Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the visit to the Panama Canal was like an immersion into the recent past where technology and a pioneering spirit shaped a new, industrialized world. There are plenty of fascinating books and documentary videos out there, describing the effort in building the canal. Armed with such knowledge, I went to Panama City to visit the region. As my plane approached the Panama City airport, I was surprised to see a scenic city skyline on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Attending the Olympic Games was a long time wish of mine that I kept on postponing for many reasons: Either it was too far away, too expensive or lack of remaining vacation days at my job. Moreover, a trip to these games requires careful planning – months ahead of the event.
Or – maybe not. Continue reading
Day six greeted us with a thick morning fog when Evgeny and I were leaving our lodge at Dingboche (4410m). This village is a base for a variety of treks in any direction (Nuptse, Lhotse, etc.). Therefore, we had a hard time figuring out which of the small trails would lead us back on the Everest Base Camp trek. But we managed and after a short climb, we reached a lookout where we could only guess how fantastic the panoramic view must be. But we were in a very good mood and acknowledged that not everyone was lucky enough to enjoy this place in such a mystic fog. I guess Evgeny and I should become coaches for self-motivation. Continue reading
At day five, Evgeny and I already started to have a daily routine by waking up early and leaving ahead of the crowd. The day’s trek would take us from Tengboche (3870m) to Dingboche (4410m), with a small breakfast break at Pangboche (3930m). Now, if you are confused by the place names – you’re not alone. Most of the tourists are mixing the “Teng”, “Ding” and “Pang” of all these “boche”. Most are using altitude meters to name the places. As there is only a handful of “boches” along the climb, speaking of altitudes instead of settlement names is therefore quite useful. Continue reading
On a map, the path between Namche Bazaar and Tengboche does look like a fairly easy walk. By the end of the day, the difference in altitude between the two villages is just a small climb of 500 meters. Unfortunately, this is just half of the truth: After a steep climb out of the Namche Bazaar village, the trail levels out. It then descends slowly from 3500m to 3200m, before ending in a steep climb of about 700m.
Asking other backpackers on the route, which part of the Everest Base Camp trek they think is the hardest, most of them will point out the stretch between Monju and Namche Bazaar. As we did stay overnight in Phakding, it took us about 90 Minutes to get to Monju first, where we had a small rest before the steep ascent. And yes, this was a very steep path winding up the mountain for about 5 kilometers. This small distance took us about four hours.