Namche Bazaar is the largest town we will see on our trek.  Nestled in a horseshoe shaped hillside at 3400 metres, it has most of the amenities a trekker could desire.  There is a hospital, innumerable shops offering trekking gear, several banks and money changers, a (Canadian trained) dentist, and, near and dear to a trekker’s heart, at least three bakeries.  What makes all of these businesses remarkable is that there is no road access to Namche.  Everything is produced locally, carried in on the back of a man or a beast, or, at great expense, transported by helicopter.

It is accepted wisdom that a trekker should spend two nights in Namche to acclimatize to the altitude.  And so we are enjoying two nights and a “rest” day here.  There are several theories about what to do on a rest day, including rest, but I subscribe to the classic notion that you should climb high and sleep low.  

I made allowances for our fatigue from the 1000 metre climb into Namche to settle on a modest climb this morning.  We climbed slowly to a point about 500 metres above Namche.  We could feel the effects of the altitude in lightheadedness, so it was a good decision to remain here for two nights.

Yesterday evening our hotel owner suggested we have breakfast at 6:30 am rather than 6:00, so that we could enjoy the view.  We shrugged and settled on 6:15.  It had been partially cloudy when we arrived in Namche, so when I stepped out onto the terrace this morning at 6:00, I was gobsmacked by the spectacular mountain facing me.  A few minutes later the sun struck the peaks of the mountain.  It was all we could do to make our 6:15 breakfast.

The sense of awe continued on our day hike.  We climbed to a point where we could get a good view of the mountain of Amadablam, a strikingly narrow wedge of a peak.  Enroute we passed a largely abandoned airstrip (too high for most planes to land on) and numerous stupas, mani walls, carved boulders and other manifestations of local Buddhist faith.  We returned to Namche to enjoy a few treats at a long established bakery.

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