Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nepal - A Wonderland

Those who come to Nepal, looking for mountains, temples; the climbers in the Himalayas, religious tourists in many temples, they all find one thing in common; serenity.

Children screaming, phone ringing, baggage car slide like bumper cars through the arrivals hall, the mass gesticulating, calling, and jostling forward. In just two conveyor belts rattles luggage from around the world over: thick cardboard boxes tied in washing machine size, suitcases, a chic duffel bag.

When you land at the international airport in Kathmandu, it takes patience, serenity - and a bit of faith. At least the fact that it will all come out the way it should. Everything comes and goes. Kathmandu, the capital and largest city of Nepal, with nearly one million inhabitants, is located at about 1300 meters altitude in a valley and is the center for tourism in Nepal. The stones of this once royal city have seen many come and go - especially since Nepal has opened up since the mid-1950s for Western tourists.

Once, the hippies came in search of eternal life - or at least the noise of drugs and free love - now there are guests in three-layer Teflon uniform looking to serve the tourists that come to visit the highest mountains in the world. The hotels are all world-class and affordable too!

The inns and hemp shops have disappeared but the name Freak Street has remained. Here, where the first Westerners used to settle after a long overland trip. The hippie trail in a dusty alley with name Jhochhen Tole, has, unlike other infamous traveling destinations, has not changed much. There is no Burger King, no styled bars. Nepal's former tourist hangout center is magnificent on yesterday's dusty and charming way. Whether it is the busiest street or a deserted hill, everything in Nepal has a way of providing you with the calm you need.