A long, long lunch

Saturday, 18 Jan, 2020

Gatlang (2300m)- Tatopani (2600m)

The rain continued well into the night. We were cosy in our sleeping bags with an extra blanket each. At around 4am dogs started barking and continued on and off for the next hour or so. One very determined dog would continue to bark when the others fell silent, just to make sure we knew he was there.

We woke to clearing skies and snow topped mountains. We were to be ready for breakfast at 7:30 so allowed an hour to get up and packed. Unfortunately, I spent quite a bit of that time on the toilet with an upset stomach that didn't bode well for our first day walking. Come 7:30 we were almost ready for breakfast but our bags weren't quite packed for the porters so Simon and I had a bit of a scramble to get things sorted. The kids were more organised and were ready to go.

We had preordered omelettes for breakfast which were easy to eat on an unsettled stomach. We also ordered a big pot of hot water which provided enough for coffees, teas and to fill our flasks. By 8:15 we were ready to go.

We headed down through Gatlang which was full of people going about their daily business. We past a Tibetan money wall on the edge of town and made a point of walking to the left of it as per cultural preferences.

It was easy walking along a wide track with stunning views back across to Gatlang and the snow capped mountains. Apparently these mountains don't normally have snow so we enjoyed the view even more.

After a brief porter loo stop, we headed downhill towards the river, and through a little village. We watched a man tend to his cows which were quite playful, almost throwing him off balance as they jostled around him.

We soon reached the bigger town of Chimle, which had a lot of building work underway. We crossed our first suspension bridge, a very solid structure so we felt quite safe.

Then we started to head up hill. The path was steep and I was feeling quite unwell. Simon was also starting to feel nauseous and we slowed our pace and took a few rest stops. We were pleased to reach our lunch stop and have a rest. We ordered some ginger, lemon and honey tea. I ordered vegetable soup, whilst Simon had potato Momo's. Georgia ordered curry and chappatis whilst Jonno ordered Dema which turned out to be noodles and potatoes. There was a lone woman working in the kitchen so with four different orders to complete as well as food for the guide and porters, it turned out to be a long wait.

The dining area was the typical style of padded benches around the windowed walls with tables in front of the benches. A wind had picked up so we moved inside and made ourselves comfortable. I am sure I dozed off a few times. The food was delicious and by the time we had all eaten, some two hours had passed and Simon and I were feeling much better.

We continued climbing, eventually reaching the road to Tatopani which we could see in the distance. It was pleasant walking though it still took over an hour to reach it. Disappointingly, the hot springs for which Tatopani was famous stopped flowing after the earthquake in 2015. According to one very old local, the springs had stopped flowing once before and then started again some five or six years later. I guess time will tell.

We walked through the town to Eco guesthouse Our rooms were above the dining area which meant they felt at least 5 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Simon and I had the front room with lovely views down the valley. We all had a hot shower and sorted our gear before heading down to sit by the fire and order dinner.