The Himalayan Challenge

21 September - 11 October 2018


OCTOBER 7, 2018

Kathmandu - Rest Day One

Flying high

Most of us enjoyed a well earned lie in this morning - and a lazy breakfast. Those booked on the first round of Everest flights however had to present themselves at reception at 5.30am for the transfer to the airport and thence to Sagarmatha.

Following their roof of the world odyssey, they were back in plenty of time to begin the spanner checks and running repairs on their cars. Matt Bryson, was first on the tools, he “loves” the Austin A90 Westminster he’s navigating and, along with Adrian Hodgson the driver, reckons that there is “ absolutely nothing wrong with it” but nevertheless Matt is all too aware of the need for regular nut tightening and lubing, jobs he clearly relishes.

Marc-Philip and Ulrich Zimmerman’s Volvo Amazon had lost its anti roll bar links so along with Russell Smith they set to replacing them.

Lee Strelzow spent most of her day in and around the customs office of Tribhuvan Airport, trying to retrieve the tyres for their Bentley. Ultimately she was successful, but tomorrow she plans to see the sights and hit the shops.

Once these few basic chores had been completed then, for most of the rally, it was time for some fun.

Nature abhors a vacuum though, and nowhere is this illustrated more clearly than on the streets of Kathmandu. Every available inch of space is taken up, by either a person, a taxi, a tuk tuk or a motorcycle. The streets of the Thamel District of Kathmandu, make Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi  look decidedly spacious.

Those crews who did venture out into the melee did so largely on foot or by taxi. Their rally cars deserved a rest as much as they did.

The historic heart of this ancient city had been hit hard by the 2015 earthquake and sadly, parts of the famous Durbar Square are now either piles of rubble or are out of bounds to tourists, awaiting repair.

There was still plenty to see though and Matthias Bittner and Dennis Billon ventured up to the famous Swayambhunath Stupa with its expansive views over the city. This visit involved a steep climb and a gauntlet of monkeys but, as one of the most sacred sites in Tibetan Buddhism it was well worth the effort.

Other crews were happy to sit and relax with a drink on the terrace by the pool.

Interestingly, it was noticed by one sharp eyed rallyist that today’s Himalayan Times reported two pieces of news pertinent to us. Firstly was that the locals held a protest last week complaining about the government’s failure to fix the roads after the earthquake. If only we could have joined them.

Secondly they reckoned that the monsoon had finally finished which was a little odd given that this afternoon the sky darkened and the streets ran like rivers once again.

Tomorrow is another rest day and we’re all looking forward it very much.

Syd Stelvio



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