blogging, Community, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Mountain Top

Kakani 1988

It was a perfect afternoon on a perfect mountain top, 30 km west of Kathmandu in Nepal.

We’d travelled in the back seat of an ageing and dusty Black Toyota sedan to Kakani. The lack of seat belts in the car might have given an inkling of the car’s advanced age, but it was mainly the dark exterior that prompted our Nepalese guide to label it, “the Mafia car” suggesting with a hearty laugh, that our driver looked “criminal!”

nepal guide
A young Amanda at 6500 Feet at Nagarkot with Nepalese Guide Madhav

Thirty odd years ago, the road to Nagarkot Mountain Top and Lookout was narrow, winding and precipitous. Dirt tracks, barely one car width wide, that would be better suited to goats, twisted their way sharply around steep hillsides with never a guardrail to be seen.

Despite this, I was focused less on my safety than on the countryside itself. It looked alive and thriving. Almost every hill no matter how steep, had been heavily terraced and cultivated with crops. Quaint mud-brick farm cottages clung to 80 degree slopes and the mountainous backdrop grew ever more spectacular with each and every bend. I pinched myself.

Was I really here at the top of the world? I marveled at how the puffy white clouds perched high up in the sky were not actually clouds at all, but the Himalayan mountain tops tinged with snow!

Every few kilometres, or so, smiling school children appeared on the roadside, waving enthusiastically at our car, as we passed by. Our Guide informed us that many of the chuldren walk several hours just to reach the nearest school. No School of the Air exists in Nepal. A very different life to Australia, where schools are located in every suburb and in remote areas, lessons with a teacher are given over radio communication, (now, presumably skype), each day.

nepal mountain road

Nagarkot Lookout

On reaching Nagarkot Lookout, we were invited to sit on a deck chair at the cliff’s edge. I actually couldn’t stop smiling. I have never seen anything so extraordinary. It is a cliché, but the air was palpably clean and pure. Hauntingly beautiful flute music played in the air adding to the mystical atmosphere.

Sitting and looking out upon the highest mountain tops of the world brought me feelings of tranquility and material needlessness to my head. In those moments, any yearning for material objects and acquisitions completely vanished. Even my materialistic other half, the Moth, agreed that afternoon. We struck up a conversation with another traveler. He was from – wait for it: the Australian Gold Coast. Thousands of miles from home and I meet a stranger who lives less than 60 minutes from my home!

Meanwhile Mudhav, our smartly dressed guide, complete with pristine, ‘Mrs-March” bleached shirt, stated he never gets bored with the mountains. He reads Wordsworth, Keats and other romantic English poetry. He says his presentation as a guide, is different with ‘good people,’ like us.

Again, I smile!

We didn’t anticipate the final surprise that was yet to come.

Nepalese Women Carry the Load

As we sat on that small area of level ground surrounded by precipitous cliffs, enjoying the view at 2200 metres above sea level, two women appeared from below the cliff face, casually climbing up and over the rock incline directly in front of us.

Such was their physical strength they were able to scale an almost, I guess, 80 degree vertical slope, as if they were taking a light stroll.

There is no photo of them, but to our shock we noted they carried large straw baskets down their back, laden to the brim, with potatoes. The basket was held by a narrow rope tied around their forehead. You can imagine our astonishment and our incredulity at the strength of their necks under such a load!

Amazing Women!

Nagarkot and Kakani can get very cold as night draws near, but the view of  Mt. Annapurna, as well as the other mountains that make up this part of the Himalayas: Machhapuchhare, Ganesh Himal and Langtang, are in a word stupendous Mountain Tops. It is very easy to sit and watch those mountains for hours, so mesmerizing is this special part of the world.

My photographs are showing their age and the quality is not so good so I have included two videos to enhance your impression of the area.

Join in the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

Every other week we post a topic to inspire a post on a particular theme. This week the theme is Mountain Top. Your challenge is to feature a story, photo/s, a recipe or anything else that captures your imagination.  

You can post once, twice or as many times as you’re inspired by the topic.

Sandy and I take turns in posting challenges.  Keep notified of new themes by following both our blog’s at  Something to Ponder About  and  The Sandy Chronicles

How to join the Friendly Friday Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday – ‘Mountain Top’ and add a tag: ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to this Friendly Friendly Challenge within your own post.
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The Benefits of Joining Blog Challenges

  • Increase your exposure in the blogging communities
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Are you joining in with this theme?

Where is your favourite Mountain Top?

How do you feel when you reach the summit? This motorcyclist loves the countryside too.

Blog challenge Friday

53 thoughts on “Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Mountain Top”

    1. I feel very privileged to see Nepal back then Laurie, especially considering it has altered so much in terms of environmental, political and social changes since then. We saw in a way, an almost pristine version of third world Nepalese life, an insight into life without modern societal pressures. It was in that perspective, one could be amazed by the staggering natural beauty and the simple joy of living and travelling. There was no busloads of tourists, no guides with little flags coralling groups, it was just us, the driver, our guide who we got to know personally and the odd trekking traveller. It was marvellous.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. What a great journey Amanda. I enjoyed reading this and I think your pictures are perfect, they have a very nostalgic feel. Was this from one of your travel journals? I can hardly remember anything from 1988, much less with the level of detail you capture here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The post’s photos are from the pre-digital age, Sandy. Stuck in those awful adhesive photo albums. Some photos were so stuck, I couldn’t remove the plastic and have a reflection. I guess it does give them that feeling of old world. That makes me feel old, thinking that the 80’s is old world!! Lol.
      Sandy you are smart, I referred to my travel journal when writing this post, but only for checking place names and finer details. This was my first trip overseas and as such I observed everything very carefully. My eyes were like a thirsty animal finding water in the desert. I remember more of this trip than some others that came later. It was so very different, and pretty mind blowing for me to get to travel there so that could also account for it. We were in culture shock for a few days, not realizing what it was going to be like. It was no Alby Mangels or Trekking Adventures – it was all pretty safe and managed, but for me, far different to anything I had done previously, being a fairly conservative traveller and not an outdoorsy type! Perhaps that is why it is indelibly imprinted in my memory?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, your first trip overseas and you go to Nepal! On my first trip overseas, I went shopping in Miami, Florida. I remember giant lollipops, chocolate covered pretzels and my cousin losing of all her holiday money to pickpockets 🙂

        Great Friendly Friday Challenge. It’s going to be interesting to see what folks submit.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes to Nepal, via Singapore and Bangkok and then back to Pattaya beach. I remember taking a whole lot of bottled water in our luggage from Singapore. Apparently some vendors would refill the water bottles for sale in some parts!
          I think I may have baulked at going if I had known what it was like there. But an Aunt had spoken so enthusiastically I was really keen. And I am ever so glad I went there then, when it was safe. I understand there has been a curfew there for many years due to civil unrest. It was peaceful and safe when I was there.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I know (no competition). But seeing your photos and reading your text about Nepal just created a longing in me. I’ve spent many times in the Alps but didn’t take photos, at least not with a decent camera and around here … BTW: The 1000 foot threshold is from the movie “The Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain” with Hugh Grant. I don’t know if it is really a thing.

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        1. I do understand about the longing. The threshold appears true according to
          Many geographers state that a mountain is greater than 300 metres (1,000 feet) above sea level. Other definitions, such as the one in the Oxford English Dictionarhy put the hill limit at twice that. Still others make distinctions about the degree of slope (including two degrees or five “

          Liked by 1 person

  2. What a stunning trip to be able to reminisce about, I love the grainy look of the old film camera photos, it’s like listening to an old record can’t beat that raw quality. Hilarious a local up there. I wonder how that beautiful area is & its resilient people are faring today. Great share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda. Here I was apologising for the photographs but so far no one seems to mind. You raise a good question about Nepal. I used to hear updates from a friend who ran a trekking business there but when I looked him up to contact him, he had passed away! So I don’t know anyone there, but there is one blogger I know who has family there. Perhaps she knows more about the situation there in this Covid pandemic. I imagine it is very difficult and similar if not worse than India. The remote areas would be isolated to some extent but if someone brought it to those villages, there would be no escape and no medical aid.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nepal was a very special place to visit and in many ways we were brave a first time travellers. I would love to go back someday but to have to be fit and be very careful about what you eat there. I have no idea what Oman would be like. Modern or underdeveloped?
      I don’t think I have seen many photos if any of Oman so I am looking forward to checking out your post, Sarah.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. An interesting mix of the two. It’s modernised at an incredibly fast pace (it was more or less feudal until the 1970s) but doesn’t have the artificial glitz of the UAE. I really liked it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. In rural areas, yes, although people are moving away from old villages into new (another future post I’m planning) at quite a rate. My recent post about the Bedouin shows how they at least are retaining much of their traditional lifestyle but I think they’re the exception that proves the rule

            Liked by 1 person

    1. It was one of the pivotal moments in my life leading to Nepal playing a significant role in my life as I supported various small scale grass roots projects and encouraged my kids to do the same. They raised money for materials for a clinic and classroom at a remote village. The humility of the Nepalese is touching. Such gentle folk.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I recommend visiting Nepal, even though it is more modernised than when I visited. It seemed to be a very popular destination for both Aussie adventurers and tourists in the 80’s.

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        1. We Australians are great travellers. The were many trekking agencies in Australia at that time. Trekking to Everest base camp was extremely popular. I did not trek though.

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        1. A number of waterways were formed millions of years ago by glaciers advancing and retreating during the last Great Ice Age. That’s how the Great Lakes of the U.S. were created.

          Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) has shown interesting recovery from the same period. I believe there are still a number of ancient structures on the northern end of the island that sit far from the shorelines. Hundreds of years ago they were built much closer to the water’s edge. But as the ice retreated millions of years earlier, Great Britain has recovered by slowly rebounding.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. This is an amazing story, Amanda. While I love the mountains from a distance, hiking up 80 degree slopes carrying bags of potatoes on my head had never occurred to me. I am to be pitied for my lack of super strength to do this, I guess – as are 99 percent of the women of the world. Great post. I could wrack my brain for years and never come up with something as fascinating as this. It was a cliff hanger. 🙂

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      1. My 11 yr old son’s beside me and he’s been doing an extensive research on Nepal for weeks and I told him about your trip there decades ago and he was took notice of your descriptions especially of the road. He said many are still like that. And the best places are still in the rugged parts of the country. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is so interesting. I assume that the many years of political unrest and lack of foreign investment has hampered further development. Mind you, this is what tourists come for. To experience the mountains and nature. Is he wanting to travel there one day?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes definitely, hopefully before my knees abandon me and couldn’t climb anymore hahah. We’ve been wanting to go to either Nepal or Bhutan but my biggest fear is my son’s severe food allergy. I’m afraid that if’s accidentally eaten fish or hazelnut, we’d be too far away from the hospitals.

            Liked by 1 person

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