Biking the Annapurna Circuit – Episode 1: Getting to Syanje

radu dumitrescu nepal mountain bike annapurna thorung la 2010

 We were back in Kathmandu from our 3 day trip around Kathmandu Valley. We had a busy night trying to rent lighter bikes. Our bikes were decent, around 15kilograms, but we hoped we could rent some light ones. We wanted light bikes because we took a last minute decision of biking the Annapurna Circuit. Alina trekked it last time she was in Nepal, but it seemed like a good idea to cycle it. She said it’s OK to cycle, because the paths are good and it seemed like a good idea. She kept reminding me that she has a lot more cycling experience than me and that she’s in a much better shape than me since I didn’t get to do that much cycling at home, basically none in the last 6 months. I also never went as high as 5416m (Thorung La pass) as we’re going to get on this trip.

(mai mult…)

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Mountainbike – Dashinkhali

Radu Dumitrescu - Grey Wolf Studios

I love biking. That’s no secret, but it made quite a difference in Nepal. One of the first things on the list was to rent a mountain bike. Răzvan and Alina already had bikes and after I rented one for myself we decided to go on a 2 day tour around Kathmandu valley. Our route was Kathmandu – Dashinkhali Temple – Kulekhani Lake – Thankot – Kathmandu and the scheduled time was 2 days. We prepared some things to take with us (my backpack included 1 camera and 3 large lenses) and were ready to hit the road.

Woke up not so early in the morning and got on our bikes. Kathmandu is extremely (and I do mean extremely) polluted. Even though the weather was hot we had our masks on, because of the heavy smoke. We got past the city’s Ring Road and the air was a lot better.

(mai mult…)

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Kathmandu – First Impressions

Kathmandu - Radu Dumitrescu

I arrived in Kathmandu a bit confused. Got off the plane and the airport looked a lot like a bus station. I had two things to do before I could get out of the airport: take a photo and pay for the visa. Didn’t seem like a lot of things to do, but they lasted for over an hour.

Finally I got through the infinite visa queue and my passport was the newly found owner of a 30day visa. I get my luggage and go towards the exit, together with a dutch couple that I met while waiting. As we go down the flight of stairs we see another ginormous queue with a sign saying “CUSTOMS” at its end. We all said: “S**t. Not another one”. One of the security guards, after seeing the look on our faces, came to us and led us straight to the exit saying “No, only for locals, no for tourists”.

As we got to the exit we were invaded by a lot of cab drivers. Felt close to the sensation I had at home. Since I knew that my friends were waiting and had absolutely no idea on where I was going I rejected all of them. Didn’t even know if their prices were good or not. I just assumed that they’re higher because of our location. I say goodbye to the dutch couple and join my friends. We look for a taxi but their prices are at least double from the ones I heard inside the airport. It’s the first thing I learned about Nepal. The price you hear at fist is just a greeting. I think its sole purpose is for you to practice dividing by 2 or 3. We took the cab that offered a free ride to the hotel if we stayed at that specific hotel.

(mai mult…)

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