Lungden -> Namche Bazaar – downhill through villages

17. + 18. April 2024




Surprise! All white in the morning! Even if it wasn’t the highest night of the tour, it was still my coldest. The room felt like a freezer. Luckily there were thick blankets so I didn’t freeze underneath, but sometimes I had to get out….


I got dressed warmly in the morning and set off after breakfast – as always, the best time of the day. We headed down the valley, passing several villages that were not entirely dedicated to tourism. There used to be a lot of trade with Tibet in this region, but this came to an end when the border was closed in 1959. Mountain tourism then took its place. Instead of trading, the men went up into the mountains as porters/guides/vertebrate helpers. The land/livestock farming had never yielded enough for the families to live comfortably, additional income was still needed.







I have no idea why Tenji pulled the protective cover over his backpack that day. In the meantime, he had taken a great liking to the sticks and was happily walking around with them. The sun quickly melted the snow. The fields were still not green.










People jumped past us, came towards us and yak caravans were also on the move. But everything was on a very manageable scale. And people went about their business in the villages.












I was very tired that day due to all the sleeplessness and dozed off for an hour after lunch. We reached our destination for the day, Thame, just as the clouds were breaking again and so went straight back to sleep in my warmer room.








If you go the other way round, you definitely use Thame for 2 nights to acclimatise (it’s at 3,800 m). I had also considered spending 2 nights here, it was very pretty and it was nice to walk around. But my health was still not really good and so I decided to head back down. The fact that trees were suddenly growing here again after the barren period was remarkable and I found them really beautiful. In this accommodation was an Indian who worked for Emirates and had been living in Dubai for a long time, where there had just been a lot of rain. He was the one with the “me-time”. Previously he had been on Kilimanjaro, now he was planning to do the 3 passes including Everest Base Camp. And then he would dream of standing on Everest himself one day. But why, it’s so crowded there – I interjected. It’s just the highest! That’s why! That’s how it is with mountain/summit tourism….


So Tenji and I made our way further down the following day.




I first had to take some nice photos of the trees. And then, high above Thame, there is a great monastery on the mountainside. Unfortunately, I didn’t visit it.


17 (monastery to the right)






Tenji had already warned me that there was another bridge. But he seemed so unconcerned. When I saw the bridge, I had a small physical fear reaction – but the second look revealed a second bridge – fixed, further down, much shorter – which I could also walk across. I don’t know why they built the new bridge in the first place. I was even able to stop and take a photo of the gorge.




20 – Variation




Nepal has a national bird, the monal/pheasant. There were several to be seen here, but of course my camera wasn’t good enough for an impressive picture. So it is now a monal search picture:




I had found an alternative path to the dreaded Hillary Bridge on the map, but we were strongly advised not to take it: very long, in poor, unused condition, many metres up and 1,800 very steep metres down again at the end. I could see the start of the path on the opposite side of the valley:




Apart from that, the villages were closer and closer together. They no longer had these large fields, there were pubs and lodges, but also many normal houses. Here are some pictures:














The number of rhododendrons and other flowering trees increased again:








And then the weather changed again and everything was cloudy.




In the lunch restaurant, a woman complained that the humid air was causing her asthma such stress on the way up. Two small groups went back and forth about which route to take. They came from below and were a little unhappy because there had probably been no sun here for the last few days. The flights had also been cancelled. The guide of one group was a bit ill, but didn’t want to admit it. In addition, he was probably not so good at English and not very communicative, so this group borrowed the guide from the other group for counselling. It was then stated that the “small pot” sizes of the two tea thermos flasks were quite different. The asthma woman kept talking about her asthma stress. Her porter showed how much he understood English and talked about his life as a porter. And then they all left and I went with Tenji to Namche Bazaar. People were building at a helipad there. And Tenji took another nice picture of the two of us.






I was the only guest at the lodge. I was served some lovely composed rösti with cheese.






And then I had my finest hour at Tiktok. The landlady had a great passion for making Tiktok videos with her guests. Music was playing, she was beaming into the camera, moving her lips and I was sitting next to her, making dance movements with my arms and a happy face. Unfortunately, I have no idea where this video can be found.


It was no longer cold at night and I could cough vigorously without feeling guilty, as there was nobody around. But I couldn’t sleep so well because the next day the nasty panic attack bridge was waiting for me. We had come up with a strategy…..