Today most Everest trekkers fly to Lukla to start their visit. We could not recommend more strongly taking the extra time to walk the 8-9 days from Jiri to Lukla. 8 hours in a packed minibus took us the 120 miles from Kathmandu's chaotic central bus station along tarmac but twisting mountainous routes to the road-head of Jiri, bedecked with flags in anticipation of the arrival of many hundreds of monks and nuns assembling to meet a senior Buddhist lama . From here walking the traditional porter trails in the footsteps of Hillary was preferable to a bus on the rutted mud 'roads'. On day 1 we passed through Those and visited one of the schools with a girls' toilet block financed from our talks - we were very grateful to Deepen and the staff for their warm welcome. Shivalaya, our first overnight stay, reminded us of why we love trekking here so much - the vibrant villages, the children, the Buddhist religion, terraced farming ... and crafts like the bark-stripping for paper-making and, in Bhandar, paper-making itself. Our lodge accommodation was always interesting - in Sete, our most basic, we had chicken and goats sleeping beneath us and supper by torchlight after a power failure!
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