Here are the highlights from the Annapurna Circuit Trek:
1. Tea houses and amazing food: In Nepal, there is a saying: Dal Bhaat Power 24 hours. Which the trekkers love. From Apple pies to Momos to Thukpas, the food has been wonderful. I have stuffed myself with all sorts of food: Apple pies, Pizzas, Swiss Rostis, Noodle Soups etc. The tea houses built on the mountains are just wonderful. It would have been a herculean effort to built these places.
2. The people of Nepal are wonderful. They came across as kind, humble and very hospitable. We met so many people along the way and everyone greeted us with Namaste. It was very adorable seeing the kids smiling and folding their hands in the namaste. Life is tough here. Toursim has taken a hit. The earthquake in 2015 hasn’t helped either. But the locals have a way of laughing and smiling that somehow inspires you to just live in the moment and not worry about the future. But we do know that life is going to get a whole lot tougher for these folks as tourism dries up.
3. Dogs and a lot of dogs: I love dogs. And there are so many in Nepal. Most of the dogs are adorable and friendly. And they look out for you. After we had to trek through heavy snow from Danaque to Chame, we had four dogs follow us to make sure we reached the next village safely. It also happened on the last day. We had a dog follow us though we think it was using us as a cover to flirt with other dogs in the villages 😂 Best dogs I have met: German Shepards in Manang. Just the most beautiful dogs. I would love to have one. Not sure how that would work in London. Maybe I should move 😉
4. On Day 1, I met Elize, a fellow trekker from France in Bhulbhule and we decided to trek together (it is never a good idea to trek alone in the high mountains). We went through the rain, ice, snow, high winds, slips, falls and a lot more. On the way from Thorong Pedi to High Camp, I carried her bags for half the distance and then she helped me when I suffered from stomach problems at the pass. I owe the trek to her and to many of the fellow trekkers who helped each other through the journey. The community matters.
5. I carried one additional bag for about 20 mins. The porters carry upto 40 kgs for the whole trek. I heard in Everest, it is much more. I have so much respect for the porters. How do they do it? Same for the guides who do these treks five to ten times a year.
6. For the first time, I carried my bags through the trek without any porters and guides. It was exhausting but worth the pain.
7. I found the trek hard. Especially at the pass. I have already highlighted that. On the last two days, from Tatopani to Gharopani and then to Naya Pul, we had to go up 1800m and then down the same almost all in steps. It was really hard.
8. I loved being in the mountains and in nature. It makes you feel alive. And it is the best feeling in the world when you breathe fresh air and see such beauty every day.