October 25, 2006:
Kathmandu and Bhaktapur
Today was Bhaktapur day. I slept really good and got up around 8 am to have breakfast. Bharat and
I agreed the night before to meet around 9:30 - 10 am in the lobby. Around 9 am, Deepak from
Thirdpole called me and said that Bharat would come a little later as there is a strike announced
from the Maoists for around that morning. They were burning tires at every major intersection in the
city and travelling would be difficult until this was over. Anyway, Bharat called me from the lobby
around 10am and then we drove to Bhaktapur with Nima. On the way over, we could see the
remnants of smolding tires at several intersections and lots of police presence. Much more than I had
seen on any day before. But everything seemed orderly. Once we arrived in Bhaktapur, we parked
the car close to the Western Gate and started walking.
Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traffic-free (at least for the most part), it has
cobblestone streets which link temples, squares and courtyards. We paid our entry fee and our first
stop was the Durbar Square. We went into the Royal Palace which was heavily damaged during a
1934 earthquake. We passed through the Golden Gate which is the entrance to the 55 Window Palace.
We continued our walk through Bhaktapur, went towards the Tachupal Tole, which is the oldest part
of town. In this area, in one of the alleys, is the peacock window. It is reputed to be the finest carved
window in the Kathmandu Valley. It is in a shop in this alley where I bought a couple of wood
carvings.
After this, we had some tea, walked towards
the Taumadhi Tole and finally through the
Pottery Square. Funny thing: The Pottery
Square was used for drying wheat, so wheat
wherever you looked, but no pottery.
We continued our walk through Bhaktapur, finally left the old part of town and went to a large water
tank/basin, called a pokhari, the Siddha Pokhari. Then around the Navpokhu Pokhari back to the
car. Drove back to the hotel where we arrived around 3 pm.
I had a late lunch in the coffee shop of the hotel. Ham & cheese sandwich with french fries. Then I
went to Thamel, did some internet stuff and went back to the Pilgrims Book Store where I spend
some time and bought a couple of books. The one I really like is: "Tiger For Breakfast" by Michel
Peissel. It is the story of the founder of the Nepal Royal Hotel in the 50's and 60's. A very interesting
book and I can recommend this as a great read!

I enjoyed the atmosphere in Thamel immensely. I could really spend some time here!!! I ran into the
Dutch couple from the Gokyo lodge. They are spending a few more days in the Kathmandu Valley.
Later, I went back to my hotel and packed my stuff for the Pokhara trip. Had dinner again at the
Chinese Restaurant at the L'Annapurna Hotel. Everybody there knows me by now and I really like
their food and it hasn't made me sick (yet and didn't). And I love those half liter bottles of Tuborg!
Waiters and I got into another long conversation. Went to bed and fell asleep soon.