewhat surprising after the cold that we have suffered... it seems that spring is beginning.

We got up early because the road today would last more than five hours until our next destination: Yara. A village built of mud and split into two (bottom and top village where we stayed), with a chorten, a small local college and a teahouse in which they allow tents (the only teahouse there).

At the beginning of the walk we have come a dangerous path where we have faced sloping downhill not so good where I've come to drop to three times but thankfully I'm fine and nothing happened ... I can keep writing this journal. Having overcome these roads we have reached Dri (Dhi) after 4 hours walking. In this town we stopped to eat in a house (Hira Camp), where they have been veryu slow to cook, there was little food supply and the truth, not that it was wonderful. Dri is a very small village and right in front of it, across the river, is another town Sunchar, five minutes distance, with horses and cow, normal here, but with a medical centre, not so normal.

Both villages are by the Kali Gandaki River, which so many times cites Peissel, the river that gives life to the people of Mustang.

After stopping to eat at Dri following the Kali we have walked through a canyon and, frankly, that the ride is amazing and highly recommendable. Then, we have strayed uphill along a path that would lead us to take the turning to Yara, where we are and where I am writing. The fact that this town is a must stop before Lori Gompa. It offers a lot of life and the teahouse is good .. anyway no one else and therefore we must accept it and hopefully tomorrow it will be worth the trip to the monastery of Lori.

See you tomorrow.

                                                                               

Derek

 

This morning we left behind us and in our memories, the capital of Mustang, the capital of the kingdom. We started with a sunny day in great company as a Frenchman and three porters are travelling in the same direction and we decided to share road. Altogether we were a group of nine people, all men except me. I must say that I feel strong and I'm never behind and that so many men together next me sick sometimes.

Today it seems that spring came and wehad a spectacular day, in fact I can say that the sun was warm. At 4,000 meters, it is much closer to us, so a good spirit was in the air and everyone was happy. Great star that warms body and soul! The road has been wonderful with narrow trails through mountains and more mountains, eagles flying over our way and flying back and forth distances that would took us hours… Who had wings!

We headed to the eastern and southern districts of the kingdom, an area on the banks of Kali Gandaki where villages are located between canyons. Again we are surrounded by amazing landscapes ... between high walls and quietness ... we sighted the first village, Dri , built on the banks of Kali, a large expanse of orchards super neat. You can see the village from the top and we went down a hill to the village. We arrived to a house of local food, they leave me in charge of a little girl, just a few months old, to receive the sun coming through the window and get its energy ... reminds me of Noam, my nephew who I miss so much and my soul of auntie Grachi begins to surface, I have wanted to hold him in my arms. After eating, we, of course, chowmein, Chinese spaghetti with vegetables that is becoming the basis of our diet and, the locals, of course, dal bhat, rice with a spicy sauce. We moved back to the afternoon sun toward Yara, our final destination of the day.

We crossed a river with the sun shining and I see a beautiful picture of women washing and children playing with water. The temperature is still warm and the mood of the travellers better than good, laugh and enjoy walking along the bed of the Kali Gandaki and so we will gradually dipping back into deep gorges ... Canyons inhabited by silence and calm and where caves are excavated. No one knows how long ago, and not even knows who made them.

I walk looking at the ground and suddenly I remember, saligrams! And after a while I find a round black stone that moves me like a treasure. As I read, over millions of years all the land through which we walk, the Kali Gandaki, was a great ocean, this is what explains the presence of so many stones with fossils, stones bear a black in spiral, the saligrams. So I am happy with my magic black stone in my hand and we keep on walking through canyons, under the breathtaking evening light and reach our destination, Yara, a small village built of mud and full of shepherds guarding their flocks ... The sun is still shining.

The town lies between two large stone buttresses and after a bucket of warm water that manages a kind of shower I have tea in the sun watching the sunset ... I smoke my first cigarette in 14 days because the altitude here I think now lets me do it. A pleasure, and meanwhile I see in the distance the sun setting behind a large triangular peak. A pyramid that offers a nice view before my eyes ... with so much beauty I feel lucky, I feel happy and full of peace and freedom. I think spring days ahead and I am happiest when the sun shines ...


                                                                                                                    
Graciela.

 
         
 

 
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Day 17:

Visit to Lori GOMPA

 
         
 

Depart from Yara on a spring day, the best ever until today, along the bed of the Kali Gandaki. I feel like being observed from the high caves as quiet walk through the canyon with the river just flowing in the middle. This path has been the end to my trekking pole (now I am using Graciela’s one with her permission) and after two hours of "walk" we have come to Lori Gompa monastery.

It is carved into the rock at 4.005 meters altitude. Lori Gompa is divided into two, the monastery of the rock (the original one) and the monastery near the Kali below 3,800 meters, much more recent. Lori Gompa belongs to the Buddhist Sect of the Dragon Bhutanese-born. This the place where a King of the Loba people married a Bhutanese Princess, hundreds of years ago. In Lori Gompa I found one of the largest and most beautiful chortens I have seen on this trip, or rather I have ever seen. The reddish colour, characteristic of the monasteries, makes it different from the caves nearby and from here you can see amazing sceneries. Peissel already said, from here you can see the Dhaulagiri, with more than 8000 meters, along with the Annapurna the gateway to Mustang, through a canyon that opens the Himalayas. Fortunately I've had the pleasure of being in Lori Gompa at 4005 meters and I can tell you it is true, you can see it, and it's awesome. If any of you have the opportunity and pleasure to come here once, I think you will never forget, neither the monastery nor the mountain.

In the monastery we filmed an interview with Sonam Yeshi Gurung, master of the monastic school, where he has spoken of his homecity Tangye and everything related to the monastery (very interesting). We were also given food, a soup of "noodles" a “little bit” hot.

On the way back we walked more easily through the mountains along the river, not along the river bed, with previous stops in the village of Ghara to enjoy tea and cookies and try the Mustang Cola (much sweeter). All the way and during the time I've been watching the Dhaulagiri, I have been monitored by this gigantic mountain. Right now we are back in Yara. I am basking in the sun until six o’clock when sunset and is the time we get to work with the computer. Working, bring us dinner, and at the end I think I would play a game of dice with the French traveler with whom we have met en route, his Nepali porters, Wangyal, our guide, and Graciela ... but it will not be because there are popular dances prepared by some women.

I must tell you, and I'm sorry to say so, that the dances has not been interesting and even Graciela has escaped to smoking and stargazing. Well, at one point I had to go out dancing and at least I could integrate with tehm a little more but overall has been a little bit "boring". After just over an hour of boredom we go to sleep to rest and go to Tsarang tomorrow morning.

 

                                                                               

Derek

 

Here I am, sitting on a sheepskin on the porch of the teahouse and enjoyed looking at the horizon of the last highlights of the evening sun. The only thing that breaks the silence is the sound of the goatherds that are being collected and the distant voices of children playing…

We've been all day again walking down the canyons along the Kali bed up to Lori Gompa, one of the most beautiful and unique monasteries around Mustang. After three hours on the way, we spotted, excavated in the rock, a beautiful monastery. All surrounded by caves in the middle of one of the great canyon walls. It is a small maze of caves, like a big beehive and within them are small temples. As we passed through the heavy wooden door of one of them we have entered into a cave that holds the most special chorten amongso many I've seen around here, all decorated with delicately painted frescoes. A small window let in a beam of light that illuminated the whole room as if it were unreal.

We've all been half-dumb, like watching a treasure, admiring the beautiful hundreds of years old chorten. The dome of the cave is also painted with beautiful fresh lotus flowers, mandalas and small prints of gods, and a large writing on the wall, a gorgeous mantra "om mane padme om". We made a lap together around the chorten and we left in silence.

Take this opportunity to explain what a Chorten or Stupa is, as we have seen on this trip hundreds everywhere. It is a funerary monument, which in accordance with the tradition derives from the tomb of Buddha. On a red square (representing earth) stands a large white hemisphere (water) with something like a needle (fire) topped by a crescent (air) and a solar disk (space). This type of construction keeps accesses, entrances of towns and villages across the Himalayas. The largest Stupas can hold a room decorated with mandalas and iconographic paintings. Many are raised in honour of a deceased; many of them keep inside their ashes. There are big, small, isolated, in the villages along the way, in the monasteries...

The man, who keeps all the Lori Gompa, lives a little further down, in the most recent monastery. He teaches at the monastic school (seminary) and lives with his only two students and young son. He accepted, very flattered, to do a short interview and told us interesting things about this quiet and remote corner. His calm and sweet look dominated the atmosphere in a room heated by a small stove and in which two beams of light came through the windows of the roof. We return through Gara, another pretty mud village that we have left behind following the path all mottled of brown stained colours and thousands of mountains.

We arrived to Yara. At night all the village women and some men go up here, they want to sing. The party was moving for a while, all the women in the same row with their dresses. Here they are all always dressed in costume, a cross front tunic, and a striped colourful apron that they make with pure wool (striped blankets that we mountaineers use) placed around the kidneys also tied with a striped belt, turquoise adornments and their long black tresses. Very shy, singing old songs and not stop laughing, making noises with mouth and feet. They men took their turn, who are more rude and did go out dancing all the people there. I must be honest, the party was too long for me and in a moment a moment of chaos, all people dancing, I went out, to total darkness, to contemplate the vastness of the sky full of stars that shone plump up on the horizon, I felt tiny and once again, happy ... subaratry!

 


                                                                                                                    
Graciela.

 
         
 

 
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Day 18:

Back in Tsarang

 
         
 

The route today departs from Yara (a must stop on the road to Lori Gompa) to Tsarang. We left early leaving behind one of the most beautiful monasteries in which I have ever been, "LORI GOMPA", a place that has captivated me and, I repeat, if you have ever the pleasure to visit, I'm sure you will be captivated and fascinated as I am.

We walked and walked along the Kali Gandaki and again as other days I feel observed by the red barrel. We continued the march up to a stop where you see only a tent: it is a stop for trucks and tractors (tea stop) that at this time of low water in the river, they travel the path of the Kali river. Probably one day we will take one of these two options and our legs will be thankful. At the stop, it just so happens that we met up with a very nice French travelling alone Patrick, accompanied by his guide and two porters. Today he is going by tractor down to Jomsom and the truth is it was a shame to say goodbye forever to him because we spent a good time together in Lo Mantang and in Yara he was like of the family ... and that we are half his age… but we appreciate him very much and personally the farewell gave me grief.

We started walking again, or rather to go up, to climb, a steep slope of a mountain (no paths or trails) where I slipped and I fell twice, but still, without damage. The truth is that the way up cost me a lot ... but I did it and I can tell thee now.

Trapping and to my surprise, when I enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to have reached the "summit”, right there was our destination today, Tsarang from where I write now. In this town we have stayed at the same hotel as last time, we are showered with cool water, because after a few days so sunny and how hard the way our bodies really need it. We found that this hotel has a terrace (the first time we didn’t realized, it was so cold… it was ... inhuman) where now I take a hot chocolate writing my journal.

Today we entered the Palace (the first time it was not possible), located on a hill opposite the monastery where we have seen and recalled the history of hand ... if you don’t remember ... the builder of the palace monastery… and a hand cut off …so he could not bulit anything like it again. I would highlight the figure of the statue of Ame Pal, the founder of the kingdom, some objects such as weapons, armored mask (like a doll) or the red painted box with two skeletons, which only is opened for Tiji Festival, which this year will be held on 17, 18 and 19 May.

Now working as everyday in the project and tomorrow we will go down in tractor (if we find one) to Chuksang, so readers tomorrow I tell you my experience in this  “transport."

 

 

                                                                               

Derek

 

Spring progresses and the sun still beaming making me forget the extreme cold that we have suffered only a few days ago.
It seems that life has sprung up again between these magical mountains full of gods; everything is full of colour, there is finally a lot more life out there where we pass through.

You see people happier and more active working in the fields, washing in rivers and chatting in the streets. As I have read, the existence of the Lobas (the inhabitants of Lo, Mustang in Tibetan) is divided into three activities. In spring they all work the fields, plough and sow. In summer many abandoned villages and cities to live in tents next to the green spaces where horses, mules, donkeys and goats graze. In winter, when it's too cold to work the soil and feed the cattle, these people, except women and the old ones come to trade their animals travelling to remote areas of Tibet and Nepal.

At the entrance to Tsarang we have seen a colourful group of women gathering a kind of potato root, they say they cook it and use it in casseroles.
Now back to Tsarang I have endeavoured to enter through the front door, to see and photograph a large, colourful Chorten, the make the same photograph our friend Peissel did about 60 years ago.

We visited the Royal Palace, very nice and very old, they proud keep a hand blackened and rare, they say it is the architect’s who built it and the king cut it in order he did not work so well again in any other place in the kingdom.
Tremendous dark story that Derek lived some days ago where they kept the other severed hand of a woman in a monastery where they would not let me in because I am a woman. I did not believe what I told my pal, now I believe him  ... actually lately I'm beginning to believe many things ...

Again in Tsarang, started the way down back, walking in a certain way back home ...

 

 


                                                                                                                    
Graciela.

 
         
 

 
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Day 19:

"Riding the Kali Gandaki in tractor"

 
         
 

We wake up in Tsarang early because people in the next room are so "nice" to speak very loudly. I get to sleep a little bit more and when the alarm was almost going to sound I wake up again and see Graciela standing on the terrace of the hotel. Oh, I had not mentioned, our room is overlooking the terrace and from there we have magnificent views. We greeted each other (like every morning), good morning, the typical hello (good to keep manners between pals) and had breakfast today thinking we can finally do travel on tractor to Chuksang (just in case we prepare the baggage). You may ask, why try to take a tractor and move on. The reason is simple, if you'd walk the way down you’d go through the same towns we visited at the beginning of the trip and going on tractor we will save time and we will have more days for location in Kagbeni, Jomsom and Muktinah.

We are lucky of being in the balcony thinking we'd do or not when we are warn that …yes! Today a tractor will pass Tsarang ("Toad", one of our porters, is the messenger of the good news) and to be frank, to be able to go to Chuksang in tractor makes us very happy.

After a while of waiting we have to take the tractor near our hotel (Maya's Inn). The first half hour, on our first “transport” we have used,  is hell … going down a slope to the bed of the Kali Gandaki, where we stopped about an hour, because a passenger was missing. It was fun and easy and most importantly not so bumping (how naive to think that it would be like this all the way). The last lost Passenger arrives and we set off and here I begin to wonder if I'm living a dream (more like a nightmare) because the tractor makes long traverses from one side to another of Kali, and often goes by the river, and when I say that is on the river did not say go with him, no, but we are going into it ... a unique experience but not at all comfortable.

Despite the bumps, awkward postures, the force used to hang on well and not falling, the tremendous swings of the "box of sardines" where was my companion and the other passengers, and that the experience has been hard and very uncomfortable … I think I'll remember for life.

Honestly, I have not travelled in the trailer, I have been perched on the tractor cab with the driver, with four people (sometimes five), one of them "Toad" (the poor was very seized with fear) We also decided to make the trip in tractor to see if the crew with the filming equipment can use this only available transport... The answer is not, because I think it is almost four hours with huge potholes, actually going on the great stones of the riverbed, pain whole body, exhausted by force to do to hold on and the material would face an unaffordable risk. And no one can guarantee that at another season of year, the now low river will flow with more water and it would be impossible. Many times the water almost entered the trailer and that we're near the end of the dry season.

After going down for hours along the canyon and “surfing” the Kali we have reached Chuksang , where upon arrival I immediately go down the tractor cabin because I could not stand another second there. Apart from the discomfort, I have not been able to enjoy the sound of the river, the wind in the mountains and the birds singing ... due to the hell music that rang in our ears,  so I get down quickly upon arrival. We eat late, we had a good time to recover from this experience, and then ... to work.

PD: It was a surprise to find Chuksang green, full of life. When we first came it was very cold and there was almost no vegetation (and all this has happened in just a couple of weeks)

 

Derek

 

Today I got up early at six am, my eyes were open but we had agreed not wake up until eight ... but I think I have changed my time schedule since I'm here, and I have changed my taste for the night life for the sun life, during the daylight hours, as the people do here, we are in bed before ten o'clock at night every day (there is lack of power during nighttimes) and it costs me nothing to get up at dawn... it is also nice ... there are some who would be very proud of me. I sat down to read and write on the terrace, watching the sun rose behind the mountains and that was gradually illuminating the sleeping town; little by little it has been waking life in the village and my friends too.

After breakfast we only had to look attentive a small path down the mountain from Lo Mantang. Today we expect a tractor that is unclear if he will come, or at what time will come. We decided to go on tractor a day, which we would move, walking three. The walking path to the south is the same along which we went up and would pass by the same villages. There is no alternative route, rather than the riverbed, so we decided to rest a little our bodies and move on the tractor, the only motor vehicle we have been told that can do the going down route. We still have places to kick Mustang below and after 15 days without stopping to walk, everything that means to save uphill is welcome.

When we thought that  today will not be the “tractor day”, appears Manangui, one of our porters, with smiling face and says "jam jam (go go), truck is coming," Derek launches into the air a "yeeees", pure happiness, and we rush to get a place in the tractor. We arrived at the bus stop, say the tractor stop... and among all the hype, tractor doesn’t happens every day, we see that indeed our means of transportation will be a tractor with an iron trailer … yes, this is the vehicle that will transport us to Chuksang. Some are mounted on the tractor cab with the driver, including Derek ... I venture to be towed and sit right next to a local woman who makes me laugh, very old but with a baby face. Soon after starting, with the first bump I almost go out into the air and suddenly I understood the journey we are going to have ... a very moved one,  bumps and more bumps, jumps and more jumps down a path of rocks ... the most terrain route. The first half hour of the journey has been the hardest to bear without doubt, when you debate between whether or not you will survive the big challenge ... Will I vomit? Any vertebra will remain in place? ... questions that keep moving aorund you.

With so many questions I was not realizing what we were doing, but suddenly the face of my local friend, her alarmed face really scared me and I decided to look the way ... we were going down a steep path. The free fall behind every curve to the river bed could be hundreds of meters and seeing this woman's face I realized the seriousness of the matter and even more when she has clung to her rosary and she begun to pass beads and praying mantras as a machine ... somehow those prays as well as alarm me steadily moreover calmed me, knowing that they implore some god  among the y many in these mountains, to protect us in the way ... so ... I will pray too  ... I've said to myself and I've sung the only mantra I know "om mane padme om"!

When we have finished the strong emotions way down, like being mounted on a roller coaster but one you can not lose out , we have ventured into the bed of the Kali. I thought that everything was going to be more monotonous and I would be able to concentrate fully in impossible positions just to get at least one vertebra of my spine surviving ... but then I saw that we literally “sailed” the river water, but in tractor ... I've never tried it or even imagined, but it works ... Well, that was fun for about 10 minutes, the remaining four hours has been intense ... Derek and I looked from afar from time to time but not necessary to say anything ... someone has distributed gum and smiles everywhere among all passengers. And the woman has spent the day holding strong to my knee and smiling at me ... not speaking the same language we supported each other. I must say that I used to enjoy it,  it is important to try to enjoy always experiences.

The road, of course, was very nice, all the time between the canyon walls ...
We are in Chuksang again, it is cool to reach a village and see familiar faces. Now I'm sitting on a rock in the afternoon sun while Derek sleeps the stiffness of the tractor. It is impressive to see how spring has sprung, just twenty days ago when we passed by here there was not a piece of grass or a leaf on the trees. Now everything is filled with color and how beautiful are the shininig green fields

Nothing more… we are coming down, more and more oxygen and everything becomes much easier, even to breathe ...

 

 

Graciela

 
 

 
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Day 20:

"The cherry trees are already blooming"

 
         
 

After what we lived yesterday in the tractor-disco (the truth that nothing funny, just funny at beginning but four hours along the Kali, holding yourself with all your strength, the "fairground attraction" is not funny at all) we got in Chuksang in the same hotel and same room we stayed last time. Breakfast in this hotel, the food is very rich, and marched to the nearby town of Tetang, light, without backpacks.
We have been locating in the monastery, with its characteristic small wooden pillars, we have seen photos of the Dalai Lama, lots of butter lamps at the foot of the pillars and something that has caught much attention to the entrance of the temple: a fox and a snow leopard stuffed ... (very basically, skin stuffed with straw) and already inside the temple a ball with the colours of Italy, yes, I admit! I love football.

From Tetang monastery we see small and inaccessible caves and why this town is known for its rich horticulture. After finishing our film location we return to Chuksang, where we again take our luggage and we set off towards Kagbeni.

What to say about today … the truth is that now that I am in Kagbrni I'm glad I could get here. We have made a tremendous effort due to strong winds and the "great experience" crossing the Kali Gandaki barefoot ... what a pain in the legs with cold ice water and the stones nailing in the feet … and the river in some sections just was not going slowly. We have been praying for not falling and to save the camera and computer ... with our pants rolled up completely.

In short, it was hard, first at all because I did not expect, second because the water was freezing, third because somewhere the current was very strong, fourth because I have changed my mood for a while because I had not imagined I would happen by this dangerous situation.

After this experience, gradually approaching Kagbeni my bad mood is gone from me, but the wind blew and blew very strong against us till the village entrance itself and we ran to take refuge in the Hotel Annapurna, Norbu’s  (friend of Larry), Hotel, the leading actor in the movie, "Kathmandu Lullaby", if you have not seen yet I recommend (better seen in the original English version). A beautiful movie that treats very well the subject of how difficult it is education in a country like Nepal.

Norbu is not at the hotel, a pity not to meet him ... maybe tomorrow will be possible, but even he is not here we stayed at his hotel and what a blast!  The first hotel in the Kingdom of Mustang that we have our own bathroom ... with toilet, shower, mirror and sink, a luxury compared with we have been staying so far. We shower ... I shave!, I'm a bit on the Internet in the great hall, and then work in the documentary.

PS: I strongly recommend you not bathe in the Kali Gandaki ... at least with so much wind.

 

       

Derek

 

I start my day with a routine that makes my heart happy, with greetings. I have left few hundred namastes in these mountains during these days ... how many namastes and respectful looks I address and receive every day. Today the former was a little girl with pigtails and a big smile. She clasps her hands and we exchanged a namasteeeé, her whistle a little voice. Later I meet with a deep orange butterfly fluttering around me long time ... now, smiling, I feel that has already begun the day, I can start the every day’s four or five hours walk...

Spring is blooming up in every sense, even within me. I am happy with joy and so much beauty and colour around me... and especially this warmth gives me life again. Everything looks dyed with the colour of pink cherry blossoms and the deep green of the fields and fields that are well ordered in terraces ... how nice!
Today we reached Kagbeni, the first village we arrived at the beginning of our trip, and although the path has been tough, you get a good rewarded with a shower, I repeat, a real shower of medium hot water. When you descend from the highest mountains and the hard life that there is customary, simple things like shower or watch a sink, excite yourself. We learn to appreciate the small pleasures and conveniences in our world, granted in our day to day.

The path today was going down along the stream of Kali, the Kali Gandaki, our partner in this journey. Yesterday I read that Kali is not a single river, has great importance, also houses the famous magic stones, it is said forms below the deepest canyon in the world, even deeper than that of Colorado). It was a nice way, until 12 am when it has become a bit harder because of the wind, a great travelling companion too, and that has begun to blow up front furiously. We walked five in silence, with the light of dusk, trying to move with difficulty against the wind. At one point we had to cross the river three or four times, barefoot and with the great sensitivity that gives you cold in the feet, … it hurts when stepped on sharp stones... with water above the knees and the fear of not fall, not worried about me but about the camera. Wangyal and the porters encouraged me at the other riverbank ... Derek cursing from behind.

At 3,000 m you can breathe much better and I think we all feel a little closer to home, a little closer to the embraces of people who you yearn when you are as far and in such a solitary confinement. I feel that the journey begins to be the returning one; I feel that we will be back within days from a lost kingdom with a thousand stories to tell about an amazing culture and travel. At least for me and certainly for Derek too, will be unforgettable. I feel very fortunate to be able to make this trip, which also has been a working trip. I'm happy to have walked these magical mountains and having breathed this air so pure. I feel that I come down energetic, filed with the things I learned and with calm.

 

  

 

Graciela

 
 

 
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Day 21:

Kagbeni and Norbu’s hotel

 
         
 

We got up in Kagbeni like kings at Norbu’s Hotel after spending the best night and sleep all great, no cold, in very comfortable beds with lovely views to the Kali Gandaki canyon, with private bathroom where we shower yesterday , where today I could wash my face without having to ask for a bucket of water and even with hot water…  just because readers we have a bathroom (a luxury and the first just for ourselves).

Today we needed to rest and, therefore, we got up a little later than usual (8:00 am), breakfast quietly and we use this day to work in the large hall of the hotel knowing that as we said yesterday, secure Internet will be available from 10 am. This is sorely needed, it is for us a basic working tool, to hang pictures on Dropbox, Send the journals ... and also for personal use (yes, I admit, I spent some time reading sport newspapers and building up my team in Yahoo's Super League). I realize that a service we are so used to not exist in many parts of the world ... and we should appreciate it for what it is, a luxury ... waiting for it to come ... now!

After breakfast and when we are waiting for Internet, appears a Nepali man accompanying an American tourist. Graciela and I do not stop looking at him for one minute, they wonder whether the Internet works, and we keep looking at him saying "this guy is familiar to us" and suddenly I realize that looks like Norbu, asked him and yes! he is. I am glad to have the luck to meet the actor in the movie "Kathmandu Lullaby" and ... the owner of this hotel (Hotel Annapurna). We chatted with him, and of course, as with any "big film star", we make some pictures with him. Later he leaves for a tour of the village (Norbu return later) while we work.

I try the lights of the hall and the room and ... great! There is electricity (not goes and if it goes come back soon), so if we don’t have any unexpected problem, we will be able to charge batteries.

To work with these scenery views to the green fields (not like the first time when it was very, very windy and snowing) motivates you even more and I think these mountains will always have a soft and nice spot in my heart, well ... the mountains and the travel itself.

The day continues, the waters of Kali seems quieter than other days, on the day of the tractor or yesterday, and while the wind blows, I work and work without stop hanging pictures while enjoying the beautiful landscape. We eat, and for a second day, such as meat (I had not eaten any meat all along the trip). Yesterday, I tried yak meat for dinner, very good but a bit dry and now I have dared to try the "Annapurna steak" served with rice and vegetables. We accompanied him with a potato salad and the truth that today I feel like I've eaten at home ...
all  was delicious. Once we have eaten, we connected via Skype and maintain a conversation with the office in Madrid. After we managed to send all photos to the server.

Then a little bit of Internet for personal use, Journals, more work, some other Skype and at 5 pm conducted an interview with Norbu, who speaks of Kagbeni, Mustang weddings, personal experience and how they have been losing the custom that a woman marries several brothers. It tells us that at least 18 or 20 years ago that it has not seen, that there may be some exceptions but it is now very rare. He talks about the funeral rites, his hotel, ...

Now, back to work in the travel notes, in the Journals, to dinner, read for a while and sleep that morning we leave for Muktinah, where the large sanctuary.

 

Derek

 

Today I slept better than ever in the whole trip. We have wake up as if in a five star hotel. We decided to stay another day here, to put lots of work a day, and also as there is Internet, which comes and goes, but at least it is there, we will use it to send lots of work material to Spain. So all morning I've been selecting and organizing the thousands of images captured during the trip and with the help of Derek, selecting some for transmission by Dropbox and so they can receive in Spain and hang them on the web. We are very comfortable, have become a parlour glass office by entering the sun with a breathtaking view of the Kali and the snowy mountains ... more a dream than an office.

Working hard and very productively, that’s good. We've also been talking on Skype with the office and give them news. They have given us much encouragement and congratulated because they are happy with the work we are doing and what we're sending. I have also Skype with family and I loved seeing them grow and see how it goes my nephew. I have wanted to hug them. We have met Norbu, he has suddenly appeared and the case is that we have been both looking at him, his face ... ha ha we sounded, of course, one of the protagonists of the film "Kathmandu Lullaby." We have been able to interview him where we talked a little bit of everything there, it is amazing to see how shy he is to have made an important role in the film, it was very endearing.

 

 

Graciela

 
 

 
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Day 22:

Muktinah: "water, earth, fire, air..."

 
         
 

In Kagbeni we already begin to see more people and even some tourists, but here in Muktinah I realize that we are in a destination, which despite being in a remote location, it is quite touristy: stalls, hotels, shops, ... It recalls to some extent to Pokhara, but that does not diminish its charm.

Our road today was simple but tough because we've been up almost all the way (once we have done so a bit of climbing). Beautiful views have accompanied us all the time. It has taken us to our destination: Muktinah, about 4 hours. We've been through Khinga a very small town where I bought a bottle of water, not only because scarce and need to drink much, but because I bought it at a restaurant with a name that calls my attention: Romeo and Juliet.

We passec thorugh Khinga and very close to it and we set aside Putak, we walk and walk and when we had 3 hours of journey we arrive at Jarkhot, a village in a wonderful location, perched on a peak from which you can see the whole valley. Jarkot is known for his old fort and its Buddhist monastery (Sakya's Monastery) that is 550 years old. It is under refurbishment, with a colourful entrance and where I stand on the left side because I have drawn attention to frescoes with various gods on a panda, a dog and a tiger. The red walls of the monastery can be seen from afar. Look closely their prayer wheels and we looked to his monastic school.

Having seen the monastery, the old fort and the village (tomorrow we will sleep here) we have eaten at the Hotel Plaza, on a terrace, a true luxury, we have eaten very well, with quality food. I recommend without any doubt, ask for the lamb burger, it is delicious.

After lunch we marched to Muktinah, just an hour away. I'm surprised to walk the road and find banks for people to rest or enjoy the view and we sat down in one of them to rest awhile. We continued on our way up to Muktinah, where our guide wants to stay at the Royal Mustang Hotel, talk to him and decided to go to Bob Marley Hotel, which looks good and Graciela was also there last year with a friend and she really was excited to return. It has advantages over the other hotel but I am somehow in a bad mood because after the trek I had wanted to give me a hot shower and the shower here is not working ... anyway I change my clothes because my body needs to do it.

Already checked in the Bob Marley Hotel, we went to the Temple of Muktinah, of Hindu origin, a short distance but hard because there is hard climb up. We are seeing trees and shrubs with offerings. A white wall surrounds the temple -temples- and we see some sadhus, and prayer wheels and bells at the entrance of each temple. The bells are engraved with the names of the parents and / or grandparents imploring the gods to protect them. In Muktinah we see several temples, all of them beautiful, and they have captivated me. I stressed Shamba Gompa and Dholamebar Gompa. In the first we cannot stop talking to the Shamba Lama and to admire its frescoes and a beautiful and colorful door with a demon that protects the site...
Between these two temple-monasteries we found are the central temple with many bells, candles burned black as coal and outside near the entrance two ponds surrounded by 112 water jets emerging from cow-headed sources where Hindu pilgrims are soaked with water coming from the jets (have to go through all of them) or bathe in the pools, taking holy water that cleans their karma.

Then we have gone to the second monastery, which led to the sanctity of this place with two flames sprouting from the earth and never been off.

We finished touring the Muktinah campus and return to hotel. Radically changing the subject: I'm not very happy today, I am not in a good mood because I can not shower and I feel dirty (came with the idea of doing it and here there are places where you can shower) but at least Graciela told me that in this little hotel they made ​​delicious pizzas, so I feel compelled to tell her that after I'll try one.

I thought that today I would tell you not nothing more but something wonderful happened, I went upstairs to the bathroom, I'm back to try the shower and to my surprise came out very hot water so quickly I get into the shower and enjoy it ... in the end things have gone well and we deserved this shower. And in high spirits dined and chatted with a Swedish couple we had met and with other Spanish "bikers" that they had heard our language and told us they were going to have a beer in our hotel.

Now do I leave with good humour, clean and happy 

 
Derek

PD: Today I learned how a simple hot shower could change your mood completely.

 

 

Last night I enjoyed a nice bedtime reading, which I share, "... The Buddhist belief claim that, man is made of fire, earth, air and wind. A man is hot, it is the fire you have. If you scratch the skin, then turns white because you take the land in it. The water you see when you spit and the wind are inside the lungs. Tibetans believe that air and spirit are one, like the Greeks who called soul to the wind ... "

Today we left early towards Muktinath, the same place just a little less than a year I finish my high-trek circuit around the Annapurnas. Today as I walked over walked paths I remembered with joy and longing much to my loyal and crazy traveling companions, my Martha, Lorea and Jai.
Today the road was all uphill, but it comforts me to think that what goes up, afterwards goes down, and from here to reach Jomsom in a few days everything will be downhill. On the way we stopped to eat at Jarkot and so we could visit the monastery, with works on progress, I liked it and what most caught my attention and my camera have been the frescoes in the entrance. A large painting of the guardians of the temples, which we saw in the countless monasteries we visited.
These are the guardians of the four cardinal directions, fierce gods who guard the entrance of almost all the monasteries. And painted with great detail and bright colours, the famous wheel of existence, the wheel of life, a record that Mara the god of death claims with their feet and mouths. The wheel represents different hells, the six areas in which the living being after death is reborn within the meaning of their deeds in life. The wheel is a continuum whose only escape from suffering is nirvana. The origin is in the central medallion of the wheel where you see a bird, a pig and a snake, symbol of passion, ignorance and anger. It is also present in almost all the monasteries.

Today the day has been a temples day and we have finished in the evening, arriving to our destination: Muktinath, taking a leisurely stroll to visit the most important shrine in the area, which, believe it or not I could not visit last year. I found it a very interesting place, full of beautiful trails around between trees. It is a sprawling complex that houses various temples. The set is a sanctuary of great devotion to both Buddhist and Hindus. The sanctuary was formed around three great miracles: a burning stone, a fountain of flames emerging and a glowing piece of land. They have been burning for centuries and even today the fact is scientifically explained due to methane emissions, for thousands of years have given magic to this place that has raised the devotion of generations. There are 112 sources that say that whoever gets wet under them, completely clean your karma for a long time. So lively it was all full of Hindu cleaning their karma. We have seen lots of pilgrims from India and I was powerfully reminded of this crazy country and its intensity that I like so much.

The entry was full of sadhus, and I was impressed to see a fight between couples of them. I had never seen any of these holy men well out of his mind. Now I'm in the Bob Marley Hotel, listening reggae and remembering good old times ... I'm transported to a very intense trip and when I got off the Torong Pass with my feelings to surface, I miss these crazy girls and the laughter that we have on so nice experience. We dined in luxury, I remember they made a delicious meal and so it has been, then we've been chatting with a Swedish couple we met in the afternoon and have come to visit us and also appeared a couple of Spanish and we have cast the night talking and sharing travel experiences, pleasant time, always cool to share with people.

Tomorrow we will locate the villages around this suggestive area.
Subaratry!

                                                                                  

Graciela

 
 

 
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Day 23:

The Muktinah surroundings

 
         
 

Overnight in Muktinah at the Bob Marley Hotel, where Graciela stayed in 2011 (Year of Tourism in Nepal) and where the food is delicious (I recommend their pizzas and risotto).

Before going to bed and go out for a while - I promise - I see a fox in the nearby. The night does not seem very cold and I dare to sleep for the first time without my sleeping bag and the truth is that although I have not been too cold ... it was a bit, so I think I'm not going to play again with the health.

Like every day I spend a while to pick up luggage and breakfast before starting. Yesterday we were at the Shrine of Muktinah, today we're going to Tsechen Cheling Kunga, a monastery in the city, near the Caravan Hotel, walled, with its prayer wheels, there are a few notable statues, and especially a good light entering into the monastery because of the presence of more windows than usual, so you can enjoy the beautiful frescoes. As I do many days I stop at someone in particular. I like one where you see a monster, a cross between an elephant and dragon with monks above and one with a dinosaur or a fresco of several men holding some blue-colour elephants. Even the sutras, prayer books of the monks...

After this monastery, we start the way from Muktinah to Jhong seeing two monasteries, very new, recently built ... between the two we have been through the village of Chyokshar (in which we see nothing interesting) ... we walked along a path by a creek ... a nice trek. The second monastery is notable for its large white stupa where up in the centre stands a golden statue, it has a garden that I liked and I was impressed by the presence of pine trees... the smell reminded me of Spain. From there a beautiful view of the mountain circus surrounding Muktinah, and inside, tormas (Figures elaborated with butter), statues and pillars painted in red, flower-shaped candles and green leaves, pictures of the Dalai Lama...

We left and continued walking along the creek. The sound of water, the sound of nature, pleases me so quiet and we walked for about five minutes until I hear Graciela cries of pain and I think or she has dropped down or a branch has stuck her... but... a small black beetle in the eye ... I see it and then bag it off and she put a few drops in her eye which fortunately we had to hand.

For a while we walk with Graciela sore and worried that the bug could have released something poisonous ... we passed the village of Chungkhar, small town walled labyrinth, with cattle, with two chortens by the stream...

After passing through this village, walk uphill to Jhong, where we see the ruins that remain of what was once a fort, some prayer wheels and with them some gems “pyramidal fossil " like and also with these prayer wheels are a much larger wooden one, very nice, accompanied by three frescoes (Buddha, and Padmasambhava and Chentresi).

We climbed another hill and arrived at "Sakya Ling Choepel Shedup Choede Dzong", XV century monastery. As in all monasteries there are plenty of prayer wheels ... also has beautiful views of snow-capped mountains surrounding the valley ... we see two monks and unfortunately not grant us an interview ... we see more and more frescoes, interestingly in the area of Muktinah is required to remove our shoes to enter in the monasteries, as I have done many times before in my life, in India or Tibet, ... but not on this trip around Mustang.

After visiting the monastery we went down again by the stream, we passed a steel bridge, to climb back up the mountain along a path not too difficult but a tirying one to arrive to Jarkhot, where now we sleep at the Hotel Plaza, where we ate yesterday and has nice rooms.

Now to rest and work in glory in the hotel dining room... we are a long time until our guide arrives and suggests it would be good to go now to the monastery because he believes that now is open and we can lose our moment of glory if we are not going; collect in a hurry and took all our stuff into the room.
Upon arrival at the monastery we see ... again is closed ... walk around and continue working as if that ride did not exist ... it will be tomorrow morning when they probably open ... maybe we'll try once again.

And so the travel will finish tomorrow … arriving Jomsom and then back by plane to Kathmandu …

Find you again during the filming

Best regards to everyone. 

 

         

 

Derek

 

Today was the first day I sleep without my sleeping bag during the whole trip, I was so tired I wrapped myself to read between two blankets and fell asleep. I dreamed a lot, travel within travel ... here I dream every night. It was hard getting up on the Ring ring ring from the alarm clock, every day it is  a little bit harder, fatigue accumulates and the body suffers ... after 22 days non-stop route and working without stop.

Today we are preparing to visit the villages in the valleys of this area, many small villages and monasteries of new construction. The walk was pleasant along valleys of lush vegetation, and the smell reminds me of my land and I get a strange feeling ... I smile. We passed small villages of stone and adobe houses, pretty villages nestled between valleys and streams. Each building is topped with prayer flags, so you can see lots of flying in the sky white flags, waving in the air, silhouetted against a blue sky and snowy mountains.

In all the many monasteries that have happened today, they have given me permission to take photographs, which has not happened everywhere. So quiet I stopped in each of them, waiting until my pals have finished to see and go out in order to stay alone with the silence and calm and the gods, full of light and beauty where everything seems to be ready in a special way and everything is beautiful to photograph. I've done a lot of detail photos of brilliant fresco paintings and stills of objects that seemed ready to paint a picture. I enjoyed finding myself alone in these rooms where you can breathe something special, very calm and silent echo, me and my camera, looking for pictures ... I was in absolute peace.
I found a special place the last of the three we have visited, the monastery of Jhong. It is looked after by two old monks and two little kids who have served us tea timidly. A yard cared with endearment, with wooden tables, like of an old school. Sipping sweetened tea, I noticed a long time one of the monks … he loos like Vegeta the character from Dragon Ball, lovingly watering his flowers and a mini orchard, there was something in that man, in his look and gesture, a quiet man with a calm looking over the mountainous horizon, moving slowly and contemplatively, I was captivated when he was silhouetted in the background of the massive pyramid of Dhaulagiri, I would have stayed there all morning watching.

We keep going by a creek that gives us a sound of peace and in the fields we can see plenty of orange-billed crows digging in the fields, they would need a good scarecrow, and as we came out they were flying in flock. I move ahead, this great big hill began to be too long and decide to end it soon. So I walk alone in the village, leaving others with slower pace. Glad to arrive, I notice a strong aroma and a good perfume … is a woman who crushed roots and pine needles in a large mortar and sieved it , doing local incense. What a pleasant  welcome.
Now back in Jarkot, quiet read on the terrace in the sun, I'm comfortable and the peaks are stained with the color of sunset.

Tomorrow we will go down to Jomsom, the end of our route. I feel that  I could not walk nor even one more day, but partly I feel a sense of sorry, that it is going to be the last day of nomadism, of investigating every corner of this land on foot, I deeply feel I  will miss to walg free in the immensity of these mountains, visiting remote monasteries and moving between smiles and namastes. Will miss sharing the path with our team, these three lobasthat are always laughing even when we go uphill and with whom we are like a great family and shared great moments and beautiful scenery during these  days.

NAMASiamgoingtohaveaTEA

 

Graciela

 
 

 
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