For almost three weeks we climbed up and down the mountains through narrow paths in one of the most beautiful places on this earth, and yet, the most amazing thing we found during this time was the people trekking by our side.
People From all Over the world (mostly Westerners, but not only) travel all the way to this remote land, suffer through the long flight, connections and the endless ride in the Nepalese roads to reach this point.
There are many trekking trails in Nepal, but only one offers the chance to circumvent three of the highest mountains and cross the highest pass in the world: The Annapurna Circuit.
What brings us together? Two gays fulfilling a mid-life dream, a cute kid looking for inspiration, a broken-hearted officer, an adventure eager geologist, French hippies, a Canadian Yogi, a soul-searching German, a Spanish-English couple and tons of fresh-out-of-the-army Israelis.
The answer is not unanimous, but ultimately, all of us are here to prove ourselves that we can overcome our fears and devils, that we can endure the hardships: mental and physical over a period of two weeks, in which every day is a new challenge and there is no way, but the way forward (and up).
I'm thankful for successfully finishing the Anapurna Circuit, thankful to have strengthened our marital relationship, and thankful for the amazing people that we met along the way, from which we learned so much. Good travels guys!
Tips for you own challenge in the bottom.
The Israelis come
Along the Annapurna circuit we met hundreds of people, locals and foreigners alike, most of them were surprised when we told them we were Israelis. Not in a bad way, just in a curious way.
The Israelis are known to be young, restless, noisy and travel in big closed groups. Our position here was precarious, we avoid each opportunity to meet Israelis in our trip, not because we are snobs (maybe a bit) but because we rather encounter less homogeneous travellers. We still felt the urge to explain to the surprised travellers about the tremendous pressure these kids are during their 3 year (2 for girls) long military service, and their need to be free: smoke, drink, make noise, wake up at whatever hour they want and not to respond to any rule. Even if for a couple of months.
The best explanation we could find to exemplify was the usual trip after graduation many Europeans take abroad: Brittons to Amsterdam, Germans to London, and so on… I myself had a graduation-trip with my class to Bariloche in Patagonia, and it wasn't nice I asure you.
I don't believe I need to ask the local hosts and fellow travelers to be more understanding of the Israeli geopolitical problems, and its influence on the minds of young kids.
So fellow Israelis: Shut Up and enjoy the view like the rest of us.
- Packing: There are tons of lists on what to pack so I won't go through it, but we decided to minimize our luggage to the extreme minimum, 7kg in a day-backpack. This allowed us to trek without a porter, which will save you a lot of money and the strange feeling of having a guy that know the way much better than you following for two weeks without talking.
- Guide: The Annapurna Circuit is well developed and signed. With the help of a guidebook and some apps, you'll be fine. This will save you even more money.
- Books: Trekking the Anapurna circuit, Andrees Ruiter (Free 2011 version or up-to-date version on Amazon or local Nepali bookstores)
- UVLens: Get reminders of when to apply another layer of sweat mixed sunscreen.
- AccuWeather: There's not much you can do about it, but you better get ready to the storm before it comes.
- Trekking in Nepal: Greta app with plenty information about trip preparations, itineraries, lodges, and services. RECOMMENDED.
- maps.me: You should never leave home without it. This app offers FREE offline maps to keep with you all the time. Even some trails are seen in it.
- Compass: always handy.
- Maps 3D: This is a pro tool, download detailed maps, download circuits, search you path and track your day, all in one app. The GPS works on iPhone even when the phone is on airplane mode (to keep your battery to last a whole day)
- Recreation: Electricity is not always available to charge your devices and Internet is even rarer. Buy an Ebook and load a couple of your favorites. Avoid any tragedy-related Himalayan story.