NÓMADAS #3 - Joana Braga at NEPAL

Today the nomadic adventure takes us with Joana Braga on a trip almost touching the sky on her difficult but magical journey to Annapurnas (Himalayas), Nepal

Why choose that destination?

I have been fascinated by high mountains for many years, but the Himalayas would be another level, and there is no photo or video that can transmit their magnificence and magnitude. It is the highest mountain range in the world, I wanted to make sure they touched the sky, I would have to see and feel the place and above all the culture. And this would be a trip that you would only reach in a group, with Nomad

Short itinerary and points of interest for your trip?

Being a trip that already had a defined itinerary I will not spoil any surprises for anyone there, but I leave a generic idea of ​​the most interesting and expectant that can be found there.

Leaving Kathmandu and its chaotic streets of Thamel, with thousands of people in a few square meters, smells of incense mixed with markets to the sound of prayers at every corner and beautiful temples overflowing with energy like Boudhanath, honking of vehicles as if of highly technological radars if they did, I then took the bus, apparently with worn brakes and squeaking, to another city - Pokhara.

After enjoying this calmer city bathed by the great Phewa lake, we then take a jeep with the mountain equipment to Birethanti where a 10-12 day trek begins to the Annapurnas sanctuary.

From here it would be about 120kms traveled up and down to 4150m altitude, with many stairs, rice fields, long bridges over glacier rivers, lively villages, buffaloes and porters carrying heavy loads. It took many hours to walk and manage efforts, but in such a scenario we do not even remember the pain.

Two or three moments that marked you the most during the trip?

I admit that all the moments marked me and were special to me, but the clear image that remains for me: The sunset falling on the mountain Dakshin - Annapurna Sul - above the clouds, with the villages below it turning on its lights and tones dropping orange to become pink and violet - all on the first day of the hike.

And coincidentally, on the last day of trekking, on our return, waking up almost every day at 6 am and finally having a perfect sunrise on that same mountain, Annapurna South and the closest, Machapuchare, from Ghandruk sitting on a flowery and fresh garden.

Not to mention the moment lying on the icy rocks, listening to the glacier thunder just a few kilometers away, and seeing the milky way clearly as I had seen it so clear in the Desert in Morocco, but at 4150m altitude and on a rare night without wind in the Annapurnas.

The biggest difficulties you faced?

Besides the greatest difficulty was leaving Nepal, because mentally a part of me was sitting enjoying the Himalayas, these were the symptoms I had on my descent, overcoming the physical effort that such trekking required.

Suffering from altitude sickness is semi-manageable from medication, but at the option of everyone we decided not to take it. We would have a slow and effective acclimatization, with progressive ascents and descents. Until 4150m I felt the body reacting relatively well in general, except for the lack of appetite for dinner at Machapuchare Base Camp and having taken with the high mountain guide, Dev, to scold me. I think my sensitivity and concern at seeing the hand

from my friend Gisela bleeding after crashing on the floor while playing with a Nepalese Mastiff dog, it didn't help.

One or the other of the group already had symptoms of headaches, nausea or lack of appetite during the climb, but in fact for me when descending my breathlessness, the lack of sleep and the constant cough that became worrying. Symptoms that would indicate a principle of pulmonary edema caused by extreme altitudes, I later learned. To point out that naturally I was recovering with a lot of ugly cough in the middle.

Mountain sickness tends to appear above 2400m, although each person has different registers and symptoms or absence of them

Curiosities about differences in culture?

From experience, culture was not unfamiliar to me. I participated for some years in volunteering, meditations and sessions related to the Buddhist / Hindu religion. And as ignorant as it may seem, not knowing that road traffic would be the opposite of ours, this fact atrophied me allied to the chaos of the roads where “anything goes” and nothing has maintenance, where everyone circulates without rules but everything in an “organized” dynamic ”.

In the mountains I admire the porters (be it Sherpas, Gurung, Thakali, ...). They are superhuman, their ability to carry heavy weights on a high mountain over hours of walking is unbelievable. It is their means of livelihood, whether it be supplying gas jugs, transporting food or heavy backpacks for those who come to adventures like these.

Also due to lack of knowledge, I did not expect to encounter dozens of monkeys in temples, not in Nepal.

The food is second to none, and mostly vegetarian, I miss it a lot. And it is curious that during mountain trekking, meat dishes are practically not served in tea houses. Meat with atmospheric pressure and altitude, is less processed and tolerated by our body

What not to forget to take to this destination?

Above all, being well prepared with good equipment, the list is big and it depends on each one and their experience on the mountain. But a good pair of adapted shoes, sos kit, medication, water purifying tablets, poles, lots and lots of water (3-5L per day is advisable to drink) and especially carry a light heart. It is essential in these circumstances to think that the higher the altitude the lower the attitude must be.

What time of year did you go? Do you advise this or another time?

In late October and full autumn, with favorable temperatures and mild weather, Nepal is high season for trekking. However, for mountain climbing and mountaineering, the ideal is May.

Autumn has a certain magic, the colors are beautiful, there is a certain climate of change that can be felt in the mountains.

If you came back what would you do differently?

If I return I would certainly return alone or accompanied by a maximum of 2 people, to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek or Everest Base Camp, despite the cliché ... and maybe I will not go to the North, the Tibet side.

It will always be different and I will know that I will hardly have such an enriching experience.

For those who want to follow more adventures of this nomad:



  1. ❤����......Faz bem ler o que os outros sentem com o Coração ��


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