Lamahi to Pokhara, Nepal.

Distance: 179 miles
Time on bikes: 7 hours

We try and make an early start today so we can get to Pokhara at a reasonable time. We’ve not organised anything for trekking yet, but maybe if we get there early enough we can sort a map, directions and arrange for storage of our stuff so we can get out into the mountains tomorrow. We get a wakeup call at about 7 am to remove the bikes from the restaurant which helps get us going.

We have a light breakfast in the room of a few biscuits and some dates from the bag given to us in Lahore. We then get ready and are on the bikes at about 9 am to get going.

One of the reasons we decided to pull in last night before nightfall is because we would have missed the really beautiful landscapes and scenery of how the locals live. It’s lovely to be able to just pull straight back onto the road without having to negotiate our way out of a city. It’s also very refreshing to be riding in the cool morning air. The cyclists we met the other day told us that they did all the cycling between the hours of 5 am and 11 am to avoid the heat of the day – very sensible.

The road again is very good and we continue along to the town of Butwal where we’re taking the turn off along a more minor road to get to Pokhara. On the way we stop at a small cafe for a refreshing cold drink and then grab a few bananas from a stall across the road.

When we reach the town of Butwal it isn’t too difficult to find the road heading north through the valley towards Pokhara. This starts taking us up into the hilly areas of Nepal and the air starts to feel a bit more comfortable after we’ve climbed a few hundred metres in altitude. We pass through many small villages and they remind of some of the places we’d seen in Morocco.

For the first time in quite a while we see places that look inviting to stop for a drink or something to eat. We also see places that look good, just to pull over and relax next to the bikes while taking in the view. This is something we’ve really missed since leaving Europe, where we were spoilt for picnic spots and places to catch a nap near to the side of the road.

Progress today has been quite a bit slower than yesterday. Even though we left about three hours earlier, it’s going to take us that time extra to do a shorter distance today. The road is continually bending and curving its way along the valleys and mountains and despite the views being really good, it’s frustrating all the same as we’re rarely getting above third gear or 30 mph.

It looks like we’ll get to Pokhara at about sunset as we’re only averaging 25 mph, and sure enough as we’re approaching the town the sun has gone down behind the hills and darkness is fast approaching. We ride through town, aiming for the north part looking for a guesthouse where Hubi and Katrin had stayed.

We pull into a roundabout at one point as we may as well ask for directions, rather than ride around in the dark. Carl asks a guy who turns out to be very helpful and knows where the guesthouse is. It turns out however that his family also run a hotel in town, but he offers to take us to our original choice of hotel and asks that we also consider his. What do we have to lose? Actually, his hotel sounds quite nice and he tells us it has wi-fi, a view of the lake and secure parking for the bikes.

Sure enough, we follow him on his bike to the guesthouse and he waits outside for us while we go in to have a look. There’s no pressure from him and Carl has made up a story that we’re meeting friends there so already have a bit of a commitment to stay. It turns out the place is full, but rather than commit ourselves to his hotel, we say that we’ve got some time available before our friends arrive so can have a look at his place. Carl quite likes his attitude however as there feels like no pressure to do anything, just ‘I have a nice hotel run by my family, come and have a look if you would like’. Béné isn’t so sure however, as she’d read about touts who prowl for tourists arriving.

We follow him to his hotel and sure enough it’s located at a quieter end of the town and on the lake. It has a courtyard for the bikes, so they’ll be fine. He shows us the two available rooms – one on the top floor with a fantastic view of the lake with huge windows for $25, or one on the ground floor with no view for $15. Carl is completely sold on the first room and we’re checking in a couple of minutes later.

After a shower and freshen up we’re heading out into town to find something to eat. Thankfully Carl’s insides appear well on the road to recovery and he’s got an appetite back. Béné is just about getting there, but as we’ve both completely exhausted ourselves today we’re starving.

We manage to find a nice little restaurant serving local food. It’s amazing to be in this place as it’s completely full of tourists. We’ve arrived just as the peak season is about to start and it looks like it. We hear English, American, Dutch and all sorts of languages as we walk along the street. We’ve not been in a place like this before, but we were half expecting it to be like this. There are also loads of shops selling trekking equipment, so will have a good look around.

One thing we will need before heading off on a trek is a permit and the office doesn’t open until 10 am tomorrow. The hotel chap has offered to meet up with us in the morning to go through our trekking options and give us some advice. That should help us decide on whether we need to hire a guide, or whether the route is quite easy to navigate ourselves.

Jour 167 – Samedi 2 Octobre 2010. De Lamahi a Pokhara, Népal

Distance: 286 km – Temps a moto: 7 heures

On essaye de partir tôt pour arriver dans l’après-midi à Pokhara, dans l’espoir de réussir à organiser ce qu’il faut pour partir marcher le lendemain. Comme nous sommes réveillés a 7 heures par les propriétaires pour sortir les motos du restaurant, après quelques biscuits et une douche nous partons vers 9 heures.

La matinée est agréable, la route est belle et passe de jolis villages, rivières et forêts, l’air est encore frais le matin. Nous prenons la direction de la ville de Butwal, en faisant une petite pause petit déjeuner dans un village ou nous prenons des boissons fraiches et des fruits, puis quand l’air devient un peu chaud en fin de matinée, nous faisons une pause rapide pour une autre boisson, avant de prendre la direction des montagnes ou nous serons contents de retrouver un peu de fraicheur.

La route que nous prenons passe dans les collines en direction de Pokhara et elle est assez touristique, un peu comme les routes du Maroc ou il y a des petits stands le long de la route. On s’arrête nous pauser un peu au bord de la route a un endroit un peu isolé, a l’ombre. C’est la première fois depuis longtemps qu’on peut faire une pause comme ca : en Inde il y avait trop de monde, au Pakistan il y avait toujours du monde partout ou les routes étaient au bord de falaises sans la place de se garer, en Chine on avait le guide et il était difficile de s’arrêter… bref, nous sommes bien contents de profiter de la vue superbe et de la tranquillité.

…Le seul problème avec les pauses comme ca, c’est que le temps passé vite, et on n’avance pas trop, du coup on a du mal a arriver a Pokhara de jour, en nous pressant un peu pendant les dernières heures de la journée, on y arrive juste a la nuit tombante.

On cherche l’hôtel que Hubi nous avait conseillé, mais il est plein, et comme un gars sympa nous montre ou c’est en nous disant qu’il a aussi un hôtel si on est intéressés, on fini par le suivre. C’est un hôtel qui a l’air très sympa et il y a une chambre avec vue sur le lac, que demander de plus… ah oui, il y a un parking ou on peut laisser les motos si on va marcher!

Apres une petite douche on est prêt a sortir manger, c’est agréable, après longtemps sans avoir trop d’appétit, on a tous les deux faim. On se ballade un peu dans la rue, Pokhara est une grande ville pleine d’hôtels et de magasins de babioles et affaires de marche, et comme c’est la pleine saison, les rues sont pleines de touristes, c’est la première fois qu’on en croise autant! On essaye un restaurant qui a l’air sympa et qui propose des plats locaux. C’est assez bon, mais je choisis un plat un peu bizarre, le riz est comme des corn flakes…un peu secs… mais ca n’est pas mauvais.