Namche Bazar – Thyangboche
Our wakeup call came a little later today and let me tell you this, everyone in the group was very happy about it. 7 am up, 7.30 am downstairs and 8 am leave for Thyangboche. After a hearty porridge breakfast and some serious eggs on toast breakfast envy, I packed up my day back and waited patiently for ‘Jam Jam’. This was our call to move, Jam Jam politely means get a move one, come on, we are off in Nepalese. The clock ticked 8.30 am and we left through the back door of the Tea house and up over Namche Bazaar. The view was pretty breathtaking. The mountains previously covered in the low cloud revealed themselves in the early morning light and it made the short steep hill hike from the get-go a little more bearable.
The view from above was amazing and the views all day took everyone by surprise. The mountains on good form and the road to Thyngbonche a very, very picturesque one. We paid a small amount of money, a donation to an old guy guarding the road. His family had been responsible for maintaining the road we were about to walk for the morning for the past 70 years.
The road was a little bit flat, a little bit up and a little bit down, classic Nepali flat as the guides called it. We quickly had our first snack and water break under a colourful Pagoda, the Pagoda had eyes painted on, she was watching us. I kept my eyes firmly on the prize. Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam made up a pretty epic horizon line far in the distance. As I was staring out, longingly at our mountain friends, Kashi, our pacesetter pointed into the distance, up and over the hill and squinting I could just make something out. “We go there” Oh lord, I thought to myself that is very far away. Our second tea stop came after we completed the road, just before a pretty long descent. We sat outside on a long table and slowly enjoyed a hot steamy cup of lemon, ginger and honey tea in a Peter rabbit mug. I also bought a Mars Bar, it was the best mars bar I’ve ever had, the view might have had something to do with it. Our host was an Everest Sherpa, he summited Everest multiple times and quite frankly was an absolute legend. He raised and saved enough money to set up his house right there on the trail and retire from being a Sherpa and now host trekkers, oh, and his daughter now studies in Europe. He was a very proud man and I was kind of starstruck by his accomplishments.
We continued along the road for around half an hour before the big descent. A good solid hour of downhill followed, it was tough on the old knees. At the bottom a huge communal lunch greeted us. Dahl Baht power for everyone. When clearing the plates away I met a young girl. The tiny wee thing let me pick her up and down and shake her around, her laugh was incredibly infectious, it was so beautiful. I love how there is a universal language through laughter and playing with children. Even up here in the Himalayas, all the kids want to do is play.
The two-and-a-half-hour climb that followed our lunch break continued with high spirits. Tucker kept us entertained with his music, Ed pulled through with the jokes and Kashi set a very, very slow pace through the relentless switchbacks. About an hour away from Thyangboche, Kashi said we should have a break. We could see a storm rolling in far in the distance and he was keen to get up to the town to catch the monks in the monastery, more for us than him, I think. We made it to Thyangboche in 40 mins and it felt good. We rushed to the monastery but we, unfortunately, missed the monks. We did however take the time to sit below the beautifully decorated and adorned walls before needing to leave due to the cold wooden floors.
Our whole group ordered large hot lemon, ginger and honey tea to warm through our tired and freezing bodies. Our dinner was incredible. Garlic soup, vegetable Momo’s and a large plate of chips with fried eggs on top, we felt like we had hit the teahouse kitchen jackpot.
I sat by the fire writing in my journal and listening to Shankar, our guide, talk to his friends. The storm had caught up with us when inside the monastery and he was gutted we wouldn’t be able to see the stars or the best view on the trek. He checked his phone and told me that getting up for sunrise was a good idea, so I charged my phone to set an alarm.
We retreated to bed with a lot of water, small headaches had started to creep in, and we didn’t want to risk anything, even if it meant that we had multiple cold dashes to the toilet through the night. I fell asleep to the sound of the dogs and cows rustling below our window, dreaming of a view and beautiful sunrise. Let me tell you something, that alarm was worth it, sunrise was pretty special.