As I write, the rain is pounding on the tin roof of the patio outside our hotel room so loudly we can hardly hear each other speak. We have just returned from a thirteen kilometer walk up and down the hills and terraces of this beautiful valley overlooking the Himalayas just east of Kathmandu. Our timing is perfect – we have spent the last four hours in the sunshine and only in the last few minutes did we experience a few drops. Now the sky has opened and the clamor is incredible.
We have spent a couple of days in Kathmandu and arrived here in Nagarkot at what one hotel calls “the end of the universe” to experience the sunsets and sunrises over the mountains and to walk the valley. Last evening the setting sun transformed the sky and mountains an intense pink at the same time a pale moon rose behind the peaks on the opposite side of the sky. We stood on the roof terrace with a dozen other guests snapping pictures and exchanging words of amazement at the spectacle.
We awoke about half past five this morning just as the darkness was beginning to fade. We watched from our patio as dozens of peaks emerged in silhouette on the other side of the valley while down below a heavy cloudbank covered the land and the hills poked through like little floating islands. As the light continued to appear, the birds began to sing, all at once, a symphony of calls to the dawn. Slowly slowly the sky began to glow, a rosy veil bouncing off the far off summits and bringing the valley into detailed focus below us. And as the sun peeked through and began to rise, the whole landscape came alive. What a miracle of nature.
We joined another couple for our walk through the villages nearby, following a rough map provided by the hotel. For the first hour or more we walked downhill overlooking the terraced farms where barley, rapeseed and marigolds painted an abstract of layered curves and colours. In the villages, we were greeted with “Namaste” by young and old alike. Then we began to climb, a slow ascent tracing our way around the outcroppings, a dense rainforest foliage on the shadow sides and tall trees and sun-baked vegetation on the other. We had a lunch of fried rice and beer at a new resort near our hotel, a welcome stop after our morning walk. And now, the rain has stopped, the sky is brightening and I am hoping for another breathtaking sunset tonight.