Namaste Nepal!

They say you go to Nepal for the mountains, but come back for the people. I agree. My first trip to Nepal was a couple of weeks ago. Such a beautifull, interesting and exotic country. The trekking was really beautiful, but what will really stick with me for ever is the people. All the namaste's when meeting people up in the mountains, the smiles, the attitude. 

I spent two weeks in Nepal, an organized trip with Norwegian Ethical Travel Portal and Nepal based Socialtours. It was a combined yoga and hiking trip with some extra time in Kathmandu. I attended the first ever Yoga in the Mountains Festival in Kathmandu and then did yoga outdoors twice a day during the trek - perfect combination!

Swoyambhu

Swoyambhu

 

Here is a summary of my Nepal trip:

Kathmandu and Pokhara

All together I spent about three days in the city of Kathmandu. A very interesting, vibrating and dusty.... city. So much colors, people everywhere, bicycling around with their fruit to sell or whatever big boxes of other stuff to deliver. And off course all the stuff you can buy. From very much fake North Face and trekking guides on every corner to some pretty nice stuff. And the sellers aren't very pushy, that's a good thing about Nepal!

The dust and the traffic was the down side. One full day in the busy district of Thamel was enough, there is so much dust and so much traffic to look out for that you really feel for some calm afterwards. But there is definitely stuff to like around Kathamndu. Like The Garden of Dreams. A quiet  beautiful park just a door step away from the busy shoppings streets of Thamel. And Karma coffee and the yoga studio Pranayama in the same very cool building. And off course Swoyambhu - or the Monkey Temple. Beautiful views over the city and an interesting spot!

I also spent half a day in Pokhara. Wouldn't mind spending more! A beautiful little city by the riverside. Nice shops, less fake stuff and a very festive feeling to it all. This is the backpacker spot, where most trekkers go by and it shows. 

Pokhara

Pokhara

 

The trek

We did a six day trek in the area of Annapurna, but we did not trek the circuit as many do. Our trail was a eco trail, very quiet and nice. Actually we only met a handful of other trekkers on our way. Our goal was Mohare Danda 3320 masl. We started in Galeswhor and hiked to Bas Kharka the first day, where we stayed at a beautiful home stay. The next day we hiked to Nagi and the third day we hiked from Nagi to Mohare Danda, surprised by a very nice noudle soup lunch in the middle of nowhere. 

As Mohare Danda was our goal, a beautiful mountain!, we stayed there for a day. But eager trekkers as our group was, we spent 4 hour of our 'day off' to hike over to the more known Poon Hill. Also a very nice place! The next two days we went down, first from Mohare Danda to the very beautiful village Shikha. And then on the last day to Tatopani, a place with the most beautiful mountain view!

Shikha

Shikha

 

What I liked most about our trek was meeting the people who lived up there in the mountains on our way, so friendly and so interesting to see how they lived. And a bit sad, many people are poor and you can see it. But yet they seem happy. And they had wifi! I like the way they live up there, like in another century, but they still watch the same stuff as us on Youtube and connect with the world. 

The whole sherpa culture was also very interesting. Our sherpas was local young boys who did this as a summer job. Together with our guides they was like a second hand to the people who ran the places we slept or where we stopped for lunch. They helped out making the food and they served us the food. It was a good experience with people happy to have this job. 

Mohare Danda

Mohare Danda

 

I really liked hiking in Nepal, but because of the weather, a bit foggy and cloudy we didn't see as much of the impressive mountains as we hoped for. It didn't bother me that much, but to be on the safer side for the mountain views, autumn is a better timing. But it comes with more people off course. Being able to trek almost on our own was something I really appreciated!

 

Namaste Nepal - thank you for showing me your country, your mountains and all your friendly people! Thank you for all the nice talks and the company Katja, Arne, Betina, Silje, Stein Michael, Hildegunn and Anette. Thank you Linda, Ray, Jangbu (and team) for showing us Nepal! And thank you Camilla for beautiful yoga sessions - under the sky (not the roof) and in a sky!

Poon Hill

Poon Hill

 

 

 

Gaustatoppen, Norway - the lazy way

They say you can see 1/6 of Norway from mnt. Gaustatoppen (1883 masl) in Telemark. There is no way I can verify this, but I can promise you that the view is really great and it does feel like you se at least a very big part of Norway. 

Normally people hike to Gaustatoppen, or go ski touring. It's a challenging hike, but if you are used to hiking, hit it. Just remember it's Norway - bring clothes for all weather seasons. More about the hike. But there is an easy way up, a cable car. We chose that way this time (let's call it research for the ski touring season;-).

You can take a cable car inside the mountain all the way to the top. It takes you 15 minutes, avoid it if you are claustrophobic, if not it's great. Or you can take it one way. Read more about it. We took it both ways.

As said, the view is really really nice and if you are in the area Gaustatoppen should be on your to do list for Norway. I'm looking forward to skiing it this winter!

Me and 1/6 of Norway. (Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

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The mountains are calling and I must go

The mountains are calling and I must go is a quote by John Muir, one of America’s most famous and influential outdoor enthusiasts. I often feel just that. The urge to be outdoors, in one with nature. It doesn't have to be the mountains (even though I love them very much!). Things like kayaking, hiking in the woods, skiing hills or just sitting in a park - they all give me bliss, energy and joy.

I grew up in Urke, surrounded by the Norwegian alps (Sunnmørsalpene) reflected in the fjord (Hjørundfjorden). Time was spent outdoors, in the weekends we hiked. Some of it I enjoyed, some of it not. As children do. I actually had to grow up, to move away to understand how much I loved it. Today I will hike in Oslo, I'll start outside of my apartment, hike to lake Nøklevann, 2-3 hours. It doesn't have to be more. This weekend we will hike in Hemsedal, a few weekends ago we hiked a real mountain - Besseggen and camped by the lake. During the winter we went skiing every possible weekend. That's the life I like!

Travelling gives me great pleasure, but I have realized that being in the nature gives me just as much and I often seek outdoor activities on my travels. Living in Norway gives so many opportunities. My goal is that every possible weekend is about doing some kind of outdoor activity. At the moment it is. That makes me very happy.

I have a tent, skiing equipment, outdoor clothes and I own half of a kayak and a bike. It helps to have stuff you need but it's just as much about seeking the nature experiences, feeling the joy of it. Buy stuff to use it, not because you think about using it. Don't make it to complicated. Define your own adventures. Be outdoors, seek the green spots, the woods, the hills, the mountains.

The mountains are calling if you are listening.

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Hiking Besseggen, Norway - a unique scenery

This weekends escape was to the area of Jotunheimen, to hike over Besseggen ridge. The scenery is unique and hard to compare with other mountain hikes I have done. The views are amazing. I loved it.

Besseggen ridge is also one of Norways most popular mountain hikes, so you won't stroll on your own. But I didn't mind, it was still worth it and more! The night before our hike we camped by lake Gjende, also very recommended if you are in the area.

Worth knowing before hiking Besseggen

  • You need to be fit. The hike takes about 6-8 hours + breaks with net 900 meters elevation gain/loss. And you should have some hiking experience. Parts of the hike is rough, you need to use your hands and shouldn't be too afraid of hights. But it's not an extremely hard walk, so if you are normally fit and have done some hiking earlier - go for it. 
  • Start early, I recommend to start from Memburu and walk to Gjendesheim. That way you walk up the steepest part with plenty of air on both sides. It's way less scary than walking down. You can stay at Memburu lodge or camp. If you camp you can send your luggage with the boat to Gjendesheim and pick it up when you get there. Or you can stay at Gjendesheim lodge or camp by Gjende llke we did. Then you take the boat to Memburu the day of your hike. Make sure you catch one of the earlier boats and take your place in the line about 30 minutes before departure to secure your place.
  • Pack good clothing and enough food and water. We had all kinds of weather from sun to heavy wind and sideways rain in the middle of July.
  • Bring you camera and make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy the views!

Some picture from our camp/hike. 

The famous view

The famous view

My man taking photos 

My man taking photos 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Met Rudolf

Met Rudolf

Our camp

Our camp

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen