After a silent and sleepy continental/Chinese breakfast at the hotel in Shigatse we left for Everest Base Camp (EBC). The road to the camp is unmade for long sections, it took us nearly 8 hours to cover 350 km.
Six people on the road, surrounded by a rough landscape.
We had time to talk while the driver was doing all the job. The guide shared tales and adventures from his early life and we emphatized a lot. Sometimes we got off the van and stretched our legs: just desert rocks and mountains. On the way, we stopped and visited a monastery apparently inhabiter by just two monks. They were reserved and
On the way, we stopped and visited a monastery apparently inhabiter by just two monks. They were reserved and shy, but allowed to visit the halls, which were decorated with paintings and sculptures, and to look at the view from the rooftop. I added photos on this page.
After a few hours in the car, I started feeling a bit dehydrated, probably because of the altitude. We spotted some wildlife
When we arrived at EBC an hour or so before the sunset we all felt tired. It was quite windy. We took some time to familiarize with the camp and the beautifully coloured tent assigned to us, run by a girl and her mother. The camp was busy with people.
I realized I didn’t bring enough warm clothes. I had just shirts and sweaters and luckily a woollen hat, gloves and Tibetan stile pants that I had bought at a souvenir shop in Lhasa. Tibetan summer can be very cold!
I was happy: me, in a Tibetan camp, at about 5200 metres.
But there wasn’t enough time to rest on thoughts. We drank tea in the tent, visited the bathroom box that was shared by all the camp dwellers and after we took a walk to see Mount Everest and Rongbuk Monastery.
We managed to gaze at the mountain while the snow was made pink by the sunset light.
Rongbuk Monastery is the highest monastery in the world. The Lama welcomed us in a red winter coat. He showed us the cave where it is said that Padmasanbhava reached enlightenment. Differently from others monastery in Lhasa, photos were allowed and free. I decided to leave my camera outside the sacred cave. I just felt so greatful to be there.
We had a light dinner and lay down for early sleep on the beds that covered the whole perimeter of the tent and consisted in wooden benches with mattresses on them
Before switching off the light, the tent owner came and put even more thick blankets upon each of us, tucking them in. I think I was sleeping with 5 or 6 blankets, hat and gloves on and still felt a little bit cold.
In the middle of the night I woke up with a terrible headache. I emerged from the sea of blankets and tried to stand. The guide heard me and got up too. He suggested to take a medicine to beat the altitude sickness. I couldn’t see anything because there was no light. I try to avoid pills in general, but I trusted the Tibetan guide very much. He whispered in my hears that the headache could turn into fever and I still had more days to spend travelling. So I decided to swallow the pill, had a big glass of water and fell asleep again. The morning after I was feeling absolutely well. Also, I was so positively surprised that the guide was sleeping with an eye open, checking costantly on us!
We took another walk to see Mount Everest that morning. Colors changed a lot. I felt so cold, again.
We took off early. We drove along a young Brahmaputra, close to the glacier where the river is born , directed to Tashilhunpo Monastery, a place of magical atmosphere built by the 1st Dalai Lama Gedun Drup in 1447, which later became the seat of the Panchen Lama lineages.