Saturday, November 27, 2010


We arrived in Varanasi three days ago - to noise, bustle, chaotic traffic, rickshaw drivers, thousands of people, a few con men, cows, goats, ferrets, chooks, dogs, dogs, and more dogs, and our hotel right on the burning ghats....yes the 24hour cremation ghat! The air is constantly smoggy and the Ganges is not quite as clean as the Clarence! This is a very significant place for Hindus and many people come here to die and be cremated on the Ganges. We have seen many, many cremations in the last few days - visible from our balconies and the restaurant in our hotel!
We have acquired many new "friends" since arriving in Varanasi. This fellow though has been quite useful and has given James and Robyn several tabla lessons. He also took us to a concert just near our hotel and it was fabulous. There was a sitar player, a tabla player, a singer with the most amazing vocals, and a dancer. They were all so enthusiastic and we were a very small audience - we were very lucky and spoke with the players after the concert.
In the mornings there is much activity on the Ganges - washing hair, bathing, prayers, laundry being done, cremations, buffalo swimming, fishing......really interesting to sit back and watch. At night there are rituals and prayers and candle boats being placed on the water.
Pampered buffaloes!
It can be very colourful with the washing - especially the saris laid out to dry on the steps of the ghats.
Passing the time away on the Ganges!
Our introduction to India has been a little confronting but we figure if we've survived Varanasi we can cope with the rest of India! We are off to Agra tomorrow night on the overnight train and then it's off to see the Taj!
We are all travelling well and the food so far has been good - we found a lovely retaurant last night which had very delicious food for just over $20 for 2 courses and drinks for the four of us!
Hope everyone is well at home - thanks for the comments - keep posting them as we love to hear from you. Love to all and miss you xxx

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Hello from Kathmandu. We have been shopping, eating and seeing the sights of the city. It's very busy, bustling and dusty at times and people are busy all day and night going about their work. The shop keepers are always busy trying to get you to buy something from them - if one more man offers me tiger balm on the streets I'm going to whack him with my bag!!! I think I've finally scared off the shoe shiners who want to clean my shoes - I keep telling them I like them dirty!
We visited Durbar Square in the city a couple of days ago - these ladies were praying outside one of the temples.

We hired a driver and guide yesterday and today and went out of the city to see some world heritage sights. This is the stupa at Boudanath - a very significant site for Buddhists and very peaceful compared to other places. We had lunch on one of the rooftop cafes here and watched the monks and nuns circling the stupa as they prayed.
We also visited Monkey Temple - and yes there are lots of monkeys there (and mangy dogs!). The monkeys were quite timid though and a little camera shy although not shy of stealing bananas from passing plates!
Sadhus in Durbar Square - very colourful admist the browns of the temples and city streets.
This is Patan - amazing temples. All very old and intricate wood carvings. We also saw what looked to be an advertisement or movie being filmed here. The dancers were a little weary - it had obviously been a long day!
Men playing instruments in Buktinath whilst a goat was being sacrificed on the temple (I'm not joking) and later cooked for a feast (no I didn't watch as they worked themselves into a bit of a frenzy).
A little weary after a long day looking at many temples with a long running commentary about all the gods by our guide - there's only so many gods you can remember in one day - then they all start to blend in to one!
This is our last night in Kathmandu and tomorrow we head off to Varanasi in India. We are thinking that the bustle here will be a little introduction to India!!!
Thanks so much for all your comments left on our blog - we love reading them and it's great that you are all following us as we travel.
To my DGO team - glad to hear that things don't change and that you're keeping up with the LS reports Paul - no I won't be going near an Aussie consulate anytime soon!
Thanks Mum, Jaz and Kaye for all your comments - glad to hear that all is well at home and the girls are being good. Will ring you more when we get to India and have our phone working (we hope!). Miss you all and think of you all the time. Love you heaps. xxxx
See you next post from India.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Trekkers

We are back from our 10 day trek....WOW! We have had a wonderful time walking through the Himalayas.

We started with an early morning flight to Jomsom and then walked for around 3 hours to Kagbeni - spectacular senery.
Day 2 we set off with a little trepidation as we had to climb to our highest point in the trip. After many rest breaks for me and time to catch my breath we finally made it to Muktinath. Needless to say James and Krissy powered ahead!

Robyn and I almost to Muktinath!

The 15th November was Robyn's birthday so we celebrated in style with a beer and chocolate cake cooked by a local shop down from our guesthouse!

The mountains at 6:00am from Ghorepani as the sun was rising - how spectacular is this?!

Transport up and down the hills is by donkeys and ponies - or on people's backs in huge baskets. We made it home to Pokhara - happy trekkers! This is us and our guide Dil, and our porters Resham & Kamal .

We had a wonderful trek and even though there were times when I thought I wouldn't make it up another "hill" (Nepali hill) I did, and we are all very proud of ourselves for making it to the end without catching a pony or jeep! We were very safe all along the trek and Dil, Resham and Kamal helped us to laugh and dance all the way and made it great fun - thanks boys!
Today we are back in Kathmandu after an emotional farewell yesterday morning at Gauri Shankar (our guesthouse in Pokhara). We felt as though we were leaving friends as we were made so welcome and looked after beautifully. If you are looking at trekking in Nepal you can't go past these boys.

Hope everyone is well at home - think of you all the time. love us xxxx.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We've arrived

After a long flight and one night in Kathmandu we flew to Pokhara where we are now staying. The people are friendly, the food is good and we feel very much at home here.
Yesterday we went for a boat ride on Phewa Lake and crossed over to see the temple on the island in the middle of the lake. It was an eventful ride as we piled into one of these samll boats with lots of other people - on the return trip a young girl hung onto me all the way across! The boats make the lake very colourful.
Krissy and James after we had lumch by the lake and got conned into buying some jewellery from the Tibetan ladies!!!
Flying to Pokhara (18 seater!!!) with the Himalayas on our right - Wow!
A mandala in Kathmandu - it was Diwali festival when we arrived so the city was celebrating...dogs barking, firecrackers, people having fun and cats yowling most of the night.
Tomorrow we head off on our trek. Our guide - Dil - is a lovely young man who has been looking after us beautifully since we arrived here. We feel very comfortable with him and he works at the guesthouse where we are staying - it's a great place to stay and all the staff are very friendly and make us feel right at home.
Hope everyone is well at home - thinking of you all the time. Thanks for the comments girls. Love to all. xxx We will be out of touch for the next 10 days so I'll update you when we return - probably with a few sore muscles!!
Himalayas here we come!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nepal & India here we come!

Tomorrow we head off for the beginning of our next Nepal and India with our lovely friends Robyn and Kristen.
Photo from here
First we are off to Nepal - we fly into Kathmandu and then head across to Pokhara. That's it in the photo above - look at those mountains! And yes we are going to trek...for about ten days...and then spend some time looking around Kathmandu before travelling down to India. We plan to see Varanasi, Agra (ooohhh the Taj Mahal!!!), down to Rajasthan and Pushkar, maybe see a tiger or two!, and then up to Delhi before we fly home. phew...I'm exhausted already!
Hope you check in with us here regularly and leave us a comment - it's easy. Just click on the comment underneath each post and a new box will come up and you type in your message. You don't have to have a google account just tick anonymous...but don't forget to write your name in the message otherwise I won't know who you are! See you in Nepal.....I'm a little bit excited!!!