A champagne breakfast at the top of the world … I couldn’t possibly have dreamed I would ever have such an incredible experience, not to mention several times! I’ve been fortunate enough to be a guest of Ventours and heartily recommend this game-changing – not to mention surreal! – trip to those seeking a travel experience like none other. I’m looking forward to returning this fall to celebrate my father’s birthday.
The dawn helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Kongde Lodge is a once-in-lifetime experience – 80 minutes of sheer awe and wonder as you glide above the Himalayas, the Everest range and the Kumbu Valley. While others trek into the lodge over the course of a day, our pilot gently landed us at this 12-room, rustic yet comfortable, mountain residence, one of the highest in the world at 4,250 meters and in full view of five of the world’s highest peaks: Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho-Oyo, Gyajung Khang and Ama Dablam. Still today, this dramatic scenery dances in my head when I recall my top travel experiences.
The light … the bright, brilliant sunshine and crystal-clear skies. The prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. It was if the whole world was beckoning for my discovery. Despite the altitude, the sun casts a warm glow and puts a rosy hue on your cheeks. We were greeted by Sherpa women in traditional dress from Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the high Himalaya and a popular stop for trekkers as they acclimatize to the altitude (if you can, visit Namche Bazaar on a Saturday morning to attend the weekly market in the center of the village). These lovely women, who come to work at the lodge every day, craft five-star breakfasts for fortunate guest such as ourselves. The omelet was the best I’ve ever had, complemented by delicious homemade pastries and cakes, local preserves and honey, organic eggs and Swiss-style cheese from the mountain villages. And, of course, a glass of champagne to toast our heaven-sent location. While some tried yak milk, which is definitely an acquired taste, I sampled and quite enjoyed the yak cheese, which has a delightfully delicate flavor. One of my favorites was the apple juice from local Mustang apple orchards.
The scale of the surrounding mountains and the vastness of the world as it spreads out in all directions humbles one and, for me, made this a richly spiritual experience. The first time I visited, my Poppa had passed away six months prior – I said a little prayer for him and tied a prayer flag, thinking it would be the closest to the skies I would ever stand.
We were there – on top of the world- a mere 90 minutes to ensure that we weren’t exerting ourselves due to the scarcity of oxygen at this height, but it was an hour and a half that will live on in my memory forever. Ventours can make this dream a reality – ask me how!