The first impression of the town was good: no traffic, no pollution, no noise. So maybe it was true and Pokhara was an oasis of tanquility. What we suffered, though, was the high heat for the first time in our trip. We left the backpack in the hotel and went to explore a bit the town and to inform ourselves about the paragliding thing.
Pokhara is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to practise this sport, and as we had never tried it, we were really looking forward to it. We went to a few travel agencies and they all had the same prices and conditions, so what we did, like in Chitwan, was to book the activity through the hotel, finally.
Besides, the setting is really privileged: there's a lake where you can rent a boat or a kayak to sail a bit, a promenade along the lake in which to have a walk and stop for a beer in one of the cosy bars right in front of the water and on the other side of town you have the Annapurnas, which we didn't see due to the clouds at that time of the day.
Pokhara is like this, don't go looking for monuments or big sights, it is a place to relax, to practice kayaking or paragliding, to have a beer by the lake, some good Western food and a good base to start your Annapurna trekking.
The following morning was going to be devoted to visit the nearby Japanese World Peace Pagoda (set in a hill accross the lake) and to stroll around town. And the day began with something unexpected. When we looked through the window we could see the whole Annapurna Range in front of us! Amazing! The previous day it was so cloudy that nothing was visible, but now the sky was clear blue and we had in front of us the famous Fish Tail, and the four Annapurnas.
Once up there, we noticed that the pagoda has actually nothing special and that the views were quite disappointing, or not as beautiful as we expected. It was around midday and the sky above the Annapurnas was fully covered by clouds. It was like this all the days in Pokhara: a clear sky early morning, and then clouds started appearing and hiding the mountain range.
Anyway, we had nice views of the lake and of the city, and it was just a small taste of what we were supposed to see the following day while paragliding. We just hoped for a clear sky!
After the experience we finally got back to the lakeside, went to have a creppe, a pizza in a quite creepy place and to sleep hoping for a blue sky the following day and a great first paragliding experience.
We woke up early in the morning and waited for a driver who picked us up. Jumped in the car, went to pick up another guy (it turned out to be a nice Spanish guy) and we drove to the nearby hill from where the paragliders start.
If you have never tried paragliding, the first time you need, obviously, an instructor. In my case, it was a Nepali guy. He gave me a few instructions on what to do for the take off (basically just run and lift my legs up) and in a blink of eyes I was wearing a helmet and the paragliding harness, which is like a seat attached to the instructor and to the "wires" that control the moves of the whole thing.
As there were quite a few other people waiting to start and only one paraglider can take off at the same time, we had to wait for a few minutes before starting the fun. When my turn came, he just said "run" and in 5 seconds I was literally flying. The feeling is undescriptable. At the beginning it is a bit scary, you're literally floating in the air, but after a few seconds you just start enjoying everything.
There I met again the Spanish guy who, as me, was totally excited about the experience. Actually it was one of the best experiences ever, it is the closest you can get to flying and definitely a thing I want to try again!
Our last day in Pokhara was devoted to explore a bit more in depth the lake, so we rented a kayak for one hour and went to the lake. It was nice, although hard to control the kayak, but somehow we made it to the other shore of the lake and we could enjoy nice views of the Annapurnas and even of the Daulaghiri, another of the eight-thousanders visible from Pokhara.
Now it was just time to spend the rest of the day relaxing and prepare to abandon Pokhara. The next activity was going to be the highight of the trip to Nepal: The trekking around the Annapurna Circuit!
If you're planning on visiting Pokhara, don't forget to check my Travel Guide and for more pictures, the complete Nepal Picture Gallery!