Sunrise in Nagarkot

Posted on October 9, 2010

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Nagarkot hills

There's nothing like the Nagarkot foothills in the morning.

 

The best stress reliever in the world is not, as some would guess, yoga. Nor is it a massage. It’s not a hot shower, and it’s not a sauna. No, no, you’re all wrong. The best stress reliever is watching the sun rise over the Himalayas.

Most of last week for me was akin to nails on a blackboard. I had super tight deadlines, several administrative mix-ups, money woes, and a pile of non-freelance-related work haunting me. Needless to say I was feeling antisocial, and I found myself crying out of frustration in the shower one day. (TMI? Too bad.) I told Taylor right away that I needed a break. So what does he do? He tells me not to worry, and that very weekend we are on our way out of town. Perhaps frightened by the prospect of another one of my emotional meltdowns, Taylor hurriedly bundled me into a taxi on Saturday and twenty minutes later, we were winding through uphill roads into the countryside, just the two of us. What a guy.

 

taxi

Inside our blingin' taxi.

 

We were headed to Nagarkot, a mountain village on the highest point in the Kathmandu Valley. It’s to the east of Kathmandu, and it’s famed for its views of the Himalayas in the morning, when the sun hits the peaks in the distance. I got excited just thinking about it.

It was amazing how quickly the valley turned from the dusty, chaotic city into the lush, quiet countryside. Most roads were still dusty but the quality of the air was so different. My lungs felt like they’d been given wings.

 

Nagarkot village

The one intersection in Nagarkot.

 

It took a bit over an hour to reach Nagarkot, which turned out to be an intersection, a bus depot, a tiny row of shops and guest houses along one road, and an army base up the hill on another. We went into a guesthouse and Taylor haggled down the owner from 1,200 rupees a night to 400 for one of his best rooms. It was a major haggling coup and Taylor (deservedly) gloated about it for hours. Then a hike to a picnic spot, a dinner with a view, and a night of marathon card-playing with a random Nepali couple we met filled up the rest of the day.

 

Tay at cafe

Taylor at a cafe.

 

 

rice terraces

We saw plenty of rice terraces on our hike.

 

overlook

Waiting for tea and noodles at an overlook cafe.

But the highlight of the trip came the next morning. Taylor’s alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. and I thought he was going to ignore it, but no, he rustled around, getting ready to go out and see the sunrise. I grudgingly joined him. Still groggy, we trudged after other tourists making the trek up the hill to the lookout point. I was wondering if such exertion was really necessary so early in the morning when Taylor told me to turn around. There, glinting in gold light, was a peak of the Himalayas. Then slowly, another peak appeared. And despite some haze, I could make out the outline of the entire ridge on the horizon. It was our first view of the Himalayas since coming to Nepal. (I’m sorry I didn’t get any good pictures.)

After we got our fill, we walked back to the place where we had dinner the night before. The Sherpa Alpine Lodge was built right on a grassy cliff, overlooking a section of steep valley. We sat on a grassy ledge, ordered breakfast, stretched our legs, and ate as the sun came up. It. Was. Wonderful.

breakfast

Breakfast with the sunrise.

I promise you, this will beat any massage or sauna session any day of the week. Now I’m de-stressed and tackling work again with renewed vigor. And the next time things get to be too much, I know where to go.

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