In some weird alternate reality, there must be all of the places as I imagined them rather than how they are. There is an Istanbul where everyone wears a fez, and some small English towns that look like the BBC adaptations. There is also a Kathmandu which is chilled out, clean and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. I have never, in all my travels, been so wrong in my impressions of what a place is like than Kathmandu.
Two men dressed in the traditional Nepalese garb looking over some sacred cows. I couldn't take the photo any closer, alas, or else they would have charged me. Note to self: get better zoom ...
Kathmandu has mountains in the distance, but is smoggy, busy and dirty. Tane and I were initially taken aback by this, especially as our first few minutes in the Kingdom of Nepal were spent being mobbed by touts. Once we got used to the idea that Kathmandu wasn't a haven of peace and mountain air, though, we found we liked it so much we were there all of half a day before deciding to change our flights back to India to allow more time in this fabulous country. Kathmandu isn't clean or calm, but it's a really neat place that we look forward to better exploring when we return there next week after our foray into the Himalayas.
A stupa in Kathmandu