Close to Kathmandu, conventional wisdom is to visit Patan for the day. But eager for change, we decide to spend a couple of days. It is less of a tourist destination meaning fewer conveniences for Westerners. But the upside is that once the tourists and buses have come and gone for the day, we have the place relatively to ourselves.
Patan’s Darbar Square has some of the finest collection of Newari temples and palaces in Nepal. With a long Buddhist as well as Hindu history, the stupas date back to the Buddhist emperor Ashok in around 250 BC. Even more interesting is the myriad of squares and courtyards we discovered down the surrounding narrow streets.
Sanu’s Homestay sounded good on tripadvisor but in reality it was a dump! Not only beside a busy main road, to make matters worse they were digging up the sewer line right in front. Not a pretty sight or smell! So we sat in the taxi cab and called around for an alternative while some biting insect made a meal out of Gerard’s back. Why do they always ignore me? I’d post a picture of the trail of angry red welts but Patan is more interesting.
Only Norwegian House had availability. Situated in a rather surreal area dominated by expats, diplomats, NGOs and charitable organizations, it’s a hostel for young Norwegians who are doing volunteer work here. The bakery café where we eat breakfast is staffed by young deaf mutes and the restaurant further down supports women in small business.
The hostel manager persuaded us to take a taxi because of the infrequency of the buses due to the strike. Further she commented looking at our suitcases, “You’ll never be able to get on!” Sure enough, as we left town, we passed a couple of overflowing buses with a slew of men perched on the roof.