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A diary from the Himalayas – Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Trek starts –

Kathmandu to Pokhara:
We leave early in the morning with the tourist bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara, which is 207km away. Although this route would take 3 hours max. in Germany, it takes us 8 hours to arrive at our goal. The way there is adventurous, but we also see many small picturesque villages (like in a history book, original and untouched), where the villagers grow their own rice next to their homes.
Once at Pokhara, we are pretty exhausted. Because the journey takes so long I decide that when I return to Kathmandu in about two weeks it will be by plane.

Pokhara to Ulleri
We are driven by car to Nayapul, and from there we start the trek. My shoes, my feet can hardly wait to get out of the car and start the trek.
The tour takes about 4 hours and what we get to see on the first day is worth the effort. Nature is untouched and beautiful. The rippling water, the chirping birds and flying butterflies. Cute little kids in their colored school uniforms, picturesque tea houses, bridges, other trekkers from around the world, donkeys laden with goods, cows, yaks, jungles, the first look at the Machapuchre… My heart beats with joy, I am in love with these mountains and nature.

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Ulleri to Ghorepani
I wake up well rested and happy. After a delicious breakfast of a veggie omelete, chappi and a warm tea the trek towards Ghorepani begins.
Today is a little more strenuous because we have an uphill climb of a min. 3500 steps. The vegetation changes here every hour, it is becoming more “jungle-like,” the trees are mossy, the rivers wild, the rhododendron trees larger and the flowers as colorful as paradise.

In the evening we all gather for dinner in the lodge’s dining hall, the only heated room with an oven. It is very cozy around the stove, sitting and chatting with other trekkers. The food prepared here is mostly vegetarian but very delicious.

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Ghorepani – Poon Hill

We wake up at 4 o’clock to view the sunrise at Poon Hill – at 3,200m. The stars in the sky shine so brightly, I do not know if I have ever seen this many stars in my life. We walk up the mountain with headlamps on for about 1 1/2 hours, to the lookout point. At exactly 05:30 the sun rises and I properly take in my true surroundings with its first rays. We are surrounded by beautiful high mountains (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Fishtail), mountain landscapes (far and wide only mountains). The sunrise is breathtaking and this moment of happiness can not be put into words.
I feel like a happy little child, who has received a priceless gift just for him. How many people on this planet have the chance and the luck to be here where I am standing and experience these indescribable feelings?

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We all walk back to the lodge with bright happy faces and after breakfast the tour continues.

Tadapani – Chomrong
For two days we walk through the rhododendron landscape. Entire mountain landscapes from centuries-old rhododendron trees with many different colors. This is the unspoiled Nepal, like a piece of paradise. Arrived at Chomrong where we were accommodated with our teahouse / lodge. The view from our lodge in the mountains is so indescribable that we all do not even go into our rooms, but first sit on the balcony, admiring the view of the mountain composition for about an hour.

Chomrong has now become one of the most beautiful places of my life. On this route it is the largest village (very small by our standards), because two routes cross here on the route.
I talk with local residents, guides and porters. Learn more about this friendly, welcoming people, their culture, values, and their perspectives on life. It is nice that there is a pristine place on this planet, untouched, unaffected by Western countries. I hope that these values, this culture, these mountains are preserved for posterity. It is important that we are not all the same. Modernity is not always what we all should be aiming for.
Our children and grandchildren should have the same experience, and find the same values. It is clear to me that the task of each of us tourists is to wisely respect this country and it is also in our own interest that our descendants protect and preserve these values, culture and nature. 

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The way to the ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) is escorted by many mountains. Mountains full with silvery-, golden-, snow peaks. Mighty waterfalls come from the heights of the mountains, wild rivers with huge boulders and falling avalanches. It is another new experience walking over some avalanches before arriving at our lodge.  Along the way, we get to know some very friendly trekkers from different countries. We learn about their lives, their interests, their impressions of the mountains and the reasons why they chose Nepal. Interestingly, most responded: “Do not know, just had to come here” give. Neither the days nor the evenings are boring. Every moment, every person is a new experience.
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The day to ABC
Full steam ahead at 03:30 on the way to ABC. The starry sky at this elevation is even fuller, more radiant.
We come up to ABC exactly at sunrise, the glaciers are powerful, the mountains exude strength as they just stand there and stare at us. The sun rises directly behind the Machapushre (Fishtail). It goes by so fast I do not even want to blink. I want to experience every second and take in the panorama. If there is a God, then he will likely be looking.

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I see that other men and women around me are also stunned by this spectacle, at that moment just happy to be at one with oneself and nature. Here, everyone is aware that it is not our titles, our cars, houses or prosperity that makes us happy. The freedom of our minds and hearts, to be one within, that is true happiness and what we strive for. Back to our origins.
I have never felt so relaxed, not at a beach nor in a beautiful city.

I am realistic enough to know that I cannot live in these mountains. But I will make my life as natural as possible and will visit the Himalayas as often as I can.

The path goes back more easily and quickly. The last day on the tour, I am grateful for this opportunity and that I have found the courage to have made that step towards a new experience.

When we are back in Kathmandu I know much more about this mystical land, through its warm, honest people, their stories and their heavenly mountains. The whole Katmandu chaos has left me sympathetic and fascinated, and has captivated me. I suddenly no longer see the chaos, but in it the beauty of the people and the magic of their stories.

We say goodbye with a group lunch with our guides and porters. Fascinated by their loyalty, their professionalism, warmth, supervision and proud character, in a true friendship.

Goodbye Nepal, Goodbye paradise in my heart. See you again. Very soon!

Gill from Germany