Following the Old Hippie Trail
25.10.2013 25 °C
In the sixties and seventies Kathmandu was a popular destination for the Hippies in search of free love and drugs (and not necessarily in that order). The overland trail led through Europe, Turkey, to India before ending at the drugs dens of Freak Street in Kathmandu. We followed the same route,but thankfully at 39,000 feet above it. The overland route took weeks. Our journey was 24 hours.
Although easier than the trek endured by those early Hippies, I had forgotten how tiring long haul flights are. Especially when combined with a four hour wait at Heathrow and a six hour wait at Delhi Airport.
Delhi Airport is modern, spacious, clean and an excellent illustration of India's upward climb on the international economic tree. However, I've got to say after six hours it does get a bit boring.No matter how much people watching there is to do. So it was, we took our leave and caught our one and a half hour flight to Nepal.
A smooth flight over Northern India until descending over the border we caught our first views of Nepal and the Himalaya.
As we approached Kathmandu we caught great views of the foothills and then the capital itself.
We nearly caught more of a view of the city than we bargained for ,as the pilot nearly overshot the runway and was forced to do a U Turn on the landing strip, to get to the parking area ! I hope he remembered to check in his mirrors that nothing was following us down.
You need a visa to enter Nepal. This isn't a problem as long as you have a spare passport photo and forty dollars. A long queue results, but unlike some other countries where the officials seem to misinterpret this word to mean officious, in Nepal one official decided to have a bit of fun at the expense of his colleagues by quietly swapping a broken stapler for a working one. Five minutes later a lot of Nepalese banter and laughter, and not one officious look !
After an interesting and hair raising ride through the city rush hour,Mrs G and I are safely in our luxurious hotel called the Hotel Shanker. Tired and sleepy, I think we might have to save the delights of Freak Street until tomorrow.