Archive for the Kali Gandaki valley Category

of wind and apples — Jomsom and Marpha (AC Day 11)

Posted in Annapurna Circuit, from Kagbeni to Jomsom to Marpha, Jomsom, Kali Gandaki valley, Marpha, professional tourist in the making on June 18, 2014 by twotwoeight

Day 11 — Destination : Marpha

Woke up bright and early today and went down to order our breakfast.  While waiting for breakfast, ventured outside for a short walk.

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The weather was great and the view from just outside our guesthouse was breathtaking.

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Horses strolled about the streets in a leisurely manner and some were having their breakfast too.

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No surprises what we had for breakfast — fixed breakfast set and vegetables noodle soup.  But that morning, our noodles came in a goblet! For a moment there, we felt like royalty. 😉

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After breakfast, we left at about 8am and made our way to Jomsom.  We had discussed the idea of taking a jeep to Jomsom but in the end, we decided to walk and I’m glad we did, or we would have missed the chance to go ‘fossilling’ in the Kali Gandaki river!  Our trail followed the Kali Gandaki valley and many a times, we were walking by the river which was lined by thousands and thousands of pebbles and rocks of different sizes and patterns.  If your eyes were sharp enough, you might even be lucky enough to find fossils among them!  Needless to say, we spent a longer time than anticipated ‘fossilling’ (or in my case looking for ‘zero’ rocks) so we only reached Jomsom at about 11am.

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As we neared Jomsom, it was also getting windier and windier, living up to its reputation, for Jomsom was famous for its strong winds.  In fact, there is even a Jomsom wind song!  Jomsom was a huge town, compared to the little towns that we have been passing through and bustling with activity.

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We went to a local place for lunch and while waiting for our food to come, we killed time by snacking on Pringles (first luxury of the trek!!), channel surfing and the three of them became obsessed with looking for the hidden picture in the 3D art hanging in the dining hall!! Unfortunately, even with adopting a ritualistic-prayer-like stance, none of them could find the hidden picture in the end!

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Lunch of fried chicken with chips and vegetables finally came! PW had curry chicken with rice.  You can tell we miss meat!!

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After lunch, we made our way to the Eco Tourism Museum which was at the edge of town.  The exhibits were very unique and interesting but sad to say, maintenance of the place needed upkeeping.  This was a painting of Ekai Kawaguchi.  He was one of the pioneers who trekked in Nepal and wrote books about his travels that subsequently made Nepal known to the international community.

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Blue sheep skin on exhibit.  No explanation needed.

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Whoever who named this exhibit must have had a great sense of humour!!! What would you expect when you see a name like this?

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Well……….literally what it described!!! 😉

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Part of traditional healing methods carried out by traditional herbal doctors.  Bloody.

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Animals featured prominently in ancient beliefs.

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The walk from Jomsom to Marpha took about an hour and a half and it had started to drizzle as we left Jomsom.  The winds picked up again and at one point while crossing a wooden bridge, I was almost blown away!!  Luckily the windy bits did not last long.  As we neared Marpha, Dev started singing the Marpha apple song — which was what Marpha was famous for.  Apparently, there is a folk song for every village!  We reached Marpha at about 3pm.

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After we passed through the entrance to Marpha, we noticed these fruits which resembled durian, but only much smaller.  Wanted to ask Dev what they were…but never found out the name of the plant.

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Marpha is a pretty small village with one main street where most of the guesthouses and shops were.  There were a few bookstores, but they were mostly closed by the time we were there.

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We walked around to look for the the apple farm and found a cobble-stoned lined path leading off the main street.

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We followed the path and came to a garden orchard dotted with flowering apple trees.  Pretty was the right word to describe the scenery.

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Flowers of the apple tree blooming — would have loved to see the apple trees heavy with apples, unfortunately it was too early in the season.

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Soon after, it started drizzling again and we made haste.

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We walked past this gompa and were contemplating whether to go up or not but after looking at the number of steps, we decided to just take their word that the view from the top IS really beautiful!  No more climbing steps for us!

We went back to the guesthouse as the rain was getting heavier and ordered some snacks as it was too early for dinner.  Being in the apple village, we had to try the apple lassi which to our disappointment, was rather weird tasting, and not in a nice way.  The chocolate apple crumble and vegetable tempura were nice though!

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We sat around the dining area and did a bit of reading and then it was dinner time.  PW had yak steak as it was our last chance to eat it before we left the mountains.  This one was nicer than the one we had in Manang, less chewy! 😉  Dev let us try the famous Marpha apple brandy which was very strong!! But this stuff is supposed to be really good and people bring it back by the boxful! Well it was definitely good for inducing sleep…we knocked out shortly after dinner. 😉

Today would be the last day of being on our feet and trekking.  Tomorrow would be a whole day of bus and jeep ride to Tatopani.  I haven’t even left, yet I am already missing the mountains. 😦