Friday 23 December: Pokhara's only a quarter of a mile or so lower in altitude than Kathmandu but it's a lot warmer and less congested. I've bargained a 450 Rupee en-suite room with hot water and a balcony in the modern Peace Plaza hotel overlooking the lake. It's nice, so I'll stay here for the New Year
Sunday 25: Merry Christmas. It's a good walk around the south of the lake and up through woodland to the World Peace Pagoda with fantastic views from it's little garden over the lake and up to the Annapurna Himal with Machapuchare (Fish Tail Mountain) at it's centre. Stopping here for a simple lunch it's a great place to spend Christmas day.
Back in Pokhara, dinner in the evening is an avocado and mandarin starter followed by pumpkin soup, spit-roast boar with Mustang apricots and, fig and walnut cheesecake, all washed down by a velvety Aussie Shiraz which cost more than the entire meal. I had promised myself a Buddhist meditation course as a present but, somewhat surprisingly, the ashram is closed for Christmas.
Monday 26: It's a long walk through the old part of town to the Gurkha Museum and tales of Victoria crosses and battle heroics.
Tuesday 27: The International Mountain Museum is mostly photographs and stories of first ascents of the world's highest peaks but the views from the garden to the Annapurna range are stunning.
Wednesday 28: Strolling north around the lake I reach Pame Bazaar. There's not much here but the countryside is pretty and the bird life along the river and lakeside is varied and plentiful.
Saturday 31: It's party time and Pokhara Lakeside's main street is now traffic-free so all of the businesses have spilled-out into the road with tombola stalls and such-like that wouldn't look out of place at an English village fete. The little Tibetan Kitchen Restaurant, serving up dhall bhat, momos and hot tongba beer is my favourite
Potos of Pokhara.