Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pretty Pokhara! (Part 1)

Pokhara is Nepal's second largest city and one of its most popular tourist destinations.  Here's why: 

Yes, it's a Very Pretty Place!  As you can see, Pokhara is on the edge of magnificent Phewa Lake framed with stunning views of the Annapurna Himalayas!  You can't take a bad picture--even if you try!  No wonder it's a favorite with tourists and Nepalis alike!

Ramon (right) was too busy, as usual, 
but Mom and I were able to plan a weekend there when she was here, and as you can see, it was worth it (except for missing Ramon)--and the weather cooperated too!  The best time to go is during the winter, because although it's cold, the sky is usually clear so the views are amazing.

It's only a short (about 30 minutes) flight (or, they say, about 6-8 hours in a bus) from Kathmandu.  Since we like to check-in early, we were able to sit on the side facing the mountains, but we had to put our cameras a little in front of us or behind us, as our seats had a nice view of the wall between the windows!  :)  Oh well, we still got some good pics.  (As you can see, we were also right under the wings near the propellers.)

As you get closer, you can see villages in the mountains--imagine living here!

Before we knew it, we were there and, like everyone else, stepped off the plane and started snapping away!  There were the mountains--right in our faces it seemed!

Here's Mom--Mary in the Mountains!

Our hotel's van came and picked us up and we headed straight there.
We picked the New Pokhara Lodge after reading the reviews on Tripadvisor and we were very happy.  It's in town, but not right "in" town, so we could walk to town, yet the street was quiet. 

Here is the courtyard as seen from the balcony near our room,

and down below is where we ate breakfast.

Here is Mom standing where the picture was taken.  Our room is right by the stairs.

Here is the view that is behind where she is standing,

which is the same view from one of the windows inside--

and the close-up.

This is the view from the other window!
I don't need to say anything--the picture says it all!

Even our bathroom had a nice view!

We dropped our suitcases off and set out to explore right away.

A weekend festival was starting, so the streets were lined with stalls of food and things for sale.

We opted to try this restaurant 

so we could have good views for the parade we heard was about to start.

The parade wasn't the only fun in town!

To the left of the carnival, there was a dance competition.  We never found out who won!

As we walked around, we saw some interesting sights,

interesting people,

and some beautiful views around every corner!

Because of the festival, everyone was in a good mood and many were playing games (and or gambling!).

The next day we decided to check out the famous World Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist Stupa high on a hill/mountainside with amazing views of the lake, city, and Himalayas...it was a beautiful day with a brilliant blue sky--perfect!

The ride was exciting--because of the stony road, which I wouldn't have wanted to drive on!  (Our driver was excellent by the way.)  I was glad it wasn't monsoon season!  Yes, this is the road--I was sitting behind the driver (they sit on the right because they drive on the left here) and this picture is of the right lane going back down the mountain,

Sometimes the road was a little better, but it was still a tight squeeze when we passed oncoming traffic!

Of course, the views were beautiful!

  There was a nice walk up from the parking lot, sometimes with steps and sometimes just a walkway.

Here and there you will find little shops to buy refreshments at.

Finally--almost there...there's the top!

Those people are all taking pictures...hurry, let's see what's up there!
(Yes, it was from this vantage point that I took the pictures at the beginning of this post.)

I must say it was breathtaking!

Here's the shot zooming in on the town.  The next day we ate in a cute restaurant that is right about in the middle of this picture!

After this, you go up a few more steps

where you see this sign

and the you see it--the white of the pagoda against the sky is what made it so beautiful.

Proof I was there:

You had to take your shoes off to go up.  There are four statues to see as you go around.

As you go around, you have these views.

Just to the right of the pagoda, is this sign with all the info

and this statue, which makes a nice picture.

It's Mr. Min Bahadur Gurung, a founding donor and Nepal's first elected deputy defense minister.

I'm so glad I was able to take Mom.

Well, that's it for Part 1.
Stay turned for Part 2.
I promise (or rather, I HOPE) not to wait so long before getting it up!
Have a nice day!  See you later!