When we cross the border it feels like we’re entering a new world. At once we notice some differences between India and Nepal. The people look more Chinese and they behave relaxed.
The mood is good and before we know it we’ve finished the formalities at the check post. We find a nice little place to stay at the Nepali side of Sunauli. Here we enjoy our first “Everest Beer” to celebrate our arrival in the country of the highest mountain in the world.
Our first morning in Nepal and we take it easy while enjoying breakfast in the garden. After this we pack and start cycling the first kilometers in Nepal. The situation in Nepal is unstable and there are many problems with Maoists and others. We notice this instability by passing several police check points and army units on patrol. At the check points every vehicle has to stop and the passengers have to get out as a check. To us the heavy armed police men wave and smile while we pass. They don’t bother to stop us and we’re happy with it. The mood is good and besides the army presence and the check points of the police we don’t have the feeling of a country in war with Maoists rebels. The countryside is flat and we cycle through open fields of wheat and other “winter” crops. There are many cyclists and most of the times we’ve company of people who are trying to drive besides us. Compared with Pakistan and India the people here don’t mind when we’re faster than they are.
When we arrive in Butwal we decide to stay for 2 nights and relax in our first real Nepali city. Just below the first mountains lies this small town where we enjoy the sights of the hills. The hillsides are grown with forest and it’s a great sight watching the green scenery after all the drought in other countries. In one of the shops we stumble into some bottles of red wine from other parts of the world. Happy with this find we celebrate every evening in Butwal with a few glasses of this nice red moist.
The moment we leave Butwal we find ourselves in a different type of landscape. We cycle through leafy forests and rolling hills. It’s a joy cycling in the hills again and we have real pleasure in the change these climbs gives us between going up and rolling down. The look of the people is still changing and more and more they look Chinese to us. Everybody is very friendly and we wave and greet all day long. When the youngest children spot us they start waving and shouting. “Bye bye” and “Da da” are the sounds we hear every time we cycle past. The height of every hill is growing and the forest gives way to fields with green and yellow crops. We see more and more terraces on the slopes. In these terraces buffalos are pulling a plow while farmers walk behind the animals. We see many woman harvesting the wheat and cabbages. On the Mahendra Highway, a 2-lane-road, are fewer checkpoints than in the first part of Nepal. In Kasauti Bazar there is a big police post with armed man blocking the way. We find a place to sleep in this small village. When there is a power cut in the evening we want to sit outside. The owner of our lodge warns us not to walk on the street because of a curfew. This is fine with us because it’s totally dark. It’s a strange feeling that at one side we’re in a country which feels relaxed and peaceful. At the other side have we been confronted with heavily armed soldiers and policemen. There are curfews, checkpoints and roadblocks along the way all linked with a country at war.
In Narayanghat we see the difficulties in the country again. A very long row with trucks, busses and cars are waiting for a check post. We are lucky because we don’t have to wait. A friendly smile from the army and police and we can continue our trip without any control. The road goes up with a lot of curves and we cycle trough the forest. When we arrive at he top we are looking at a very bright and blue river: the Trisuli. We follow the road along the river. It’s very beautiful with the bridges above the water. Small villages, steep paths trough the fields and small canals to supply the fields with water. I think it’s fantastic and Marlous looks at the river with big eyes as if she’s going to jump in it. We really missed this color of the water!
After a long period of a lot of cycling we decide it’s time for a relaxed day. Just after the cable car we come across a very nice resort. Very close to the river we enjoy the swimming pool and a real buffalo steak! For two days we have our own villa. We make a nice walk at the other side of the river. Here we go back in time walking trough small places where there are huts and children running around with their goats and cows. People are swimming and fishing in the river. When we get close to the river we put of our slippers and go in the river as well. We see rafters passing by and we listen to the sound of the mighty Trisuli river.
After these days we are ready for our last 2 days of cycling to Kathmandu. The landscape is sill stunning and we stop a lot of times to take a photo. We pass more and moor check points and the road gets busier. This is Prithvi Highway , the main road from Kathmandu to Phokara. We see many tourist busses with with faces behind the windows. It’s really hot and we take a lot of breaks to drink. 25 km before Kathmandu we stay in Naubise for the night. We find a nice lodge where we have to bend most of the times because it’s very low everywhere. We can eat in their restaurant where they serve rice with vegetables. Behind the lodge we see the road which we cycled that day going up with a lot of curves. Here we enjoy the evening looking at the lights of the trucks.
The next morning we are climbing non-stop from 940 meters up to 1465 meters. Sometimes we go as fast as the heavy loaded trucks. The road goes up with fantastic views. After a week cycling trough Nepal we can see it’s great. At the top there are a lot of soldiers. “Welcome to Kathmandu” says one of them with a gun in his hand, a helmet on his head and wearing a bulletproof jacket. From this point we are in Kathmandu valley and we cycle downhill. It’s not as nice and as green as before. We see a lot of industry and the traffic is crazy. We arrive easily in the centre of the city. Here we meet Gary, who we met before in Pakistan. He cycled from Austria to here and the coming months he going to climb the Mount Everest. Gary bring us to the Katmandu Guesthouse. Her we have a very friendly welcome from the staff. Engely arranged a room for us here. It feels fine to be at this place.
Kathmandu is a nice city and we spend our time by walking around, relaxing and visiting restaurants. Tomorrow we will cycle our last 26 kilometers to the Noble House to meet Utsab, Sita and the children. From tomorrow we will live on the roof of the Noble House, and spend our time helping the kids.
* Sunauli (border) – Butwal: 29km
* Butwal – Kasauti Bazar: 91km
* Kasauti Bazar – Kurintar: 80km
* Kurintar – Naubise: 81km
* Naubise – Kathmandu: 30km