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Annapurna Circuit Part 2: Thorung La Pass to Birethanti

Eager to get down the western slopes of the pass, I made no time for messing about. The walk from Thorung Phedi to the marking of the pass, though short, was difficult to say the least; not only was it a steep hike all the way up, but the lack of visibility and the biting cold just made the whole thing tiring so, keen on getting some rest, I picked up pace on the way down. I noticed straight away how the landscape once again changed, but on this side the area was open. I could see mountains many miles ahead of me, towering over the now sandy coloured slopes, and could even see the settlement I’d be staying in: Muktinath. The ground was now dusty and full of loose rocks but, unlike the cold and fog that plagued the … Read more…

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Annapurna Circuit Part 1: Besisahar to Thorung La Pass

As said in a previous post, trekking was something that I definitely wanted to do whilst in Nepal so, after deciding on the Annapurna Circuit, I bought my permits (costing $40 total) and sourced some much needed gear. I’m not going to bore you with a checklist of what you need to buy, you’re not idiots, and if you really want one, there are plenty of other blogs out there with endless lists of things you will and won’t need. However, I will mention that, as a Diabetic, I took precautions in the form of a spare pen and an extra supply of strips, just in case I were to lose any. I also made sure I had at least one bar of chocolate in my pocket each day (the only sweet things you can find on the trail). Before … Read more…

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Entering Nepal: A Few Days in Kathmandu

I left India a little disheartened. I didn’t want to leave the country I’d spent months in, travelling around, meeting amazing people, and seeing things I’ll never forget (for good and bad reasons), but by this point I was already halfway towards Kathmandu. I’d already crossed the Nepalese border, paid the $100 for a 3 month visa, and witnessed the start of the monsoon season- yes, it had rained ever since crossing the border; the scorching heat of Varanasi and India was well and truly behind me. Winding along, following rivers on roads barely wide enough for a single coach, let alone two trying to race, we made our way higher and higher into lower lying mountains before dropping down into Kathmandu valley. Now, I’d always thought that Kathmandu was a single city area which made the capital of the … Read more…

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Diabetes in India: Food and Supplies

This topic is probably going to be split into a few posts as there’s too much to cover in one, so I’ll just cover food and supplies briefly in this post. So, if you read my blog you will know that way before I left on my adventures I wrote a post about the issues of travelling with diabetes; which included Supply Worries, appointment worries, and general diabetic woes that could be made worse abroad. All in all, most of what I worried about was complete nonsense as India isn’t the third world developing country that the media seems to portray it as. Yes, of course there are parts of India that are underdeveloped, but these aren’t generally the sort of places a traveller would go to (a journalist perhaps, but not a traveller). So, what did I learn in India … Read more…

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Auroville: Dream, Reality, or Misguided Idealism?

‘Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.’ Auroville is a place that I’d heard whispers about many times in the South; first back in Varkala, then in Kanyakumari, then in Pondicherry; what I’d heard of it varied from ‘great city’ to ‘spiritual town’ and more. The place, from what I’d gathered, almost seemed mythical in the way people rambled on about it: ‘Oh you must go to Auroville, you’ll find spirituality there’ and ‘It’s the future’, Y’know, all that kind of shit. So, being open minded, I decided I’d see what all the fuss was about; luckily, the girl and guy I met in Kanyakumari had found a … Read more…

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Agra to Varanasi: My Final Days in India…

My time in India was soon coming to an end; I had 10 days left in what I believe to be an amazing country. However, I realised, after visiting a friend in Dehradun, that I would have to skip one or two places; my plan was to spend a few days in New Delhi, then head to Agra before reaching Varanasi, which would be my final destination. I soon realised that I’d much rather spend a few extra days in Agra and Varanasi than get tied down in the chaotic city sprawl of New Delhi. So, I left Dehradun (which is near Rishikesh) and made my way to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. Now, if you are heading to Agra (if you’re in the north of India I presume you will at some point), then try and stay … Read more…

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Turn off your mind, relax, float down stream…

Rishikesh: home of the yoga bums, pseudo-hippies, various drugs (a few of which I may or may not have sampled), and The Maharishi Mahesh (Beatles) Ashram. Anyone who follows my blog will know that I won’t have come to Rishikesh for the yoga, and definitely not to hang around with the tie-dye crew, but to see a place famed for the way it changed, or at least altered, the way that the Beatles wrote songs and helped change the way eastern music was seen across the world (though admittedly it was more George Harrison who did this). Of course, if you’re into yoga then Rishikesh is the place to go; I’d say two out of three guesthouses offer some sort of yoga training or a at least classes to take part in. There are a few places here that have … Read more…

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McLeod Ganj: Home of the Tibetan Government in Exile

Dharamsala or, more specifically, McLeod Ganj, was somewhere I’d wanted to go from as far back as being in the south of India. Though not a Buddhist (or of any religion at all for that matter), the lure of the Himalayan foothills, the chance to meet Tibetan refugees, plus the fact that it’s the home of the Dalai Lama, made the area very, very appealing. After a tiring 8hr bus journey, I was greeted by a man waving a business card for his guesthouse so, after checking his prices, I decided to follow him for what he described as a 5 minute walk. What I saw was completely different to what I expected of McLeod Ganj; there were bright neon lights covering the streets, restaurants of all cuisines packed with customers, and people stumbling out of rooftop bars: had I … Read more…

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The Dark City of Amritsar

Amritsar, the north western state of India is, for lack of a better word, shocking. I left Jaisalmer feeling a little shitty for obvious reasons and possible even a little down; I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Rajasthan and was sad to leave but, as always, I had to press on. My first impression of the Sikh pilgrimage city (after a hellish bus journey) wasn’t the best; dusty, s**t covered roads being rolled over by rickshaws, buses, cyclists and, of course, cows (yes, more cows). My guesthouse, and many others in the area, had a lovely view of a flyover and was without a doubt the most depressing guesthouse I’ve been in so far (and I’ve been in some really bad ones). There was nothing wrong with the place itself; everyone was friendly, the food good and the price OK … Read more…

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Jaisalmer: Sun, Sand, and Sh*t…

Jaisalmer, the golden city of Rajasthan, and sadly my last stop in this great state, was somewhere I’d heard about many times from fellow travellers; the main attractions being the fort (yes, another one) and desert safaris. I left Jodhpur both excited and a little down; I knew that I’d have a good time in Jaisalmer, but I also knew it was my exit from Rajasthan which would then lead into my last few weeks in the sub continent. In fact, even while writing this (which, as you know, is around 3 weeks behind) I feel a little depressed at the fact that I’ll be leaving the country very soon; but lets not focus on that for now. Rajasthan, in or out, is basically situated within the Thar Desert, but Jaisalmer is where the actual desert starts. The city/town itself … Read more…