Visiting Tara – a tale of love

Feb. 23 – Feb. 24

And it gets better. I get out of the hotel around 5 o clock as the first one wakes up. Instead of money I show them a picture of the bed bug and leave to the bus stand to get chai. After some time I go to enjoy the dawn and then to the sweet little rooftop I discovered yesterday. I want to go to the Nepal Telecom office to get internet working on my cellphone which leaves me time until 10 to have breakfast. The guys there are very helpful and finally get me internet – yeah! First success of the day. Hitting the road I miss the turn to Tara several times thinking “that can not be a highway, or a road – anything that is supposed be used by public….”but it is.

It is for sure the worst road I have yet seen in Nepal, big rocks and little streams and a very fine sand that feels more slippery than ice when wet. And wet it becomes with all this little stream running on or crossing the road. Left hand side abyss right hand side rock wall. I ride on the wrong side of the road – right! And still there are public busses here! The plan for today is to reach Tara which is around 50km. I expect the road to become worse and doubt if I can do that in a one day ride. But I am lucky, after about 15km the road is being repaired and most of it is done. Soon I arrive at a village which, according to the km stories of the people I asked could be Tara, according to google maps it is where the road to Tara links to the highway. And so it is. I get some petrol, chai and a little chat with a local and then take the road into an amazing looking valley. But first I have to cross the river.

Ford or suspension bridge that is the question. After watching a truck taking the ford which seems not to be deeper than maybe 30cm I take the ford. When I arrive at the other side of the river I am wet up to my knees but fuck it – done it! I ride up following an amazingly beautiful river into a romantic, beautifull valley full of rice paddles, suspension bridges and beautiful tiny villages with amazingly hospitable people. From now on I take the suspension bridges when crossing the river. Unfortunately I miss one as I didn’t expect much on the other side and take the wrong way up the mountain out of the valley. When I ask for the way its getting dark already and the people whom I ask invite me to stay for the night. The last kilometers up the mountain had been hell full of steep rocky curves and slippery river crossings edging an abyss to deep to survive a crash down easily. I am happy to accept the offer.

This place is a little more than 2000 metres above the Indian ocean and its just amazingly beautiful. Hospitality reminds me of Pakistan and it is a little hard to say good bye on the next morning.

I go back then the scary road to find Tara the place so many people told me to go. Asking in every tiny place for the way I find another scary suspension bridge people tell me I have to cross. Doing so I get to a more remote part of the valley – the remoteness can be seen easily at some genetic defects of some of the people there. Either people are not so open anymore and rather tend to ignore me more a little after the bridge at Tarakhola. Searching for the right place I go higher and higher up the valley until at 2400m a young guy stops me asking what I am searching for…. I have arrived and stop.

Unfortunately the guys at the place I stop are drinking alcohol in large amounts – don’t know if its to celebrate my arrival or if they did already before… They are farmers and show me their product – low quality but high quantity. I take a few pictures and get away soon when they start to get drunk. They offer to stay for the night but I refuse as they start to get a little uncomfortable probably either because they are drunk and I don’t want to buy anything…. I quickly say good bye and leave. It has been hot all day so I am worried about the ford at the beginning of the valley because I expect the water level in the river to rise. On the way down I enjoy the scenery a lot – that place is just so beautiful with all the flowers, the singing birds of spring and that beautiful river in the middle. 500m before I arrive at the ford at the beginning of the valley a friendly guy starts talking to me just minutes before dusk is falling.

He invites me to his parents home to spend the night there. He jumps on my bike and leads me the direction up to one side of the mountain. It is dark already, the road is steep and full of rocks and now we are two on the bike which makes it much harder to handle under these circumstances. I am really happy when we arrive at his house. I get one of the best Dhalbat (like Indian thali) ever and fall asleep at 1400m up in the mountains on a balcony at the end of February. What an amazing day this has been!