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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Going Local in Kathmandu: City Stroll & Sari Wedding Experience!

My visit to Nepal has changed my life forever. I feel that right now, this country is the emotional epicentre of my entire universe. Never before in my whole life have I felt so comfortable, so natural, so peaceful in the face of so many contradictions & cultural wonders on this #CreativElenaRTW trip of mine. And this is solely, entirely, magically due to the incredible human warmth & natural sense of hospitality of the Nepali people. I am forever fascinated, deeply impressed and honoured by their presence. Their unfaltering, natural sense of humour and peace in the face of so many challenges.

‘We have a power-cut reality. Dust levels in Kathmandu valley are alarming. Traffic … Well everyone is king of the road here!” Rakesh and his heart-warming, disarming laughter. My first ever contact, and soon-to-be friend in this country of many riddles. Tuning into his natural easiness has allowed me to feel easy and natural here myself. How is this possible, I still wonder in amazement, in so short a time and to such a degree of intensity? I look out upon Kathmandu, the “City of Wood”, from my window seat on the plane … I want to be back here sooner rather than later. This country and its people have truly moved me to the bottom of my heart.”

Words pour out and into my diary as I sit reflecting upon my travel experiences of Nepal, and how meeting the very people of Nepal has helped shape my understanding of the world once more.

 

Nepal is a country of many realities. Steeped in an eventful history (and topography), its magic easily works on you – especially where the beauty of its people is concerned.

Nepal is one of our favorite countries with the warmth of its people and incredible mountains.” – “Nepal … I have been there three times and I do not say this often, but I really must admit to falling head over heels for Kathmandu … I could easily live there for a while!” Words from my fellow travel writers who have already visited Nepal. The feedback I have received from all over the world reflects the same positive reality I have experienced while travelling here. Kathmandu especially has won my heart in many ways. One such way is travelling with the local people, sharing and eating their local food (“It’s amazing how you can digest just about everything, Elena! You are really meant to be here!” 😀 ) as well as being invited on truly special occasions as a traveller. Such as a traditional Nepali wedding ceremony!

 

“I have checked with my friend, and yes of course you can come … It is the wedding season here in Kathmandu, you know. My sister has a Sari for you, too. It will be very special!”

Rakesh Shahi, of Mystik Mountains Adventures & Holidays, is not only a great guide and resourceful, organizational talent for all things “adventures & holidays” here in Nepal, but has also become a true friend and like-minded companion spirit over all our shared travels here in Nepal. “Mine is connecting people … I believe it is all about giving you the very experiences you want!”, he would laugh and smile warmly, thinking of how to make things happen for the kind of local culture experiences I am interested in as a creative traveller here in Nepal.

Left, Rakesh Shahi and his friend are doing everything to organize the most memorable "adventure & holidays" experience through their company Mystik Mountains Adventures & Holidays here in Nepal ...

Rakesh Shahi (left) and his business partner busy organizing the most memorable “adventure & holidays” experience through their company Mystik Mountains Adventures & Holidays …

 

Magic moments in Nepal: Being dressed in a Sari & going to a local wedding here in Kathmandu ...

… including arranging for “magic moments” such as these ones to happen: Being dressed in a Sari & going to a local wedding here in Kathmandu!

 

... is something I have never even dared to imagine, a true gift ...

A true celebration of creativity …

 

... colour & tradition in my eyes: Here, the newly-weds receive their spiritual blessing by the priest as one of many rituals and ceremonies.

… colour & tradition: Here, the newly-weds receive their spiritual blessing by the priest as one of many rituals and ceremonies.

 

The wedding couple ...

The wedding couple blows my mind at their bursting colours and all the detailed rituals they have to follow …

 

... and their beautiful friends impress me deeply. Beautiful, generous and open-minded people here !!

… and chatting to their beautiful friends further impresses me deeply. Amazing, generous and open-minded people here !!

 

And if you've ever wondered about what food might be served at a wedding, the answer is that it is just as tasty and flavoursome as the rest of the country. Delicious spicy vegetables, salads, pickles & meat!

And if you’ve ever wondered about what food might be served at a wedding, the answer is that it is just as tasty and flavoursome as in the rest of the country. Delicious spicy vegetables, salads, pickles & meat!

 

Thank you so much - DHANYABAD! - my dear Nepali people! You are winning my heart times over by your beautiful openness and natural hospitality.!

Thank you so much – DHANYABAD! – my dear Nepali people! You are winning my heart times over by your beautiful openness and natural hospitality.!

 

Going local with food in Kathmandu: Think Himalayan coffee beans, “Newari” lunch plate & the “Garden of Dreams” …

Thanks to Nepal’s unique location in the subtropics and owing to its manifold hill & mountain landscape, virtually “everything grows here” – from rice to fruit to vegetables to spices to real “Himalayan coffee beans“! As a person indulging in creamy latte art coffee from around the world, I can truly recommend you to visit Himalayan Beanz coffeeshop as well as the “Garden of Dreams” and their “Kaiser Café” here in Kathmandu. Indeed, as the name suggests, the latter one has been developed by Austrians!

This is how I like my morning to start in Kathmandu: Fresh Himalayan coffee ...

This is how I like my morning to start in Kathmandu: Fresh Himalayan coffee …

 

... followed by later lunch discoveries, such as this "Newari" mixed lunch plate including "chiura" (beaten rice), spicy veggies & pickles as well as mutton & potatoes. Delicious !!!

… followed by later lunch discoveries, such as this “Newari” mixed lunch plate including “chiura” (beaten rice), spicy veggies & pickles as well as mutton & potatoes. Delicious !!!

 

Thinking food, it is always interesting to check out the corresponding local markets too ...

Thinking food, it is always interesting to check out the corresponding local markets too …

 

... as well as knowing where to go for the more unusual experiences: Rakesh takes me to my Austrian "Kaiser Café" ..!

… as well as knowing where to go for the more unusual experiences: Rakesh takes me to my Austrian “Kaiser Café” ..!

 

A place meant to indulge in an interesting fusion of imperial Western palace style mixed with local Nepali elements ...

A place meant to indulge in an interesting fusion of imperial Western palace style mixed with local Nepali elements …

 

... squirrels ;) ...

… squirrels …

 

... as well as a nice atmosphere for a coffee break!

… as well as a nice atmosphere for a coffee break!

 

Consider "dessert" in later Durbar Square in the heart of the old heritage city of Kathmandu?

Consider “dessert” in the heart of the old heritage city of Kathmandu? This boy has got something to offer!

 

From staying in the central Tamil district of Kathmandu, it is a pleasant stroll to reach “Hanumandhoka” Durbar Square, the ancient heritage city of the Nepali capital.

I like “strolling”. It always allows you to feel the pulse of a city, I believe. The ‘coronary vessels’ of Kathmandu are pulsating with the shouting of street vendors, flowing to the pace of people and animals, as well as emanating the smell of whatever produce happens to be sold in front of you. Every now and then, a Bouddha Stupa little temple or shrine would rise from the ranks, with people stopping to turn its prayer mills and pausing for a moment of reflection. The largest among those in Kathmandu has really left me fascinated! My love for the beauty of expression to be found here in Nepal!

Morning walk means circumnavigating anything coming your way in the narrow streets of Kathmandu old town ...

Morning walk means circumnavigating anything coming your way in the narrow streets of Kathmandu old town …

 

... and taking those moments of peace and rest ...

… and taking time to observe those moments of peace and rest …

 

... right next to the city's famous praying mills, as seen at this little Bouddha temple ...

… right next to the city’s famous praying mills, as seen at this little Bouddha temple …

 

Nearing Durbar Square, some temples bid you to take your shoes off ... or buy some new ones, as exhibited here!

Nearing Durbar Square, some temples bid you to take your shoes off … or buy some new ones?

 

I am still mesmerized by this statute of ... the monkey-god in local religious belief!

I am still mesmerized by this statute of … the monkey-god! First, I saw a giant orange coffee bean. 🙂

 

As well as the beautiful architecture of this World Heritage site in the middle of the old heritage city of Kathmandu.

As well as the beautiful architecture of this World Heritage site in the middle of the old heritage city of Kathmandu.

 

A little later, we follow the city ...

A little later, we follow the city of Kathmandu …

 

... all the way to meeting Nepal's former athletics champion on his well-deserved road to retirement from the Olympic Games - an interesting honour and ceremony to watch!

… all the way to meeting Nepal’s former athletics champion on his well-deserved road to retirement from the Olympic Games – an interesting honour and ceremony to watch!

 

"Dhanyabad" Rakesh & friends - Lovely meeting the real faces to a city that has conquered my heart (and stomach) in many ways.!

“Dhanyabad” Rakesh & friends Bipul (left) and Ujjwal (far right) – Lovely meeting the real faces to a city that has conquered my heart (and stomach) in many ways.!

 

Check out even more travel photos from my visit of Kathmandu city & Sankhu village here in Nepal on my Flickr Photo Gallery:

Disclaimer: I have been invited by Mystik Mountains Adventures & Holidays on this culture / nature trip around Nepal. All opinions are my own.

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Mystik Mountains Adventure & Holidays: From Nepal with Love.
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