The day after the marathon we had the morning to rest so a few of us went to have a drink and do some souvenir shopping in Namche Bazaar. My muscles were feeling surprisingly good after the endeavours of the previous day and I was still elated from completing the marathon! A couple of the guys had Irish coffee, but because I don’t like whiskey I decided to have a celebratory gin and tonic, however this ended up being two straight gins at 10am as they had no tonic! That afternoon we made the short descent to our lodge in Monjo where the owner had summited Everest 4 times from both the Tibet and the Nepal side!
The next day we trekked back to Lukla to reach our final lodge of the trip. We arrived at around 2pm and decided that it was time to celebrate the end of our adventures! A group of us headed to a Scottish bar for some drinks and to play some pool. I took advantage of the fact that they had burger and chips on the menu – it tasted so good after the food we had been eating during the trek. Everyone let their hair down and all the English members of the group signed a big English flag that they had in the pub!
We returned to our lodge at around 6:30pm and got together to present the porters and Sherpas with their tips. There was also a lucky dip of equipment and clothing donated by people in our group. They were overjoyed by the gifts and it was so special to see the excitement on their faces. It was like all their Christmases had come at once! We also presented Tom (our guide) with a card and a weekend away to Rudding Park Hotel and Spa as Matt (one of the members of our group and one of my closest friends on the trip) is head chef there! Tom had been planning on running the ultra-marathon, however he had to sacrifice this to organise getting a poorly member of our group air lifted from base camp! Understandably, after training so hard for this, he was a bit fed up so the gift gave him a much needed boost! After the presentation, Matt and I had a chat over a few beers before heading to bed ready for our 6am flight to Kathmandu the next day.
I woke up in a panic at 5.20am having overslept following the previous night’s beers! Thankfully the airport was only just outside the lodge so we made it just in time and the weather was looking good! The day before, no flights had left Lukla due to bad weather and there were some people in the same lodge who had been waiting for a week to fly out as if your flight doesn’t go on the day its scheduled you become less of a priority. A group of us had already decided that should this happen to us we would club together to get a helicopter out, however this would have set me back $500. I was grateful that it didn’t come to this!
Airport security consisted of a quick pat down without even checking your pockets, even if there were obviously items in them! We were even able to walk onto the runway to take photos prior to our flight!
Take off was just as hair raising as the landing! The plane accelerated down-hill along the short runway before taking off a couple of metres before a dramatic drop into the valley below! It was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! We left the peace and tranquillity of the mountains behind us and arrived back to the chaos of Kathmandu! It was a bit of a culture shock!
We were transferred back to the Shanker Hotel, where we had first started our trip, and I had a lovely breakfast of omelette, bacon, tomatoes, ham and cheese – delicious after only having a choice of porridge, toast or boiled eggs for the last two weeks!
My bag was coming on the next flight but luckily I had some clean clothes at the hotel which I had left there before departing to Lukla. The hotel room was like luxury compared to the lodges and I had a much needed shower! It was very hot in Kathmandu so I changed into my shorts and t-shirt. It was strange to think that only a few days before I had been wrapping up in my thermals in freezing temperatures! I then joined a guy from our group called Mike to walk into the centre of Kathmandu. Mike had previously lived there for almost a year so he was keen to show me how the locals live! We went to some very old temples with incredible architecture and he showed me where he had been staying when the earthquake had hit!
We then had dinner in a local Nepalese restaurant which Mike recommended. It was nothing to look at but the food was amazing! I had a local dish of buffalo mo mo in spicy sauce which cost me a mere £1.30! I then did a bit of souvenir shopping before heading back to the hotel! We had a couple of drinks by the pool before going back into the centre of Kathmandu with the rest of our group for a not so local dish of pizza! We then spent the evening having a few drinks in an Irish bar and back at the hotel.
The next day was my last day in Nepal. We spent the morning relaxing by the pool and packing before our end of trip party which was typical Kathmandu style – total chaos! This started off with some official speeches and a buffet dinner before everyone let their hair down at the free bar! I was very restrained and drank very little as I didn’t want a hangover before my flight home!
I am now at the airport awaiting my long flight home. Although it’s been an amazing experience and an incredible journey, I can’t wait to get home to Helen, my friends and my family! The trip has been life changing on many fronts – I have achieved my ambition of seeing Everest and conquering the Everest marathon and I have made some friends for life! I feel content that I have done what I set out to do – I have left all my troubles on the mountain and I feel at peace with myself and ready to come home and relax back into everyday life.
Thank you to each and every one of you for the support you have given me, it really helped to give me strength when the going got tough!
See you all soon!