Cycled: 11.2km / 7mi
Elevation: 19m / 62ft
Hiked: 29.9km / 18.6mi
Elevation: 1,972m / 6,470ft
This was very nearly our last blog post. We were so close to packing it all in and spending our life’s savings moving into Shivapuri Heights Cottage. Then we realised that our money would probably only stretch a few months…
If you read last week’s blog, you’ll remember that we arrived at our £15 per night Air BNB, thinking we’d be crashing in someone’s backroom, only to discover that we’d actually booked into a 4* hotel, which usually costs upwards of £70 per night. Yup, we’d hit the jackpot.
Okay, so we couldn’t actually afford to eat there – or drink there really – but everything else about Shivapuri Heights Cottage was magical. It was exactly what we needed after the rough ol’ time we’ve had since Russia. We loved it so much, we ended up booking five nights.
Since we didn’t fancy the 200m hike up and down into town every mealtime, we got resourceful. We found a great restaurant for lunch and ordered lots of extras to takeaway. We did this twice. This particular lunch and takeaway order cost us £4.55: one vegetable chowmein, two vegetable dumpling meals, twelve samosa, six potato fritters, six onion bhajis and two potato curries. Everything was boxed and bagged. What a bargain.
We definitely made the most of being so close to Shivapuri National Park. We went on two hikes. First we did an 11km loop, which included a monastery, the park’s only village and a stupa (temple). Then we did a more challenging ascent to the highest peak in Kathmandu Valley: Shivapuri Peak, at 2,732m (5,682ft).
For our last night in Shivapuri we (Dan’s parents) treated ourselves and joined the other guests for dinner. It was marvellous. Steve and his wife, Neeru, get everyone together around one table to eat. We indulged in a four course meal. We had creamed asparagus soup, fish pie or pork curry (or both), warm apple tart and ice cream, then a cheese board.
It was during dinner we met Tashi Sherpa, the designer and creator of Metro Mask. After we told him about our cycle trip, he generously offered to give us a mask each and a handful of replacement filters. How brilliant! He had them delivered to our hotel in Kathmandu after we left Shivapuri.
By the end of the five nights, Steve (the owner) had to practically kick us out. Then, before we knew it, we were back in Dustmandu – I totally stole that nickname off Sabine – once again. We finally got our Indian visa sorted, had a curry at our favourite curry house (Western Tandoori), then Tom, Dan’s cousin, arrived. Let the beers commence!