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There is wind where the rose was,
Cold rain where sweet grass was,
And clouds like sheep
Stream o'er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.

Nought warm where your hand was,
Nought gold where your hair was,
But phantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was.

Cold wind where your voice was,
Tears, tears where my heart was,
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.

November by Walter de la Mare
August
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Another road trip - Nepal

mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
edited August 30 in Countries and Travel
Rather than start a new topic and as this is continuing on the same theme, I have amended Road Trip to post news of my adventure in Nepal.

Tomorrow I am taking a bus to Pokhara from Kathmandu. Pokhara is Nepal's second city, very popular for its proximity to the Annapurnas and a good base for trekking. I will be visiting a hotel (work) and then continuing the road trip to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. I then will visit a couple of homestays, before staying a few days with friends near Bardia National Park where if I'm very lucky, I might get to see a tiger.

Continuing via another homestay I start a little expedition into the unknown, taking a guide to help hiring private vehicles in some places as we try to find a route between two little visited national parks in the far western side of Nepal. Finishing at Rara Lake, I hope to then fly back to Kathmandu, probably getting back at the beginning of the last week in September when I should have a couple of weeks in Kathmandu before flying back to France.

I'm a glutton for punishment as I will be travelling on local buses most of the way (at least 1300km on roads I can find information about, and another few hundred kilometres across dirt roads, with a few days of walking.

I know a few you enjoy following my travels. Please ask questions if you want to know more. And please excuse me if there are periods when I will be silent or typos as I will be trying to keep in contact with a mobile and dodgy signals in rural areas.

Here is a map of where I will be exploring (banke, Bardia, Khaptad and Rara National Parks.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@28.832283,81.6943906,9z/data=!4m2!10m1!1e2
Post edited by mheredge on
Tagged:
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Comments

  • VokVok Posts: 1,625 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm not a big fan of travelling by bus but the last time I used Flixbus I was in awe of how good they are. That said, I'd choose a bus only if it's a day trip and wouldn't tough it overnight. Travel by bus is very affordable I must add, though. I'd love to hear about your adventure more @mheredge . Please keep us updated.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    I hope that you enjoy your latest trip. I have only ever had negative experience on long bus journeys so I would be interested to have another go and try a good company.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    Yesterday's 4 1/2 hours was a breeze in comparison.

    Today we took a speedboat for 90 minutes along the main channel of the Danube River to Sulina, a small town at the end of the river, not far from the sea. Ukraine is not far so there's a coast guard presence, plus a few naval vessels that I guide joked was the whole navy.

    With two Italian couples, I had a wonderful traditional fish stew, typical of the area. We also sampled some local homemade liquor made from green walnuts. After we went out into the delta by boat to see birds and dolphins swimming around us.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    Today started with another boat ride but in another direction, along narrow water channels full of water lilies. We were then taken in a safari vehicle to what was described as the only European tropical forest. Much of the forest becomes like a mangrove forest in the spring when the River Danube water level rises and floods it.

    Near where we got off our boat to explore the forest was a big nest on top of a telephone post with a stork and it's chicks.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    We explored another of the three main channels to the sea today. This time we were in a speed boat which at times flew along at over 40 kilometres an hour. We crossed some large lakes as we headed to the sea south of Sunali.

    When we were went out a short way into the sea, we could see the very distinctive line where the brown, muddy Danube water met the clear sea water.

    We walked from the small port to a beautiful beach where we had a picnic of strawberries and a glass of 'champagne' (prosecco) before rushing back to catch our boat back.
  • bfluentmanishbfluentmanish Posts: 328 Inactive
    @mheredge
    It sounds wonderful to read about your travel trip.
    Can i ask ? What will be the duration of your journey.
    Which place you like the most so far and why ?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    I have so far been travelling one week, with four to go. This morning the sunrise over the Black Sea was truly amazing. I'm now back in Bucharest, having just had the most delicious grilled trout in what looked like a very ordinary railway station cafe. What was it you told me once about railway restaurants @filauzio? I met a British guy at my guesthouse who was great company and has travelled to many places I have been to, so we had a very nice evening swapping travel stories.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    Today I visited the same restaurant I went to on 15 August 1981. I remember the date as it was my friend's birthday. The restaurant was also where important treaties were signed during the Balkans Crisis in the 1870s. I took some photos to send to my friend to remind her of our exciting interrail journey.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm not sure it was me who told you anything about railway restaurants @mheredge: if anything because I'm not so used to travel by train, neither I was in the past.
    I think it shouldn't be so frequent eating delicious grilled trout in a railway station cafe though, unless the railway run near a lake or a river.
    In fact I suppose fresh cooked trout might taste quite better than a defrosted one bought in a supermarket.
    As for me, I'm not sure whether I would enjoy more spotting darting trouts against the river's current than actually eating them.
    Hope you're enjoying your trip in Romania: I suppose the scenery sometimes might be majestically astounding, take Carpathians mountains range or the Transylvanian region... did you spot the Dracula's castle ? I'm getting goose pimples just to think of it. :D
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    Yesterday I passed a building site in Bucharest which my friend surprised me by telling me that it was Dracula's original castle @filauzio. I'd thought this was in Transylvania. I only passed this area on my way in this time but one day I'd like to go there to hike in the mountains.

    Last night I located on the map the place where I have to go to pick up my long distance bus that starts in Bulgaria that will take me to Odessa. It's about half an hour's walk from the station by a hotel. I'll go straight there, dump my bag and maybe take a look at the beach as I'll have a few hours to kill before the bus is due.
  • bfluentmanishbfluentmanish Posts: 328 Inactive
    @mheredge
    It seems scary to know about castle of dracula can you inquire what is the old story and myth about dracula
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    Today I visited the same restaurant I went to on 15 August 1981. I remember the date as it was my friend's birthday. The restaurant was also where important treaties were signed during the Balkans Crisis in the 1870s. I took some photos to send to my friend to remind her of our exciting interrail journey.

    I think it is amazing to be able to go back to a place that you have been to before. I am sure that it looks quite different now than it did when you were last there!
  • VokVok Posts: 1,625 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 30
    mheredge said:

    Today I visited the same restaurant I went to on 15 August 1981.

    Has it changed a lot since then? I like visiting places I've once been to, especially if there're some memories attached. It's amazing how some places manage to keep unchanged after so many years pass by.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    I was surprised how little it had changed though the beer cellar atmosphere of 1981 in the courtyard had changed a bit, as now I think it's mainly restaurant. That said I didn't go in the evening where it probably changes character @Vok.

    Yesterday evening I was pleasantly surprised to find my bus from Bulgaria to Ukraine which stopped at a petrol station in a residential area, which didn't seem at all a likely place for a long distance coach to pick up passengers.

    It took a couple of hours to get through five passport checks, all in a very short distance from eachother, resulting in three stamps in my passport. Entry and exit from Moldova were either side of midnight too.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 30
    mheredge said:


    Yesterday evening I was pleasantly surprised to find my bus from Bulgaria to Ukraine which stopped at a petrol station in a residential area, which didn't seem at all a likely place for a long distance coach to pick up passengers.

    How was the journey, @mheredge ? Were the coach and driving OK?

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 31
    It was a lot better than I expected, mainly because it wasn't too boring and the scenery was very nice @Practical_Severard.

    My next challenge is to book three train tickets at the railway station to go to Kiev, Lviv and then Varna. I hope I can get lower berths as these are all night trains.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 31
    mheredge said:


    My next challenge is to book three train tickets at the railway station to go to Kiev, Lviv and then Varna. I hope I can get lower berths as these are all night trains.

    This is the Ukrainian railways' official booking site in English
    Lower berths (marked as 'seats' there) have odd numbers. You can choose your place. The end compartments (places 1-4 and 33-36 in a 2nd class sleeper) are way less comfortable, as they are close either to the toilet and its possible queue and to the conductor's compartment.
    Passing trains are less convenient, partially because of the narrower place selection and less time to get on or off.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    @Practical_Severard unfortunately international trains seem to be only possible to book at a station within Ukraine. The woman first of all said 'No train.' I insisted she checked and when she did, she found it. I suppose there's not much demand in Odessa for trains going between Belarus and Bulgaria that pass via Lviv.

    I was very lucky to find a nice young man who helped me with getting the other two tickets at the main counter. It seems I managed to get the very last place on the Odessa-Kiev sleeper on Sunday.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 31
    mheredge said:

    @Practical_Severard unfortunately international trains seem to be only possible to book at a station within Ukraine. The woman first of all said 'No train.' I insisted she checked and when she did, she found it. I suppose there's not much demand in Odessa for trains going between Belarus and Bulgaria that pass via Lviv.

    Still, they have a centralised booking system so they should see all the available tickets. I can see them (the Minsk-Varna train) on a Russian website. Though the earliest available date is June, 11.
    mheredge said:


    I was very lucky to find a nice young man who helped me with getting the other two tickets at the main counter. It seems I managed to get the very last place on the Odessa-Kiev sleeper on Sunday.

    Have you packed slippers and indoors clothes to be worn on the train? Asking men to wait outside a mixed-sex 2nd class compartment while ladies are changing is a common practice on the post-Soviet trains. Or vice versa, to that matter.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm travelling on the 11 June @Practical_Severard. I adjusted my schedule to work around this date.

    I'm fairly used to sharing hostel dorms with guys. In fact in the hostel I'm staying in now, there are very few women, so I've been sharing with men.

    I have sandals, not slippers but with no heels and easy to slip on and off to go down the corridor to the toilet. Tomorrow night's train to Kiev is the best sleeper as it doesn't leave too late (just before 8pm) and arrives in Kiev at a civilised 9.29am.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    Today I have visited a couple of museums: the Western and Eastern Art Gallery and archaeology museum. Both were very interesting. I also decided to go to a concert tonight at the magnificent Opera House. I'm more interested to soak in the atmosphere but it's a violin concert so I'm sure I'm going to like this too.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2
    So my seat number is 10 and I'm in a middle bunk @Practical_Severard. This means I also have the middle seat. As I think I got the last ticket, the train will be full.

    The lady at the bottom tried to take all the baggage space under the seats and seemed to be most affronted that I wanted a little space for my much smaller bag.

    I will escape up to my bunk as soon as the train starts moving. It's unbearably hot and unlike Indian trains @ec0pandit, there are no fans but maybe there's air conditioning.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm in carriage number one, so couldn't be closer to the front of the train. It was a long walk along the platform.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,625 ✭✭✭✭
    Having visited so many places it's amazing how you still manage to stay so enthusiastic about galleries and archaeology museums @mheredge .
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 3
    mheredge said:

    So my seat number is 10 and I'm in a middle bunk @Practical_Severard. This means I also have the middle seat. As I think I got the last ticket, the train will be full.

    The lady at the bottom tried to take all the baggage space under the seats and seemed to be most affronted that I wanted a little space for my much smaller bag.

    What is the middle bunk? I suspect you take the luggage shelves which are the topmost for higher bunks, don't you? If you do, you're supposed to take the one just above your berth for your luggage. There are mattresses before a journey.
    Are you on a 2nd class carriage, the one with 12 compartments for four persons each?
    Its compartments have the high berth passangers' luggage space above the compartments' door. The Russian word for it sounds as "koo-pEi-nyi". If you travel in an open space carriage which has 54 places then you're in a third class one. Actually, this kind of carriages has luggage shelves above the high berths.
    mheredge said:


    I will escape up to my bunk as soon as the train starts moving. It's unbearably hot and unlike Indian trains @ec0pandit, there are no fans but maybe there's air conditioning.

    This depends on the train. In Russia the most carriages serving popular routes have air conditioning now, but in Ukraine it may be less common. Which kind of toilet do you have, a conventional one with a hole above the tracks or a chemical like on a plane?

    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • bfluentmanishbfluentmanish Posts: 328 Inactive
    Hi,
    I have came back today after driving of 800 KM exhaustive journey from my home town.
    Faced lot of pot holes,pollution and traffic on the road.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,625 ✭✭✭✭
    @bfluentmanish did you take breaks along the way? 800 km is quite a lot to drive at one go.
  • bfluentmanishbfluentmanish Posts: 328 Inactive
    @Vok
    It was a round trip a take break and stayed one night at my home town.
    In India it's really difficult to drive even 200 KM due to traffic and pollution.
    And if anyone who is travelling with kids it becomes more difficult.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,907 ✭✭✭✭
    @Practical_Severard it looked like your picture. I am used to Indian trains that have a top, third level for sleeping. I have once or twice had to go up to the top, next to the fans. You have to be a monkey to climb up and God forbid you should want to answer the call of nature during the night.

    We put our bags under the bottom bunk. I recall doing this when I travelled in Uzbekistan in the early 90s. I guess the trains haven't changed much!

    The toilet was the old fashioned kind, straight onto the tracks but at least not a squat toilet. And they had the sense to lock the doors once we entered the suburbs of the city.

    Some windows were open but our one was an emergency exit and bolted closed! There was a hammer to break the glass of we needed to escape.

    In a couple of days I have an eight hour trip Kiev to Lviv but this leaves late and arrives early morning so I will just sleep on this one.

    I expect the train from Minsk to Varna will be similar and it will be slow, as this journey is 48 hours, so the same as Nice to Moscow which I'm sure must be much farther.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 4
    mheredge said:


    We put our bags under the bottom bunk. I recall doing this when I travelled in Uzbekistan in the early 90s. I guess the trains haven't changed much!

    This is OK while your neighbours aren't mean, but if they choose to stick to the letter of the regulations then they have the right to use the whole of the lower luggage place. Some years ago men or younger people wouldn't have minded to give up the lower berths to older ones, but nowdays it has become not so easy in Russia I've heard. I haven't travelled by train for years.
    mheredge said:


    The toilet was the old fashioned kind, straight onto the tracks but at least not a squat toilet. And they had the sense to lock the doors once we entered the suburbs of the city.

    Been there, done that. Hope it wasn't creepy. Many local women would never sit down there. A 'sanitary zone' may be quite large. In Moscow, for example it's an hour long what can be tricky if one doesn't think in advance.
    mheredge said:


    Some windows were open but our one was an emergency exit and bolted closed! There was a hammer to break the glass of we needed to escape.

    What about the air conditioning?
    mheredge said:


    I expect the train from Minsk to Varna will be similar and it will be slow, as this journey is 48 hours, so the same as Nice to Moscow which I'm sure must be much farther.

    This is a holiday season, that's why tickets to anywhere on the seaside are difficult to get. I could spend three to five days (Krasnoyarsk-Simferopol) on a train in my childhood and uni years.

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