Toni Muné

Long ago… at the end of October 2017…

After a previous meeting with Josep, an industrial engineer from Berga who has been coming to Nepalese lands for about 4 years, and Nima, a Nepalese son of Langtang, we set out to travel to the beautiful Langtang Valley, a Natural Park located at north of Kathmandu.

Ten hours by bus take us to Subrabesi, the last city to arrive by motorized land transport. We spend the night in a very peaceful hotel: Hotel Peaceful. Last night connected to the internet.

The next day we started the trek with considerable heat. We go from 1500m to 2700m. A good climb that we do greeting many of Nima’s acquaintances. We arrive at Rimche. The night is cold. During the day we went up the river that comes from the bottom of the Langtang Valley. What verticality, what rapids, what stairs made of stone pylons we have climbed, what more varied vegetation we have crossed, how many landslides warn of the danger of their steep slopes, various bridges and local houses…

We continue uphill to the town of Langtang. The closed valley opens its angle and shows us all its white surroundings. The trekkers who come down tell us that a few days ago a snowfall of two palms fell. For our minds we imagine a snowy reception. Our gaze locates on the horizon the tremendous slope that precipitated a dramatic avalanche that buried the village of Langtang causing more than a hundred deaths, among locals and tourists. A tragedy that still runs through the minds of locals. Nima, a father of 7 children, lost his wife and three brothers. After two years (the earthquake was on April 25, 2015) still struggling to wake up at night. The memory is still very much present.

The village of Langtang is slowly being rebuilt. On arrival we meet young workers who are building a memorial monument. Among the names, I read that of seven Spaniards. The movement of trekkers is also recovering after the descent caused by the natural phenomenon. The presence of tourists is critical to the survival of Nepalese living in the area. We sleep at 3.400m in a guest house of some Nima´s acquaintances. Going with him opens the doors to the most authentic Nepalese people. We have dinner playing with the child in the house running up and down knowing that he is the center of attention. We go to sleep on a cold night that offers a stellar spectacle that is imprinted in the hemisphere of memories.

Josep, who speaks Nepali well enough thanks to the classes of his Nepali goddaughter, is 67 years old and very well behaved. Despite having her knees hit, she climbs at a good pace. We didn’t know each other until two days ago and it looks like we were old acquaintances. We have connected well. And with Nima, who speaks little English, it’s fun to communicate, with a few words in English and signs. Sometimes I watch Nepalese conversations between him and Josep, and little by little I start to catch a few words. I bought an English-Nepali conversation guide. I hope in a few years to talk a little more. The goal is in the air

Walking for about four hours along a less and less steep path, the valley opens up and offers stunning views; Langtang Lirung (over 7,000 meters), the Tzergo Ri 5,000m, Kyanjin Ri and several glaciers welcome us. The show is on and I didn’t expect it! Visual festival.

The next day Choenyi arrives in the middle of the morning. She is Nima’s third daughter. The eldest one, Pasang Butthi, lives in Spain and is the creator of one Association that helps the families of the Valley after the tragic earthquake. The girl is fluent in English, which makes communication easier.

We spent a week living with the family enjoying Nepalese cuisine and the surrounding area.

To cook and keep the home warm we walk to the nearest forest with the Nima to cut a huge fallen trunk. We carry it in the Nepali style: hanging on the back and with the support of the head. We have firewood for over a week, good job.

We also have time to take a walk to a nearby lake, the headwaters of which are being built by a water pipe leading to a turbine that will generate electricity in Langtang and Kyanjin. They plan to complete the works and connect the light in a few months. The people are ready for the long-awaited arrival of energy.
And a couple of treks. I do the first one with Josep and Choenyi towards Kyanjin Ri. A very special summit for me. An energetic place with unforgettable views of the village of Kyanjin Gumba.
 I do the last trek with Nima. We climb the Tzergo, almost 5,000 meters. We make a majestic circular route at a dizzying pace. I enjoy the adventure like never before with a man who knows the area perfectly and show me his most beautiful places.
One of the days of our stay coincides with my birthday. What a wonder to enjoy it with good company in an isolated and charming place in the middle of the mountain. Josep and I decided to cook potato omelette to celebrate and I ordered a cake from a pastry shop located at 3,800 meters! Idyllic. It is wonderful to share traditions with the locals. Choenyi tells me that she has only celebrated her birthday once (20 years) and never with a cake. The omelette comes out perfect! It doesn’t stick! They love it. We replace bread with tomato, for logistical reasons, with Nepalese bread. We season it all with a mint tea. The party is framed in my retina. Unforgettable.
Finally, I would like to thank Josep, Nima, Choenyi and all the other inhabitants of the Langtang Valley for their great welcome. I will remember these days of solidarity all my life. See you soon!
Toni Muné

Gràcies Toni!

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