It all started so well. Up bright and early. Arrived at the airport at 6.30 am.
Went through security and immigration with no hiccups. Our flight was due out at 9am.
Just as we were expecting a gate number we were told we were delayed for an hour – due to fuel.
This seems to have dogged us all this trip! Currently there is a fuel crisis in Nepal. Whichever side you believe in the bottom line is that fuel is not coming into the country from India. And remember the border the Tibet/ China has been closed since May.
We did manage to see a group from our trip on the departure lounge which was a bonus.
With complimentary refreshments we finally boarded at 12 noon. We had a short flight to Lucknow for refueling and then off to Muscat.
Arriving over 3 hours late we missed our connection to good old blighty. But we were transferred to a BA flight leaving at 11.30pm.
So best laid plans and all that… Hopefully we will get to Heathrow for 6am, pick up the car and drive home. ETA 10am! The whole trip will have taken much longer than planned!
Up bright and early to catch our flight back to Kathmandu. The flight was over an hour late…but on arrival our watches were put back 2 hours so it was ok.
A chance to check out the market this afternoon. Tony had his shopping head on!
We got a lift back to the hotel via a rickshaw.
I felt very sorry for the driver having to drive us two telly tubbies!
A last supper this evening and then we have an early flight tomorrow to get us back home.
A relative lie in this morning, headed for the Potala palace at 9.30.
We could take photos outside but not inside.
It was incredibly busy and difficult to hear our guide explain what we were seeing. For me their were 2 places that had an amazing energy. The first one was the prayer room where the Dalai llama is supposed to appear during particular festivities.
The second place was the original cave that started the whole thing off on this site.
After lunch we headed for the market for some bargains.
Back in the hotel resting begone we head out for a traditional Tibetan meal
We left shigatse with the sun shining but a bit of a chilly wind.
We rode along long straight roads lined with trees that are turning golden with the season.
I haven’t described the situation with the speed limits. All the roads are 40 kmph. But this does not apply to motorbikes. Cars and other vehicles have to report into checkpoints and cannot reach the next one before their allotted time,assuming top speed of 40kmph. What actually happens is that everything speeds along the roads and then parks up until the time arrives for them to go to the next checkpoint.
This means that the roads turn into a race track with only a few speed cameras to control the situation.
Anyway back to today we passed over the river on a massive viaduct that spanned the whole of the river bed.
Our route then continued alongside the river. It was very pretty.
Anyway we are back in Lhasa. Tomorrow is a sightseeing day. We are booked in to see the Potala palace – official residence of the one who cannot be mentioned in Chinese run Tibet.
Then time for some haggling at the market.
I’ll come back to the title but first things first….
We had dinner at the monastery restaurant last night with a view of Everest at sundown. The whole peak turned pink it was beautiful.
We have been very lucky with the weather in fact our guide hasn’t seen it as clear as this for 20 years.
As I said in my last post the accommodation was basic and at that altitude is was very cold. I slept with all my clothes on and Tony slept in his motorbike trousers! Well at least we all smelt!
Setting off at 8am the weather was bright but cold. We retraced our steps through the national park and up and over the passes.
Our Tibetan guide told us that he takes groups of people trekking in the park and if they are lucky they see wild donkeys, antelopes, black bears and marmots!!!
Well for those of you who don’t know Tony loves marmots and has seen loads in the alps… I haven’t seen any not even one. And I still haven’t today.
Although this is a trip of a lifetime for us. We are also raising money for the MS Trust. Tony has multiple sclerosis and is giving himself an injection every day to try and keep his relapses at bay.
It’s easy to donate just visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TonyKingEverest
Well we’ve made it! The day started at 6pm (and we are 7 hours ahead of the UK ) on the bikes for 7. Off to the national park that surrounds Everest.
Through the checkpoint with the full moon showing us the way.
Up some lovely winding bends to the pass with a viewpoint.
Winding down we had glimpses of Everest all the way along.
We were all togged up for the cold but the wind was biting through every layer brrr!
Along the plains the farmers were bringing in the harvest on pony pulled carts.
Our lunch stop and overnight stay is at the Rong Bok monastery. Accommodation is pretty basic but we have a view of the mountain. On our arrival we met this guy
Then we were off to base camp… A few km up the road, park up and take a bus the final stage.
We’re in dormitories tonight and we’ve split the group by girls and boys. This is the girls dorm:
It is very cold… I’m planning to sleep in all my clothes!
Tomorrow we’re heading back.
Now that’s what we came for! What an amazing sight.
This followed going over one of the world’s highest passes (we think 4th highest) at 5,300m. Bought some prayer flags from the locals to bring home.
As far as other sights were concerned we saw the whole range of civilisation. From city dwellers to cattle pulling ploughs. Animals have ranged from dogs, sheep and goats to ponies, cows and yaks.
We had some lovely sweeping bends today which helped keep Tony occupied after the long straight roads along the plains.
Tomorrow base camp!