A Himalayan Odyssey 5-22 April
It is now over a month since we returned from our first Ramblers Worldwide Holiday. The fact that it was to India is perhaps the main reason why it has taken me so long to sift through the kaleidoscope of memories, impressions and sensations, to gather together sufficient coherent thoughts and words to express just how wonderful it was.
It was an important holiday for us, marking the end of years of running a life- consuming business, and in fact the first proper holiday my husband had ever taken.
We both enjoy walking, and the Himalayan Odyssey seemed an ideal opportunity for walking in the foothills of the Himalayas, with the added attraction of visits to places we very much wanted to see.
I admit to some pre-holiday apprehension about the new experience of walking with a group, and also of how serious and competitive the other walkers would be. Coming from East Anglia I had no regular experience of hill walking (around here even those slopes which are barely visible to the naked eye are given a name!) and so I was especially nervous of the “steep descents” which seemed to crop up on the itinerary.
My apprehension wasn’t helped on the first evening by my eavesdropping on travellers’ tales about trips to Everest Base Camp! Everybody, it seemed, had been on Ramblers Worldwide Holidays before, which I suppose should have been a comfort, as they couldn’t be that bad, but perversely made it seem even more daunting.
I need not have worried. Being part of this particular group was one of the things that made the holiday so special. There were fifteen of us, all from very different walks of life, but from the beginning we seemed to gel together as a group and there was never any sense of cliques or of having to sit next to a particular person at meals or walk next to them on treks.
We all mixed in happily together. And I found that I was able to cope with the walks and to thoroughly enjoy them. There was no sense of competitiveness or impatience. Everyone was concerned for and supportive of everyone else. The more experienced walkers gave useful advice to novices like us.
I will now never forget to roll my socks over my laces, after a freak accident in which the loop of the lace of my right boot became caught in the metal hook on the left boot, tying my feet together and propelling me, cartoon-like, full length on the ground – fortunately on a muddy path, rather than a narrow track with a sheer drop.
Part 2 coming soon…