Welshman Walking Blog: Returns Part 1

 

Welshman Walking Blog : Returns

My Own Bucket List

When Bucket List was in its infancy, Co Founder Andy, created a blog called Welshman Walking. This was about his first journey to Nepal where he was heading to Mt Everest for the first time. The writing took him from the busy Airport at London Heathrow, all the way to the foot of the tallest mountain on earth, Mt Everest, and back to Kathmandu.

As with any journey his was so much more than just reaching the destination. The realisation of a lifetime ambition, the friends he made on the trails, the hospitality he enjoyed from the Nepalese people and the life experiences he went through all added to the story. I hope you enjoy reading about this journey as much as Andy enjoyed living it. We will be posting each blog throughout the next few weeks starting with our first today, in the build up to some of our planned expeditions in spring 2017! Keep a sharp eye on the horizon for more news.

 

Windy in the Mountains. Cheers!

I have finally reached the day of departure with exciting anticipation. A pint of premium lager going down nicely whilst i think about the journey ahead.
All of this whilst everyone else around me is thinking more or less the same thing i reckon. I look around the airport and wonder what each person is doing and where they are going, what loved ones have they said goodbye too, What things have they forgotten to pack, what will the food be like on the flight, what gate am i meant to be going too, wheres the toilet?!
People watching is great entertainment with a pint and i kept my eyes peeled and with open ears listening intently. The usual complaints were dispensed, about the wonderful wet weather in the UK and how slow check in was but conversation soon turned turns to the journey ahead and i started to think about my own challenges lying ahead.
The trip with months of planning seemingly ages away had suddenly sprung on me. At first i had the usual butterflies in my stomach thinking about it all but when i thought about what the trip was for and what i would get out of the trip, my mind was at ease. I couldn’t wait to get off the plane in Kathmandu and explore the city and find out what makes it tick.  Finding out what the local beer was high on my priorities and taking a look at the local food. However , I had to focus on the trek and a bout of Delhi belly would not be a great start to the journey so caution will need to be had when eating out. I think ill try the local food when i get back from the trek and if i’m ill at that point, well, ill make use of the wonderful airline toilets on the way back!!

As we finally departed a little after 6pm i settled into my window seat and kicked back with my trusty lonely planet guide for Himalayan trekking. Sitting next to me was a Nepalese man who seemed like an interesting bloke. He explained that he was from the Annapurna region of Nepal, west of Kathmandu. When he noticed the book i was reading and my trekking jacket i was wearing,  he realized i was going on some sort of trek or expedition, He explained that he was making a journey back to his home village where he was born deep in the mountains. His eyes definitely look like they had a story to tell so i mentioned that i was going on a trek to Everest Base camp and through the 3 passes and had completed some of  my trekking training in Brecon, mid Wales. His eyes lit up with a sort of lingering pain and he explained that he was a military man who completed most of his training in the Welsh mountains and that it was a tough area hiking. He knew Pen Y Fan and the other peaks in the area and he mentioned the blustery wind and the bad visibility as hard obstacles to overcome in that area. I certainly couldn’t argue with that. There was me thinking, wow this guy is from the Himalayas and even he thinks Brecon is a little nuts and stated that he had huge respect for the Welsh mountains. I like this guy! When the air hostess came over to offer food and drink I ordered my daily staple, a beer and the Nepalese guy went for a nice glass of red and we toasted to having respect for the mountains in Wales and definitely in Nepal and also to a safe journey ahead.

As we came towards the end of the flight i took in the views below as we started to descend and checked the altitude on the flight graphics. It read 5635 meters which was roughly the same height as my final destination on the trek. Jesus that’s high!
Flying over Istanbul, the gateway between Asia and Europe with the Bosphorus at its heart. Heading over this huge expanse of bright lights makes me want to visit this city and i added it to my to do list.
We landed with ease like the pilot had done it a million times and taxied to the terminal ready for a drink of water, i was parched and the flight was running late due to a head wind apparently. As we got closer I looked across the runway and a Hercules type aircraft was stationary and had a symbol i recognized instantly as the German Luftwaffe cross. As the side of the aircraft came into view it had ‘Luftwaffe’ written on the side. It looked very new hence the frowned expression on my face. A random site if ever i saw one.

I arrived in the Istanbul transit gate area and found a nice seat to write a little more about the journey. I had about 3 hours until my next flight so no rush i thought and i got typing away. After 20 or 30 minutes i had this feeling that something wasn’t right but i didn’t know what. I packed my laptop away and decided to see if my flight had popped up onto the screen so i could check what time the gate was open and when i could board. I looked and looked but couldn’t see Kathmandu anywhere on the screen even going into the next days flights. I waited until the English translation for each destination came up but again nothing. I got my flight details out and it definitely read a 3 hour wait between my 2 flights and i had only just landed. Hmmmmm.
I checked my boarding pass for the next flight however and it read last boarding 23:55 and it was 01:00. Bugger!!!!!!

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