Our flight from Lukla to Kathmandu on the 22nd was on time and uneventful. On arrival in Kathmandu we were met by Chhoti from Peak Promotions and ferried back to the Hotel Holy Himalya. After breakfast, showers and a change of clothes we spent the day walking the streets of Thamel , which are crowded with shops and vendors selling everything from thangka paintings, to rugs, to jewelry, tea and spices, fruit and vegetables, trekking gear, etc. Whenever buying anything friendly bargaining is expected. That evening we had dinner with Wongchu, Dolma and Chhoti at the infamous Rum Doodle Bar. We sat outdoors at a 3rd floor patio on a perfectly still 70deg evening. The food and drinks were good. Ron even arranged for a surprise birthday cake for Alice. Mark and Wongchu received complementary meals for being successful Everest summiteers. After dinner we looked at old climbing memorabilia for a few minutes then headed back to the hotel.
The following day we did an organized tour of the old cities of Bkaktipur and Patan. We saw examples of ancient Newari architecture, and beautiful examples of the three main styles of temples in Nepal: pagoda, cicara and stupa. The Patan Museum was fantastic. My favorite site was the ten thousand Buddha temple. It was hot and dusty and traffic was intense but I think everyone enjoyed the day.
Yesterday (Apr 24) we walked from Thamel to Durbar Square. We casually walked around looking at temples and interesting people, shooting pictures and video. This foray, like all others, included a little "shopping". Ed W gets award for best shopper. At night we all went out for pizza and beer at the Roadhouse. The pizza was thin crust and baked in real-looking clay pizza ovens. Topped with a nice spicy olive oil it was quite good; even better washed down with a cold beer.
Today we all depart for home. Ron and Alice leave mid-day. Ed, Todd and Mark late this evening. We have had a wonderful visit to Nepal. Peak Promotions has done an excellent job supporting our trip; we are grateful to the entire staff. The Nepalese people are just as warm and gracious as they were 20 years ago. The mountain scenery remains the finest in the world.