Enjoying The Himalayan Highlife
Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
57Trip End Jun 12, 2012
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Where I stayed
For some reason the bus ended up sitting in traffic for over 3 hours throughout the night, but we eventually arrived at 7.30am and jumped on a local bus for the final leg of the journey to Kasol (2hrs, 30R). Barry was feeling terrible by the time we got there, so I left him nursing a ginger, lemon, honey tea while I sorted out a place to stay. We ended up going for the Alpine Guesthouse, which was a bit rough round the edges and needed a general freshen up, but was situated in a lovely peaceful spot right next to the roaring Parvati river and had massive rooms and a decent restaurant. We spent our first couple of days there just unwinding, catching up on sleep and enjoying the peace. Kasol itself was a nice enough base for the area - there wasn’t a huge amount to do in the town (very ‘smoker‘ orientated), but it was in lovely spot with a few nice places to eat and drink - ‘Bhoj’ in particular was a great traveller hangout joint with cosy seating, a nice rooftop, free wifi (when it worked)!, a pool table and pretty superb food - their Magic Salad was truly a delight
After a couple of days chilling out we were ready to face our final adventure of the trip - a hike through the Parvati Valley. There wasn’t much info online, and the travel agents in Kasol didn’t seem to know much more, but we set off nonetheless! It ended up being without a doubt one of the best walks we’ve done of the whole trip - challenging enough to keep it interesting, but incredibly peaceful with real jaw-dropping vistas - it felt like you could almost reach out and touch the Himalayas! We started off by taking an incredibly hair-raising bus-ride to Barshani (2hrs, 30R), then luckily bumped into some fellow trekkers who pointed us in the right direction. The walk started off pretty tough, but evened off after about one and a half hours, where we had a break near a little village. It took about the same again to reach the next little tea-house, where we had a lovely apple juice before the final (gruelling) one hour ascent of the day. We definitely could’ve done it quicker if we’d wanted, but the peace and beauty that surrounded us just enticed us to take our time
We sorted out a ‘room’ (read; mud-floored lean-to) at the lovely Lonely Planet ‘guesthouse’ (200R), then cosied up by the wood burning stove with the best thali of the trip while the heavens opened outside. Barry had forgotten that he’d left his stinky walking trainers outside the room, so when he discovered them once the sun had decided to put in a final appearance he decided to dry them out by the stove - it was only when one of the helpful staff mentioned that the burner could get quite hot that he realised he’d actually set them on fire - classic!
We set off the next morning for the village of Pulga, so we headed back down to the wee tea house (which was thankfully downhill this time - but slightly more precarious due to the previous day’s rainfall), then headed into the forest towards Kalga. The walk was definitely a bit tougher than the day before, but we were glad to be going from Khir Ganga rather than to it, which would’ve been hellish with all the climbs
We stayed there for a couple of days, just soaking up the authentic atmosphere, aided by the wonderful Apple View restaurant (although slightly hindered by the ignorant, ridiculously noisy Israeli travellers who insisted on shouting to each other all night right outside our room - until Barry got them told - my hero!). It was a real wrench to drag ourselves away, but all good things must come to an end! The bus journey back to Kasol was just as terrifying as on the way there, but we checked back into the Alpine in one piece (just!).
The rain set in that night and didn’t let up for the next couple of days - but we were glad we’d had such nice weather for our walk and it was quite comforting just to cosy up in Kasol. We had another look round the shops to see if we could start picking up some gifts to take home, but the selection on display was pretty poor - a mixture of over-priced tat and dirty, musty knit-wear - we decided just to wait until Delhi
We had a last dinner at Bhoj before heading back to our room for a slightly drunken night of final packing (which we’d planned to do the day before but couldn’t as the hotel had given all our laundry back to us soaking wet!) and discussing the Dalai Lama’s philosophies with a fab book that Barry had bought me in Mcleod Ganj - just the average random night ala Barry and Lou
Our final treat before heading back to Delhi was a couple of nights at the sublime Parvati Kuteer, just outside the main town but feeling like a million miles from anywhere. We had a beautiful cottage all to ourselves which was a bit pricey at 2000R per night (including breakfast), but was worth every penny. The staff couldn’t have done more for us and the home-cooked Indian food was spectacular and very reasonable. The weather was still a bit up and down, but we made great use of our gorgeous digs which included the luxury of a bathtub where we whiled away the time (in-between fighting off massive spiders and scorpions!). It was so nice to get some real quality time together before facing the madness of Delhi, and just what we needed as the trip was drawing to a close!