Nimmu and Leh


There isn’t a whole lot to the village of Nimmu. A few tiny crumbling houses being rapidly overshadowed by some imposing holiday homes.

It’s such a beautiful spot that it’s easy to see why people want a place here.

We took a little walk to see whether our lungs are getting used to the lack of oxygen and were pleased to find that they are.

Sleeping is still a bit of a challenge, with the lungs suddenly deciding they need BIGGER BREATHS but We knew it would take time to get used to this altitude and if you are going to do nothing for a bit, Nimmu House is the place.

After two days though, it was time to move on and up another fifteen hundred feet or so to Leh.

The same cab driver who picked us up at the airport, met us again in his tiny van. He’s a friendly chap, quick to point out the various sights en route; the confluence of the silty grey Zanskar river with the blue Indus river, the new Ladakhi University campus and the snowy peaks of the Karakoram off in the distance.

After an hour we reached Leh and threaded our way up and up through narrow streets lined with cavelike shops selling everything; jostling with people and motorbikes and cabs. Eventually we got to our guesthouse where the manager seemed somewhat nonplussed by our arrival and flicked intently at his mobile phone for answers. Later it turns out that he has given away our room (or his sister has. It’s complicated). We left him with our bags and headed through an alleyway running between houses and shrines back down to the heart of the town.

We met ambling cows and sleeping dogs. Which we let lie. It’s busy but not frantic. There are prayer flags strung over the streets and mountains looming up on all sides, studded with lofty white gompas, and an ancient looming fortress. It feels like the Himalayan mountain town that it is.

It has everything of course. Coffee bars with WiFi, warrens of pashmina and antique shops. One says over the door “more junk upstairs”. And so to lunch at a Tibetan restaurant with a great range of fresh juices, zealously guarded by some of us.

After some more moseying and checking in with the company that has arranged our treks, we climbed back up to the Silver Cloud guesthouse for supper in the front room at low tables with carpeted benches and walls lined with cooking pots gleaming in the last of the evening light.

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