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What a lovely hike! Starting in the shadow if the biggest statue of Shiva that's perched on the hill at Sanga, we took the trail that went up. Not very steep, the first part of the way is upwards. It wasn't long before we reached the top of the hill where we were supposed to get some tremendous views. However, the late monsoon and cloudy weather meant that we didn't see the promised panoramic views. I have been in this corner of the Kathmandu Valley before, so I knew what I was missing. Maybe it was just as well my friends didn't know what they were missing as on a clear day, you can see the Himalayas stretching as far as the eye can see.
The hike was very interesting, passing through villages, along paddies, up and down little trails that criss-crossed the hillside. Sometimes walking through forest, sometimes along ridge paths, the scenery was varied and we met lots of local people going about their day to day business. Schools were on holiday so it was nice saying hello to children who wanted to practice their English with 'What is your name?' and 'Where are you from?'
Too soon we were descending to Panauti, the lovely Newar town on the other side of the hill we'd climbed. Visiting first the homestay where the Community Homestay Coordinator lives, we were shown to the homestay where we were to have lunch. Here my friends and I tucked into one of the nicest dal bhats I've had for a long time. Dal bhat is the Nepali staple of rice served with lentil soup and vegetable curry. Our hostess had gone to town with a wonderful selection of vegetable curries, homemade pickles and we left very full, to explore the historic sights of Panauti.
This historic Newar town in the Kathmandu Valley has not changed much at all over the years. I first visited in 1994 and the old part of town still looks very much the same, with women winnowing the corn, piles of grain stacked on plastic sheets in the streets full of old houses. After a quick tour of the little old durbar and ghats by the river, we took a slow stroll back through the town to the bus park where my friends caught their bus back to Bhaktapur where they were staying, 15 minutes away.
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