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Nepal – Lukla to Kathmandu – 22nd March

Day 21: Flight out of Lukla to Kathmandu

Up early and ready for our exhilarating flight leaving the Himalayas behind and arriving back in Kathmandu (after 21 days of hiking) in under 30 minutes! The weather looked favorable and from the window of the Northface Lodge we could see planes landing and departing. We made the 5 minute walk through Lukla town to the airport which is quite the site to behold. You walk behind the runway and get a great view looking down the steep tarmac to the cliff as the tarmac disappears over a cliff face.

Checking in for our 7am flight was relatively easy, bags weighed and tagged, airport departure taxes paid (we paid 150rs each) security searches and then arrival into the departure “lounge”. Passenger and delivery planes arrived and departed with surprising efficiency whilst we waiting to be called. At 8am our plane arrived and we were hurried onto the 12 seater aircraft and greeted by the lone air hostess.

Takeoff is an exhilarating experience that rapidly descends downhill and as we became airborne a little cheer from one or two passengers emerged. The views are obviously exquisite and it was great to see some of the paths that we hiked and the villages that we frequented whilst hiking. The video (taken on the Olympus Pen) hopefully gives a little flavor of the experience…

Upon landing in Kathmandu we collected our bags and exited the airport with surprising speed and jumped in a taxi. Kathmandu, in the three weeks that we were absent, had dramatically increased in temperature and we were soon stripping off the mountain layers. We returned to spend the evening at Pilgrims Guest house where we had stored luggage and utilised the free safety deposit box. Dave required a haircut and beard trim before we settled back into city life which cost 150rs.

We also arranged for the collection of our Indian Visas and passports, we had left them with Deepak at Mount Fuji Adventures and Laxmi from the Indian Embassy. With a little waiting around to do they didn’t let us down and by 6pm we had our passports back with the Indian visa stuck firmly inside. We did have to return to the embassy with Laxmi earlier on that day so that they could confirm that it was indeed us applying for the visas but that’s all we needed to do. The steep fees for arranging an agent to take care of this meant that we were able to undertake our trek without the stresses of waiting in Kathmandu for several or more days.

Hiking in the Himalayas was quite possibly the highlight of our travels so far. The friends we made along the way, the locals who provided shelter and food, the mountains for such wonderful awe inspiring views, the quite perfect weather conditions and the feeling of personal and physical accomplishment was every bit we could have wished for. We are certain that one day we will be back for more!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8 processed in Lightroom 3)

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  2. Nepal – Kathmandu – 23rd-26th March For our final few days left in Nepal we spent the majority of our time recuperating after the trek. Once we had our Indian visas...
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