After 10 years we return to India to explore Rajasthan and cruise the Ganges. We then fly to Nepal for a new adventure; a place Tom has dreamed of travelling to. Finally we will complete this trip with Bhutan -the happiest place on earth!
  • Day29

    Home sweet home!

    November 19 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 0 °C

    All of our luggage arrived home at the same time we did. There is snow in Calgary, and in a way, it feels welcome. After visiting places that rarely, if ever get snow, it is comforting to see a white blanket covering the dust and grime that surrounds us. Snow even muffles the sound and home is very quiet even compared to Bhutan.

    This was a great trip, but both Dianne and I noticed we are not as resilient as we were 10 years ago. India is as colourful and vibrant as it always was, but the sounds and multitudes of people can be challenging. Meeting people from different places and cultures is still the best part of travelling. We find we have more in common with others than differences when you think about family and friendships.
    We had excellent travel partners with Liz and Alan, and everyone remained pretty healthy as we journeyed which makes for easy times.
    Nepal turned out to be even more engaging than I imagined, and I was thinking it would be great. There is a good chance e will return to Nepal. Bhutan is the only country that measures its Gross National Happiness, and uses it as a measure of success. They also claim to be the only carbon negative country in the world.

    That all being said, I have to get busy with my granddaughter and build a deer for Christmas.
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  • Day28

    On our way home

    November 18 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Our flight from Kathmandu to Istanbul was an hour delayed. The delay we spent sitting on the airplane. Next hurdle is being at Istanbul airport for 14 hours waiting for our connection.

    We are very thankful we chose Istanbul for a connection and the wisdom or luck to upgrade our aeroplan tickets to business class. The business class lounge is the best! There are many comfortable ways to spend a fair amount of time here and good food to boot. I think we will survive.

    Leaving Istanbul fog set and caused an initial 30 minute delay, which grew into almost 2 hours. The fog lifted and a dozen Turkish planes lined up to take off. Yup we are at the back of the cue. Right now it is a parking lot for jets!

    High maintenance travellers surround us! We were held up as a couple dropped their iPhone somewhere in the seat. A flight attendant assessed the situation and maintenance was called. In total 3 maintenance guys and 2 flight attendants tore the seat apart.Twenty minutes later the phone found and the seat reassembled. After we started to taxi, the girl drops her phone into the seat again. Her irate travelling partner starts tearing the seat apart again. He is red faced, but finds the phone before the flight attendants discover what is going on.

    Another passenger stressed he would miss his flight was barking at the in charge. All sorts of bells were going off as passengers were asking for service -drinks, earphones, blankets. These girls were hopping.

    Tom and I enjoy people watching and their drama ( as long it is not ours) I think I will snooze now!

    Arriving in Frankfurt we knew we had to step lively to make the flight. Initial security we cruised as pros; picked up our new AC boarding passes and went to the next security. Here, I am treated to the full touchy feely pat down and then we high tail it to the gate just in time to board. Homeward bound, in nine hours we will touch down in Calgary..
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  • Day27

    Nepali send off

    November 17 in Nepal ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    On our final evening we were treated to a Nepalese traditional meal and dance performance at the Bhojan Griha Authentic Nepali restaurant .

    The restaurant is in an 150 year heritage building that the priest to the King of Nepal once resided. It was nearly demolished when it was saved and restored.

    They pride themselves that the food served has been grown on their organic farms and brought to your table.

    We enjoyed the dances, laughed and reminisced the last few weeks together. It was a great evening.
    Tomorrow we part ways as we start the long trek home.

    I (Tom) didn’t enjoy the dance as much as Dianne says. If you watch the video, some of you will agree with me that it is boring. It must be time for me to go home.
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  • Day27

    A day in Kathmandu

    November 17 in Nepal ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Traditional Comfort Hotel is our hotel now. It is closer in time but not distance to KTM airport than the Hyatt.
    Coming back to Kathmandu was quite a contrast to Bhutan. We remember the arrival in Nepal after India and thinking it was quieter and not as busy. Now after coming back from Bhutan it seems like a circus without elephants. We walked the streets unescorted and found our way to a shopping district. Crossed the streets like locals and prepared for our evening out.Read more

  • Day27

    Goodbye Bhutan, back to Kathmandu

    November 17 in Bhutan ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    At the airport 3 hours prior for international travel for about an 1 hour flight! We have spent many hours at airports this trip; 2-3 hours prior and many hours of delay.

    When we finally boarded the flight we had great seats on the right hand side (Alan checked us all in). These seats gave us a perfect view of the Himalayan Mountains. What a spectacular view of Mount Everest,Read more

  • Day26

    One of the Oldest Temples in Bhutan

    November 16 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    This 7th century temple is held as one of the most magnificent sites of worship in Bhutan. Some say it is the oldest.

    As usual when entering the temple no shoes, no cameras. It is decorated beautifully with Buddha’s, paintings and gifts. The walls still show the original paintings, still have color but faded. We thought we were invited into the main temple with some monks but as Alan and I stepped in we were shooed out unceremoniously. We all hustled our way out and walked the grounds.Read more

  • Day26

    Topo 6; Topo 7

    November 16 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    I mentioned the farm was prosperous. They have a side business that offers herbal baths, in a wooden tub, with water heated by river stones. The four of us are looking for something extra after the hike and this seems like a fun thing to do. We all get a look at the backside of the tubs and where they heat the stones. All you have to do is yell out Topo 6 to get more hot stones in your bath water and a hotter tub. Dianne and I share a room with 2 baths. So do Liz and Alan. I’m in tub 6 and she is in tub 7. I yell out topo 6 and soon I have more hot stones in my tub along with some fresh herbs. Just between you and me, the herbs could have been weeds grown at the side of the road, but whatever, they smelled nice. Dianne yells out topo 7 and more stones and weeds appear for her. Between the four of us we keep our boy pretty busy for 45 minutes or so. Topo means more stones in case you havens guessed. It felt great after the hike.Read more

  • Day26

    Country Luncheon

    November 16 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We have planned a tradition Bhutanese lunch today around a farm close to Paro. The farm seems prosperous considering the size of the farm house. We are led into a windowless room that is decorated with water carrying skins and a hide satchel, all from yesteryear. I think this could be interesting because I know DIanne is not as adventurous as I am when it comes to food and Liz and Alan eve less than she is. However, they are all polite. Should be fun.
    First on the menu is butter tea. They didn’t say what kind of butter; I immediately think Yak. The tea is strong and flavourful. For more enjoyment we add home made Rice Krispies to the tea. Its good, but you need a spoon to finish it. The food comes out all at once. Pumpkin soup, cooked radishes, steamed cabbage, pork belly, cheese chilli, (the national dish), beef with rice noodles and red rice. There was was way more food than we could eat. The most fun dish was the cheese chilli. It looked inviting and tame. Dianne got a little rice and a couple of forks full of it in her mouth before she realizes the heat that was generated by the chillies. Her eyes were watering as she pushed the rest of hers on to my plate.
    Everyone did great. We tried everything and ate our fill. There was a milk tea for cooling your mouth if needed. We were all hungry after our morning hike and this was the perfect meal.
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  • Day26

    We did it!

    November 16 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Descending the mountain is more dangerous, but less tiring than the climb. Even so, it is hot now and my quads are aching. We all rented some poles for the journey this morning and they do come in handy but as poles go, these are not much better than a stick you find on the trail. Sounds like the lament of a Prima Donna.Read more