Latvian couple’s passion for trekking; says, we will come back again (Feature)

Latvian CoupleSurya Chandra Basnet / Kathmandu: Nepal’s high altitude trekking routes are one of the most adventurous attractions for backpackers promising an encounter with the pristine natural beauty.

The tourists from all over the world who visit Nepal have always made it a point of taking a tour through the trekking and hiking routes that wind through high altitude mountains and hills.

Latvian couple Ints Murnieks and Natalia Krastina headed straight to the trans-Himalayan Upper Mustang trek route opened for tourists since 1992 after their arrival in Kathmandu. The couple who are in Nepal for the ninth time trekked for a week from Jomsom and traversing Kagbeni, Chete, Ekle Bhati, Dhami, Upper Mustang, Lomanthang and Muktinath lying 3,800 meters above sea level before returning to Kathmandu.

Their thirst for more trekking could not be quenched after starting their trek from Kaligandaki river bank surrounded by more than 35 mountains above 6,000 meters and the majestic Dhaulagiri peak (8,000 meters). The altitude of the trails they journeyed through ranged from 2000 meters to more than 3,700 meters. “We visited some famous, historic and culturally important places in Kathmandu and Patan for some days and we headed towards Dolpa after participating in the relief programme for quake victims in Timang of Kavre,” Ints said.

Tired but not satisfied, the Latvian couple then took the upper Dolpa trek route. In course of their journey during which the couple passed through two mountain passes at an altitude of 5,200 meters, they came across the untouched Himalayan lifestyle, culture and religion accompanied by splendid beauty of the alpine landscape.

“We were sipping coffee with a good chat at Dunai area of Dolpa and we felt that even after travelling through upper Dolpa for three weeks and our visit to Mustang our journey has not ended, so we decided to head to Kanchenjunga trek route immediately,” Natalia said. They completed a three week trekking of Kanchenjunga which took three weeks.

When this scribe met them at Hotel Himalaya in Thamel, the couple was readying to head to Bhutan – another mountainous country. “After we return from Bhutan we will go on a visit to the Buddhist places and exercise meditation, and we will once again go on a trek route of Mardi mountain in the Annapurna area before returning to Latvia in December,” Natalia shared.

The massive earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale which struck on April 25 has killed more than 9,000 people while injuring around 23,000. More than 800,000 houses suffered partial or complete damages including the heritage sites. The tourism sector suffered a great setback in the earthquake despite which tourists continue to visit Nepal in an expression of solidarity with Nepal’s eagerness to bounce back.

“We have found that the earthquake has not inflicted so much damage as reported in the media,” the couple said adding, “Hotels and restaurants, trek routes and other places are still safe.” The couple has already toured Mustang, Dolpa and Kanchenjunga.

The Latvian couple has lent support worth around 10,000 Euros by providing food and constructing temporary shelters for the victims of the earthquake through the Himalaya Peace Education Foundation, Rajendra Bahadur Lama, who works with the Foundation said.

The Latvian couple had spent a few days in Kathmandu during a transit to Tibet in 2005. Since then their journey to Nepal has continued incessantly. RSS

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