Here is part 2 of my trip report on tiyul #13 – to India and Nepal! You can find part 1 here.

Day 10, Sunday, April 10th, trek day number 4, from Ghandruk to Deurali

today was one of our hardest days. As usual we woke up at 7:00 breakfast at 8:00 and were out by 9:00. We set off out of the village of Ghandruk and we climbed some stairs to the exit.

Breakfast in Ghandruk

For 2 and a half hours we were hiking in a beautiful forest with rodedendrum’s and so many different types of flowers and trees and it was just absolutely beautiful. After 2 and a half hours we got to a small village called Tadapani which we ate lunch at. Then we had a choice of or to go on or to sleep there. So we decided to go on but if i knew what was coming i might’ve considered that option again. We started to hike and we went down into a valley and climbed a big hill again. Then we got to a village and it started to rain so we had to stop there for about 3o minutes. Then we kept going after the rain got a little lighter and then we got to another village and we had a choice whether or not to sleep or to keep going but we still kept going. This is when it got rough. The next part we were warned that it was going to be tough but we weren’t expecting enough. We started climbing up a lot of stairs and then the rain came, and then the hail came, and it didn’t stop.

Rain cascading down the hill

The climb took about an hour and a half and over the coarse of the whole day we climbed about 1,000 meters in altitude. We finally got to Deurali and believe it or not, the rain stopped right when we got there. Not only that it was raining, we also had to climb about 600 meters at the end of the day when we were already tired. So we settled into our freezing cold room because believe it or not, we were already 3110 meters in altitude. So i took a very warm shower but freezing cold after effects. And then we all bundled up in our sleeping bags trying to get warm.

Day 11, Monday, April 11th, trek day number 5, from Deurali to Ghorepani

today was a very short day but at the same time very tiring. We had to wake up at 5:30 to go up to a mountain called Gurung hill to see the sunrise. But our guide had to wake up half an hour earlier because he had to go up to the mountain and make sure it wasn’t cloudy. It took about 15 minutes to get up but it was so cold and everyone was half asleep. When we got to the top there was this little tower which gave us a better view.

Sunrise at Gurung Hill

Now i’m not going to lie, the view was pretty damn good but in my opinion, poon hill had a better view which we will get to later. So we hiked down and ate breakfast an hour and a half later and started the hike at 9:00. but the hike was only 2 and a half hours so we were lucky. The hike was mostly in a forest and it was also mostly flat. We saw many water buffalo’s but only 1 yak. When we were close to Ghorepani we saw poon hill and we thought that it wasn’t that much but we would have to see about that. We got to Ghorepani very early, like noon or 12:30. and then as usual, right after we came in the rain started to fall for about an hour. And it was hail for about an hour and it was the strongest hail i ever heard in my life. And after the sun came out we got to see a double rainbow.

Hanging clothes on the central heater in the dining room of Ghorepani

The best part about this hotel was that it had a big chimney type thing in the middle of the dining room and there was fire burning inside it and it heated up the whole room. After dinner we headed to bed early because we had to go to poon hill for sunrise again.

Day 12, Tuesday, April 12th, trek day number 6, poon hill, from Ghorepani to Tatopani

it turned out that only me and my brother went up to poon hill. We woke up at 4:30 and we had to bring our headlights because it was still dark. Poon hill is basically a huge hill which you climb 400 meters in an hour and then there is supposed to be the most beautiful view and sunrise in the world. So we started to climb, and of coarse the whole thing was stairs. After climbing about 100 steps there was a sign saying welcome to the poon hill climb.

Welcome to Poon Hill

The climb was not as hard as the day before because maybe we weren’t as high in altitude. As i was saying, the whole thing was stairs. The climb wasn’t hard for my muscles but i had to stop a lot because i couldn’t breathe so well. We finally got to the top and let me tell you, this was the most spectacular, amazing view i have seen in my life. Especially because of the clouds, the sun rays poked right out of them and that part was awesome. So we enjoyed the view, took some pictures and headed back down for breakfast.

Sun peeking through the mountains at Poon Hill

Then at 9:00 we set off on the longest day of the trek. There is not much to say about it except 7 hours of going downhill. My knees hurt so much after this day i could barely stand it. Then we got to Tatopani, which was where the famous hot springs were which was basically relaxing in an outdoor Jacuzzi. Then we settled in to our hotel.

Jacuzzi! Well deserved after a long day

Day 13, Wednesday, April 13th, trek day number 7, from Tatopani to Jomsom to Kagbeni

today wasn’t as hard of a day then the day before. We had to take a 6 hour jeep or bus ride which turned out to be a jeep in the end and the ride was 4 hours because we took a shortcut.

Our jeep (with Santos, Kaldan and Krishna, our porters)

We left Tatopani on the jeep at 8ish and we set off on the bumpiest rode in the world and i’m not just saying that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the driver would fly off a cliff at any second. On the way we stopped at a place called Marpha which had the best apple pie in the world, actually, i would die for another one of those.

Best apple pie in the world (really)

We finally got to Jomsom after the worst jeep ride of my life. Jomsom was the village which we would fly back to Pokhara from. Then we walked from Jomsom to Kagbeni. The walk was very flat on the same jeep road that we took to get there. The walk was about 2 and a half hours long and it wasn’t very interesting either because once we left Tatopani we reached a desert terrain for the rest of the trek. So it was basically a lot like israel just with snowy mountains in the background. We got to Kagbeni and it was quite cold so we went into our rooms and then we ate dinner and then we went back into our rooms.

Day 14, Thursday, April 14th, trek day number 8, from Kagbeni to Mukhtinath

today was our last day of trekking but we were not aware of that because we were meant to hike another day but in the end we decided to take a jeep so we could tour. We woke up at our normal times and after breakfast we went for a little tour of Kagbeni which was quite interesting.

Ancient Kabeni

Then we started on the biggest ascent of the whole trip. Over the course of the whole day we climbed around a kilometer which is 1,000 meters! The whole day was on a jeep road but luckily we had an amazing view of the mountains in front and in back of us. The road gradually went up and it wasn’t as hard as most days because it wasn’t stairs and when your walking on a wide jeep road you don’t have to concentrate on what your doing as much as you do with stairs.

The jeep road to Muktinath

The trail gradually went up and after about 2 and a half hours of walking we got to a place called Jarkhot which we ate lunch at. Then around an hour and a half later we set off for a more steep climb. It wasn’t that much steeper until the end but even on the non steep parts i was suffering because i couldn’t breath so well, by then we were already 3,700 meters in altitude. We walked up and up until we got to our final trek destination which was Mukhtinath. We settled in and froze up that night.

The gate to Muktinath

Day 15, Friday, April 15th, touring in old Mukhtinath and jeep ride to Jomsom

today we got to get a tour of old Mukhtinath. We first had to walk up about 100 meters to old Mukhtinath and i was amazed when we got there because the whole place was surrounded by a white wall and it was very cool. We went up the stairs a bit more and we got to a very cool spot which was basically 108 water fountains with animal heads and water coming out of their mouths.

In front of the 108 fountains

Then since my mom and sister were very tired and they wanted to shop a little bit. me, my dad and brother parted them and went up 200 meters to a bridge which leads up to the pass which is basically 2 huge mountains which come together. And the bridge was huge, i threw a rock off it and i could’ve sworn i saw it splatter into 1,000 little pieces. And then me and my brother thought it would’ve been really cool to go up to a patch of snow about 50 meters off the trail and we got so excited because there is never snow in israel. I even carried some back in my hat for my mom and sister to see.

I finally got to the snow

Then we packed our suitcases and walked over to where our jeep was waiting for us to take us to Jomsom. The jeep had room for about 12 people or so and we had to sit in the back sideways which was terrible.

In the dusty jeep

At one point i felt too nauseous so i had to move up to the front. The ride was about 1 hour or so and when we got to Jomsom it was so windy, we couldn’t believe it. The planes from Jomsom only take off in the morning because it’s so windy. So we got to our hotel, the Trekkers Inn. And we settled in and had a very tasty Shabbat dinner and then we got into our sleeping bags for one of the last times.

Day 16, Saturday, April 16th, Shabbat in Jomsom

today we all got to sleep in. Me my brother my mom and my dad had a late breakfast and then we had lunch at around 12:45 or so. After lunch we decided to go on a little day hike which was a bit out of Jomsom. We started walking but my mom sister and brother had to turn back because it was too windy for them but me and my dad pushed on. There was one point on the hike where we had to cross a cliff on the side of the cliff and we knew that at any second the wind could’ve blown us off. The walk in total took us about 2 and a half hours and then we went back to the hotel and had a nice dinner and we got into our sleeping bags for the very last time that trip. πŸ™

Day 17, Sunday, April 17th, flight back to Pokhara and drive back to Kathmandu

today we woke up very early to catch the 7 o’clock flight to Pokhara. The flight was absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you look you were really close to land or on the same level of snow and stuff like that. When we got to pokhara we had to take a six hour car ride to Kathmandu which was the most hottest most boring ride in my life. The roads were all paved so that wasn’t a problem. But the air conditioning did not work in the van and my earphones broke so when i tried to sleep i would just be too hot. When we finally got back to Kathmandu we were back at the Tibet Guest House which was the same hotel we stayed at before the trek. But we did get upgraded to a presidential sweet which was pretty nice even though it was a 2 star hotel.

The Presidential Suite at the Tibet Guest House

Later that night we went out to this nice green organic place which had very delicious food.

The sign doesn't look like much but the food was amazing

Then we went back to our hotels and got into cleaner blankets then on the trek.

Day 18, Monday, April 18th, touring and Kathmandu and the passover seder in the Yak and Yeti hotel

today was a touring day and the famous passover with 1,000 israelis sitting in a big hall. We went outside and we had to find 2 taxis, 1 holding 3 people and 1 holding 2 people. We drove to a place called Patan which one of the 3 kingdoms in Kathmandu. It was basically the same thing as Bakhtapur so it wasn’t so interesting to me.

A day in Patan

Then we had had lunch and went back to our hotel to shower and get ready for the passover. We first walked over to the chabad house but then we found out that everyone would be at this hotel called the Yak and Yeti. So we had to walk another 20 minutes to the Yak and Yeti. When we finally got there i was amazed at how huge the hotel was. Everything in it was fancy. We got ourselves into the big hall which was huge! It fit about 500 round tables with 6-10 people in each table and the chandeliers were amazing, especially when they turned the lights on in them. But the seder was the fastest seder in my life. They got from the beginning to the main meal in 50 minutes. After the meal we left. It was defiantly an experience but not one i would do again.

Day 19, Tuesday, April 19th, chag in Kathmandu, Nepal

today we finally got to sleep in. Unfortunately we didn’t get to sleep in that much because we were awoken by the hot water generator which was right above our celling which, later on, we found out it’s piece fell off and it was bouncing around in the tank. We had a little breakfast of fruit and matza and at 12 we head off to the Chabad house where we would be eating lunch. We got there about half way through dovening and within an hour or so we were all seated on 3 big tables. The meal wasn’t much. The main meal was maybe 2 dishes or less, the Matza was still plain old Matza. We got through the meal in about 3 hours and then we headed back to our hotel and relaxed for the rest of the day.

Day 20, Wednesday, April 20th, touring day in Kathmandu, Nepal

today was a very interesting day. First we took a half hour walk to a place which is nicknamed the monkey temple. You first have to climb exactly 365 steps to the top and along the way there are monkeys everywhere. When you get to the top there is a fantastic view of all of Kathmandu which is also the highest place in Kathmandu there are also a bunch of ruins as usual.

They don't call it the "monkey temple" for nothing

Then we walked down a different way from where we came and then we walked another half hour to our lunch stop and then i decided to rest in the hotel because i had a terrible rash and could not walk so i could not tell you what was on the rest of the day.

Day 21, Thursday, April 21st, flight to Mumbai, India and Tel aviv, Israel

we finally reached the end of our trip. We left the hotel to get to the airport at around 9:00. our flight was at 12:00. we safely landed in Mumbai, India. Then we had a 8 hour layover in Mumbai! So we watched some movies bought some food and before we knew it (just kidding!) we were getting on the plane to Tel Aviv. And of course, how would i be writing this if we didn’t land home safely.

The end.

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tiyul number 13 – India and Nepal – part 1

by Aviv Blum on July 22, 2011

Here it is – my complete trip report on tiyul #13 – to India and Nepal – divided into 2 parts! This is part 1

Day 1, Friday, April 1st, arrival at Mumbai, India

after about 1 and a half years of planning, we finally set off to our amazing trip to nepal. We left our home in jerusalem at 2:15 in the morning to catch the 7:05 flight to Mumbai, India. We got to the airport and slowly made our way to the plane. The flight was approximately 8 hours long, it was also an el al flight. We got to india at about 4:40 p.m and just as we were standing outside the entrance we understood how hot and miserable India was. Then we had to take an unbearable taxi ride from the airport to the hotel and it took us 2 hours because of the traffic!

Inside the taxi from the airport

We finally got to the y.w.c.a (like the y.m.c.a just with women instead). We settled in for a short and late friday night dinner at the hotel which was basically just spicy food and soup. Then we were very exhausted so we got our rooms and crashed.

Day 2, Saturday, April 2nd, shabbat in Mumbai, India

even though it was Shabbat we woke up fairly early because we had to get to the chabad synagogue. we first walked walked to the chabad house which was where we were eating lunch and which was where we thought we were dovening but then this guy in there told us we had to walk 15 minutes away from there to get to the synagogue where everyone was praying at. Luckily, because it was so hot the day before it was not hot at all that day so even though we were in the sun a lot it wasn’t hot at all. So we took that walk and we got to the synagogue and the dovening was about 1 hour and then all of us walked to the chabad house where we came in the beginning and then we ate a very delicious lunch. It was a house and we all sat around a table, it was about 15- 16 people. We made some friends but soon after lunch we went back to the hotel because some of us were really tired. At about 4 we all took a really nice walk which ended up on the beach and the cool thing was is that they had man made rocks all across the shore which look like a plus sign and there’s probably like 1,000 of them and they are pretty big. Then we went back to the hotel and settled in for the night.

Day 3, Sunday, april 3rd, touring day in Mumbai, India

today was our first actual touring day in Mumbai. Unlike yesterday, today was really hot, probably about 35 degrees. We were supposed to go on a boat ride to an island with cool paintings but because of the cricket game the night before it was closed. So we luckily found a guide who arranged a tour around Mumbai for us.

The largest hand washing laundry in the world

Our first stop was the biggest hand washing laundry place in the world where it’s basically tens of people washing other peoples clothes by hand and it was pretty cool. Our next stop was a museum all about gandhi which was pretty interesting, we stayed there for about 45 minutes. Then we went to this really cool temple where there are Monk’s and Buddhists praying and bowing in front of candles. Then we went to what was supposed to be the boat ride to that island but then we decided not to go because we didn’t know when the boat ride would’ve gone and and come back.

The train station where we ate lunch (it wasn't very clean)

So instead we ate lunch at the station where the boat was supposed to come to and then we went to this old city type of thing with tons shops everywhere and people calling to you every second β€œhalo i give you good price, just have a look in my store.” That part really annoyed me about India and Kathmandu, but what annoyed me even more was the honking, i don’t know why they would put signs on the back of cars saying “honk ok please” but it bugs the hell out of me.

Horn OK Please

Then we went back to the hotel and amir and merav went out alone to buy some stuff and then we all settled in for our last night in the y.w.c.a.

Day 4, Monday, April 4th, arrival in Kathmandu

today we had to wake up at 4 in the morning to catch the flight from Mumbai India to Kathmandu Nepal. The drive to the airport was much faster because it was earlier in the morning. We made it safely to Kathmandu and met our our guide who was called pasang temba sherpa who i loved as a guide. Then we settled in to our hotel and then we had quite a lot of shopping to do. I bought juggling balls and a coat. We also bought a sleeping bag and scarfs and we found this Tibetan food called mo mo which was amazing. Then we went back to the hotel and were done for the night.

You can buy anything in Kathmandu

Day 5, Tuesday, April 5th, touring day in Kathmandu

today was basically a temple day. Because all kathmandu has for touring is temples and these other types of temples called stupa’s. Our first stop was this huge white solid rock dome with some type of holly golden thing with a face drawn on it. But the dome was huge, it was about 59 meters up i’d say. That was a really cool part of the day in my opinion. The dome was also built in the 4th century. Which is awesome.

The "stupa" at Boudha

Then we went to a place where a lot of dead people get burnt. I know you think i’m crazy but all of the people in nepal get burnt when they die. We also saw them burning actual dead people when we were there which was pretty disgusting.

Burning the dead in Pashupatinath

After that we took a 45 minute drive to a city outside of Kathmandu called Bakhtapur which is basically the coolest old stuff i ever saw. There were a lot of towers with levels of squares going up. There were also lots of statues and birds. We also ate lunch there.

Me and Merav in Bahktapur

Then we drove back to Kathmandu which took us over an hour and then we we went out to eat mo mo’s in a mo mo restaurant then we went back to our hotel, the tibet guest house and we settled in for the night.

Day 6, Wednesday, April 6th, flight to Pokhara and start of trek, from Phedi to Pothana

today we woke up at 5:30 again to catch the 8 o’clock flight to Pokhara. Luckily, breakfast at our hotel opened at six so we got to eat breakfast before we left. Once again there wasn’t that much traffic because it was pretty early. We got on a teeny tiny plane which can hold 20 people but the flight was amazing. Everywhere you looked there were mountains and when you looked down you could be so close to the ground you’d think the plane would crash, but after all the flight was awesome.

Getting off the plane in Pokhara

We got to a main city in Nepal called Pokhara which had a huge lake, unfortunately, we were not going to stay in pokhara, instead we drove 45 minutes away from there to a place called phedi. We saw a huge mountain while we were driving and i was praying that, that wouldn’t be the mountain we were climbing but sure enough we stopped on the side of the road and facing us were stairs leading up the mountain. But before i go any further, i just want to say that if you go trekking in nepal 70% of the trek will be downhill or uphill but mostly it will be stairs. In fact i can’t even remember a flat path or a path at all.

Steps everywhere!

So as i was saying, we started climbing, and this is not like one of the hikes in israel where you climb for like 20 minutes and then you’re flat for the rest of the hike. This was a staircase which you think you see the ending but then there is another hill of 200 steps.

Resting on a particularly steep staircase

We climbed for about 2 and a half hours and gained about 300 meters in altitude but then we got to a part where the forest cleared up and boy was it a view. And it was basically like that the whole trip on every corner we turned. we got to a less steep part for about 20 minutes and then it went up again, we finally got to damphus which was where we ate lunch. After that we kept walking uphill for about an hour and a half but this part was more gradual. We got in to our hotel just before the rain started to fall, or should i say the hardest hail i’ve seen in 5 years! We literally got in and five seconds later it started to hail for about half an hour.

View from our tea house in Pothana

We ate dinner a couple hours later and they also made us a fire to sit around. Then we settled in for the night and got into our sleeping bags knowing we would have to do this every night for the next 11 days.

Day 7, Thursday, April 7th, trek day number 2, from Pothana to Landrung

today was probably the easiest day we had on the whole trek. Every day we woke up at 7:15 and were at breakfast by 8:00 and out on the hike by 9:00. that was the schedule for most days. We started hiking and we went up a hill with lots of stairs (why would we expect otherwise?) It was a little tough for me because my feet were still aching from all the stairs from the day before but i was o.k overall. We climbed for about 500 meters but then we went down for 800 meters! The whole first part of the day before lunch was with stairs.

Welcome to the Namaste Tea House

We got to our lunch spot and ate at a tea house called namaste which is also the welcoming word for the nepalese people to each other. After lunch it was a relatively flat trail all the way to landrung which was our second night on the trail. We settled in and after dinner we were invited to this festival there right outside our room with dancing and booming music, so we decided because there was no way that we could could sleep we might as well just watch this.

Merav and Imma dancing

It finally finished 3 and a half hours after it started, i was asleep but my sister told me that they played Shakira and Green Day in the end.

Day 8, Friday, April 8th, trek day number 3, from Landrung to Ghandruk

today was a tough day in my opinion. Ever since we got to Landrung we saw a view of a huge hill facing us and a tiny little village twice as tall as we were, and this whole time we knew we were going to have to climb it.

Looking back at Landrung from Gandruk (see the red arrow pointing down) - we had to climb down to the river from there and all the way back up! Merav seems happy.

As usual, at 9:00 o’clock we set off down into the valley below to climb 500 meters of a steep stair mountain. The trail down to the valley was steep and hurt my knees a little bit. It took us 45 minutes or an hour to get down to the river where we had to cross a average size metal suspension bridge.

From the bridge it was straight up!

After we crossed it we rested a bit, looked at what we climbed down and at some cool bee hives and then we started our 3 hour climb up the big mountain we’ve been waiting for. The first half an hour was easy for me but as the trail went on and seemed never ending as it did i started to lose energy and the trail began to take it’s toll. We climbed for about 2 and a half hours and we stopped at a little house knowing we only had 30 minutes left. So we rested for 15 minutes and kept climbing the long climb. We finally reached a part where the trail flattened a bit and we knew we were almost there. And then, there it was, the wooden arch with a sign on it saying Ghandruk! We climbed for another 5 minutes and we got to our lunch stop and ate. After lunch we climbed for another 10 minutes in the village of Ghandruk and we got to our hotel. We had to wash clothes too which was unusual for me because i’ve never washed my clothes by hand before.

Washing my socks

Then we rested in our room until dinner and then we had a very nice friday night dinner and then we settled into our rooms for the night.

Day 9, Saturday, April 9th, resting day in Ghandruk

today was a very restful and relaxing day. We slept in, had a nice lunch at 12:30 as we usually do on normal Shabbats back at home. Then after lunch we took a nice little walk a bit out of Ghandruk. We crossed a cool bridge, got to a very pretty view point of Ghandruk, and then we headed back. At that point of the trek we were already like 2000 meters above sea level. We got back to our hotel and enjoyed the rest of our evening.

Part 2 of my report will appear next week. Stay tuned!

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Highlights from my bar mitzvah

by Aviv Blum on March 25, 2011

Abba made this video with “highlights” from my bar mitzvah. You can see some of the people who came, the music and megilla readings from me, Merav and Amir. Click here to watch it on YouTube in HD.

The music, by the way, is from the Nava Tehila “band” who led a rock and roll Maariv service set to tunes from the Beatles and even the Bee Gees.

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Abba’s video

by Aviv Blum on March 25, 2011

Abba made a video for my bar mitzvah with all my friends and family. Click here to watch it on YouTube in HD.

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My bar mitzvah drash

by Aviv Blum on March 25, 2011

Here is video of the speech I gave during my bar mitzvah – it’s a “travel guide” to my year of tiyulim. Click here to watch it on YouTube in HD.

Click the link below and you can download a PDF with a summary of my 12 hikes.
12 great bar mitzvah hikes
. Here’s the text of my drash:

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Imma’s speech at my bar mitzvah

by Aviv Blum on March 25, 2011

Imma and me after the speech

Aviv – Yasher Koach – good job on your reading tonight, on learning the megilla so well, and on your drash. You made Imma and Abba proud. Now I have a few things I wanted to say to you.

[click to continue…]

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“Walk like Aviv” – a song for my bar mitzvah

March 25, 2011

Our friends Shelley and David Brinn, Debbie and Eliot Zimulmen, and Lori and Yitzhak Ben-Dayan wrote and performed a song at my bar mitzvah. Click here to watch it on YouTube in HD. Or watch it below. Lyrics included.

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tiyul number 12 – upper nahal david

March 15, 2011

February 25, 2011. well, as far as our family bar mitzvah hikes, this was our last one except for Nepal. in my opinion, it was the greatest hike of them all, you could say that that’s why we saved it for last. Although it was exceedingly hot it was still very amazing. we woke up […]

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tiyul number 11 – park rabin

February 15, 2011

January 28th 2011. well we are now only one hike away from finishing my 12 bar mitzvah hikes, it’s really amazing that we have managed to accomplish so much. well, at the end of the January we set off to our eleventh hike in park Rabin. it was a very good hike, and my first […]

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tiyul number 10 – red canyon

January 12, 2011

December 8, 2010. tiyul number ten was good. we spent 3 nights and 4 days in Eilat. 3 out of 4 days we were hiking there. in our day off we went snorkeling. tiyul number ten was on our last day on our way out. we drove up to the starting point and we were […]

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