My day went from terrible to wonderful. It started terribly because of a night spent battling bed bugs in a filthy room, culminating in waking up to find my right eye itchy, swollen and half-closed. I’m not sure whether I’ve been bitten by something or have caught something nasty like pink-eye (conjunctivitis). Teaches me for picking the cheapest place in which to sleep. My day is ending wonderfully because I’m cosy in a comfortable bed in a quaint hillside village, having just enjoyed a beautiful meal culminating in a whiskey/honey drink.
What happened in between? I hit the road and backtracked about 6km eastwards to the road that leads inland towards Ilam. The road was flat for a while and I enjoyed seeing the morning activities in tea plantations and rice fields. Then I hit the hills. Proper hills. A stretch of super steep slopes took me nearly four hours (including filming and snack stops). By late afternoon I’d made it to Kolbung, the village I’m now in. There is a nice blue lodge on the hillside offering cheap, comfortable rooms in which I feel no fear about contagious diseases. I will be using my silk liner over the pillow in an effort to prevent passing on what I got, just in case it’s contagious. I received a super friendly welcome into the lodge, before setting about having a wash. Oh the pain! The water was just above freezing point. Staying clean with freezing water is going to be a challenge now I’m reaching higher elevations. It’s really cold here. The temperature dropped as soon as the sun disappeared and for the first time in ages I’m wearing multiple layers.
After my torturous wash, I went for a walk around the village, including up what felt like a thousand stairs to a hilltop temple that overlooks the village and the hills through which I’d ridden. Back down in the village I was entertained for a while watching some gambling. Men, women and children were all involved, dropping money onto a different squares on a mat and waiting eagerly while six giant wooden die (with symbols on each side) were mixed in a bucket and thrown to the ground. Back at the lodge I enjoyed hot noodle soup before having a lie down until dinner. Over dinner I chatted to the lodge owner and another guest while watching local guys hanging out drinking beer. The whiskey/honey drink was a perfect nightcap and I am now under two layers if a very thick blanket, very ready to pass out for night.
|Distance ridden today||37.87km|
|Average cycling speed||8.1kph|
|Total distance ridden||15,143km|