After visiting Lhasa, a few people from the group left, and a family of three, the driver, the guide and I started the trip to Everest Base Camp in a van.
I was excited because we were going up and we got to see the first, solitary yaks grazing.
The landscape was bright and desolated. I grew up in a big city surrounded by buildings, cars, and many many people. On that highway, with nothing to look at but the colors of the sky and the mountains, I felt tranquil and energized at the same time. I don’t think we met another car on the way to Yamdrok Lake. The 6 of us were the only disturbance in the slow, silent Tibetan summer.
And then, we reached the lake.
On the panoramic spot, before proceeding down to the shore, we stopped to take photos and to greet the locals which carried a big Tibetan dog and a lamb to entertain us. The few were naturally trying to sell devotional flags and incense, but the guide was very careful that they would not bother us too long. I printed in my mind the colors of the sky, the water, and the sand. The lake from above looked still and a perfect reflection of the sky and the clouds, a vast blue interrupted by the very light-brown of the mountain.
Yamdrok Lake is a sacred place. Therefore fishing and bathing are forbidden.
An Italian wouldn’t dare to take a step into those cold mountain waters anyway. However, you can walk on the shore, admiring the pristine colors in front of you and breathing the air of the highlands.
Not long later we were in the van again.
We stopped at Karola Glacier. The locals over there were sociable and eager to take pictures with us.
Even if we got to Shigatse late in the afternoon, it felt like it had been a long day. A woman in the group started feeling a light headache because of the altitude. I was feeling super well, and I hadn’t taken any pills to prevent altitude sickness. Following the guide’s advice, I tried the rice dish popular among Tibetans which consists of steamed basmati rice served with curry yak meat and potatoes.
The morning after, the second part of the trip to Everest Base Camp started.