My father would love Lukla.
The air strip is set on the edge of a cliff which drops hundreds of metres down into the valley below. At one end is the cliff-edge and at the other end of the strip is a high stone wall set into the mountainside.
The airstrip is oft covered by cloud meaning that, when the weather is clear, small planes land, un-load, re-load and depart with ferocious speed and efficiency (one round might take as little as four minutes).
The air in Lukla is filled with the smoky aroma of burning wood and incense. The main road of the town is paved in flat(ish) stones all laid by hand. No cars exist here.
We did a small trek today, visiting the minute monastery in the village. Spirits in the group are high, regardless of the somewhat frustrating six-hour wait at Kathmandu airport this morning waiting for the weather at Lukla to clear. It could be worse, however. Newcastle University had been delayed three days altogether, though they had departed from London before we had.
The landing into Lukla Tenzing-Hillary Airport was rather exciting for all concerned – mildly Indiana-Jones-esque. Just what’s needed at the beginning of an adventure such as this.
We stayed at a place called Tara Lodge just above the airport. Food’s delicious, sherpas and porters all charming and slept a solid 12 hours before the next day’s 10 o’clock start.
Check out what happens when the landing in Lukla goes wrong. (My mother need not look at this).