Kathmandu definitely feels like a gateway city. I felt quite restless the entire time I was there, perhaps because, like others, I was waiting to move on elsewhere. We spent a few days visiting the occasional attraction, but mostly languishing in our beautiful hotel, Dwarika's. We had been upgraded to a beautiful room overlooking the courtyard and really felt cocooned from the busy city beyond the hotel's walls. Dwarika's was a heritage hotel and therefore had amassed a vast array of Nepali artifacts and therefore had a relaxed museum feel about it. We definitely felt very lucky to be living amongst such beauty. While the norm for our holidays is to soak up as much culture as possible, Dwarika's invited us to just relax.
Occasionally we ventured out and were overwhelmed as to how exotic everything felt. Kathmandu's Hanuman Dhoka in Durbar Square was our first introduction to the beautiful Nepali temples. We marvelled at the figures with menacing faces, so similar to those of Thai Ramayana legend. The temple itself felt somehow separate from the frantic pace around it, where all manner of businesses catering to travellers seem to vie for our attention.
We visited the Swayambhunath, the Monkey Temple, which had me feeling slightly removed, and also Bodhnath Stupa, where we watched respectfully as the pilgrims, some in traditional dress circumambulated the golden stupa. Further Unesco heritage sites at Bhaktapur and Patan blew us away, so much beauty and craftmanship still existed and was so well preserved!
Finally, we bowed to the pressure and took a Himalayan Mount Everest-spotting flight, where we were welcomed into the (very) small cockpit to view the vistas of the Himalayas. I vowed to visit Everest Base Camp and do some trekking in Nepal when I eventually returned. I intend to keep that promise.