Monday, 22 December 2008

The Adventure Company: The brew of Peru- Pisco Sour day 2009!

When it comes to national treasures, Peruvians have a lot to feel proud of. But it’s not just the majestic monuments and natural wonders that fill the locals with patriotic pride.

You might have climbed Machu Picchu and ridden a bone rattling combi around Lima but only a seemly reverence for the country’s iconic cocktail, Pisco Sour, will win you culture points with the locals.


Pisco Sour

Five years ago, Peruvians pestered the government for a day dedicated to the drink they adore, believing it to be one of the best cocktails ever created.

Officials duly caved under the pressure and Pisco Sour Day is now held on the first Saturday of February each year, - and each year the festivities in towns and villages around Peru getter bigger, and go on for longer! This year therefore, Pisco Sour Day will be held on the 7th February 2009.

The past of Pisco

For those who aren’t familiar with the renowned cocktail, an understanding of their history may help..

Pisco is a grape brandy meaning “little bird” and actually reaches back to the 1500’s and stems from the Colonial rule. After the Spanish brought grapes with them to Peru’s general area, they were grown within the deserts, and the new climate and soil gave the grapes it’s own unique fragrance and taste. The King of Spain soon abolished wine in the 17th century, and so locals turned their hand into creating something other than wine that was just as delicious, by themselves.

Soon after the port in which the new export was shipped from was also called Pisco. By 1630, casks of Pisco were so valuable to people they were used as means of payment for houses and land. So popular, it was thought that at this time up to 20 million litres of grape brandy were being exported each year.

It has always been distilled from fresh new wine since then, and is distilled in a stop-and-go process, rather than a continual. Water is never added either so the percentage is as natural as it can be.

True Pisco
Like any other spirit, a true, well-matured Pisco can be distinguished by its fragrance and taste. In Peru, a test known as the “rope and rose” is used to determine quality. By shaking a bottle of quality Pisco in circles, a viscous formation will appear spinning in a whirlwind along the bottles vertical axis. The column of bubbles is so called a “rope” and the bubbles on top will appear to form the “rose”.

Another note, is that to truly appreciate Pisco and its cocktail namesake, there is a saying which dictates “the drinker never have one as it is not enough, but more than three is too much”.

The Pisco Sour
An American named Victor Morris who worked in the The Morris Barin Lima, invented the Pisco Sour cocktail in the 1920’s. Soon after, the grand hotels in Lima began serving the cocktail, and word spread internationally, and eventually onto most menus in cocktail bars you visit today.


The cocktail is made from the Peruvian brandy Pisco, mixed with lemon juice, egg whites and syrup and topped with cinnamon. It packs quite a punch and provides a refreshing change from the local beers usually on tap.

Pisco Sour Day 2009
Last year was full of riotous celebrations, as thousands of people gathered on the Pan-American Highway and were united in a mass “cheers!” as they clicked their cocktail glasses at midnight, in an attempt to set a world record.

Dance productions ran through the night all over the city, and at the official Pisco Bar in Lima, the celebration lasted two days and the bar created a specialised menu which offered 30 different types of Pisco-based drinks.


The 2009 knees-up will be no exception, with events scheduled to take place all over Lima, in the districts of Surco, Barranco and Miraflores. Activities include opening ceremonies, markets, a parade, a mass cocktail making contest

All the Pisco producers gather to display and offer tastings of their wares and festival highlights include artistic shows, bartender contests and a gastronomy display of traditional Peruvian foods and Limeñan desserts.

Look out for a bread that locals make just for the celebration, called “Pisco Pan’ which is made from Pisco distilled in Surco and raisin jelly which is then moulded into a sweet bread, and has a shelf-life of three days, the same duration as the parties many people hold.

How to make a Pisco Sour


If you don’t know how to make the infamous drink, have a practise at home before you go, and come across as a connoisseur when you arrive. Here is what you will need:
½ Cup of sugar
¼ Cup of water
½ Key lime juice
1 ½ cups of Pisco
3 Egg whites
2 cups of ice
Angostura Bitters (Flavouring)

1. Make sugar syrup: put sugar and water in a pot and bring to the boil. Boil for one minute, remove from heat and let it cool.
2. Place sugar syrup, lemon juice, Pisco, egg whites and ice in a blender until very frothy
3. Serve in small thick tumblers, with a dash of bitters in the middle of the foam.
Tip: Egg whites give the traditional frothy top layer, but some people like to leave them out.
Serves 6-8.

A Pisco in Peru with The Adventure Company!

With the whole of Peru patriotically partying in February, why not visit Lima, or elsewhere in the country and really let you get caught up in the celebrations. It’s the perfect excuse to combine the party with a cultural tour of this beautiful area.

The Adventure Company offer 10 tours to Peru, each with a different itinerary and suitable for different kinds of travellers.

Special Offer: Book early now, and save 50 pounds- find out more information here

Watch the Peru Video from our Youtube channel to find out what it is like to be in Peru with The Adventure Company:

We are currently looking to include a blog with a past traveller to Peru. Have you been to the country with The Adventure Company? Have you partied in Peru? Do you have pictures of you sipping Pisco on location? Please get in touch- Leave us a comment, or get in touch via the email addresses on the right hand side of the page.

Thanks for reading!
The Adventure Company
“Adventure is our middle name”

The Adventure Company: Mountains in Morocco!

Our latest entry comes from Matt Westby who recently went to Morocco with us on our Winter Toubkal, and experienced a different side of the country- far from the deserts and vibrant cities, its clear Morocco and the Atlas Mountains are fast becoming a haven for adventure travelers. Here is what he had to say:


“Our guide Issam halts the group just yards away from a 1,000m drop into the abyss and invites us to rest.He appears not to notice it as he passes around a bag of nuts and then waves a Gore-Tex clad arm in an easterly direction.

"Look, you can see the summit. It's about an hour away. One-hundred-and-eighty metres more to climb."We all crane our necks towards the cloudless blue sky and, sure enough, there is the top of Jebel Toubkal, 4,167m high.Soon the sound of crampon spikes biting into the hard snow can be heard once again and we are on our way, keenly zig-zagging a path up the slopes.

Fifty minutes later, the incline runs out and all there is left to do is take the final steps onto the summit and complete our conquest of the highest mountain in North Africa.With not a breath of wind in the air, we stayed there for the best part of half-an-hour, taking photos, eating energy snacks, but, most of all, absorbing the awe of the High Atlas mountains.

Snow-capped summits penetrate the horizon in a 360-degree panorama and it feels a true privilege to stand there.
The climb up was no Alpine ascent but the relative ease of reaching the top of Toubkal is actually its greatest attribute, because it allows you to enjoy every step.

The greats like Hillary and Mallory might not hold it in high esteem, but for an aspiring adventure traveller, it is a real gem.

My trip to the High Atlas had begun three days earlier.

I had known very little about Morocco until this summer, assuming it to be nothing more than a country of sand dunes, snake charmers and people who love to haggle. A place for sun-seekers and culture junkies, I presumed. I'd go there one day, but not yet.

Then I heard about Toubkal and, with it, my eyes were opened to a different side of Morocco altogether.
The lure of a 4,000m peak was suddenly fusing with the appeal of sprawling souks and fine food, and before long I had booked myself onto an eight-day tour with The Adventure Company, which is based in the UK.

I flew out to Marrakech, an hour-and-a-half's drive north of the mountains, early on the Friday morning and spent the day exploring the city's famous Medina.

It's main square, Djemma el Fna, is the centre-piece, a place where Berbers and Arabs unite in an explosion of sight and sound which doesn't really come to life until after dark.By day it is filled with cobras, vipers and men cradling monkeys but when night falls, legions of food vendors, musicians and street performers take over.

Bolder tourists immerse themselves in the action, eating tagine and lamb kebab from the barbecue stalls before peering through the crowds at whatever stunt is being pulled next.All the while, Marrakech's famous souks (markets) conduct their bustling business just metres away.

The next day, the seven of us in the group met up with Issam and Mohamed, two good local guides contracted by The Adventure Company, and drove out to the small Atlas village of Imlil before hiking the short distance to our first night's base, a small conurbation based on a hillside called Aremd.

Our lodging was a traditional Berber guest house with only mattresses on the floor for beds and one fire for warmth.The evening meal was a local dish prepared by our dedicated cook and, as it would all week, went down superbly well.

We rose early the following morning to embark on a six-hour trek to a mountain hut 1,300m higher up the valley where we would base ourselves for the next three days.The ground in Aremd was totally free of snow but by the time we reached the French-run Neltner Refuge at 3,200m later that day, the white stuff was knee-deep.

After a lesson in how to walk in crampons and use an ice axe for stability in the afternoon, we made our ascent of Toubkal early on Monday.


Emerging from the refuge at 7am to be greeted by clear skies and still air, we set out on our 3hr 40 min climb to the summit.Having succeeded, we celebrated by spending most of the descent sliding down the slopes on our backsides so quickly that, having left the top at around 11.40am, we were back at the refuge by 1pm.

On the Tuesday we tackled Toubkal's sister peak, Ouanoukrim, marginally lower at 4,083m but slightly harder to climb given a short section just below the summit which requires scrambling over exposed rock.


Regrettably, we didn't make it that far. We climbed to a small plateau on the mountain called the 'saddle' roughly one hour from the top but were turned back by 40-50mph winds which dragged temperatures down to between -15 degC and -20 degC.

The cold was manageable, but Issam deemed the high wind would be too much of a risk on the exposed sections to come and told us to turn around.

We concluded our climbing on the Wednesday by ascending 700m up to another saddle with stunning views over the Atlas range, before dropping all the way back down to Aremd in heavy snow that afternoon.

Twenty-four hours later we were back in Marrakech, ruing the fact that our time in the mountains had been and gone so quickly.”

Matt went on the Winter Toubkal tour, clicking the link, you can find the latest pricing availability and a full itinerary.The Adventure Company also have 15 tours which go to Morroco

Kiddy explorers are also catered for as there are 3 tours targeted specifically at families with young kids are babies. The Magicial Morroco Infant holiday, Kids in Kasbahs, and theSaharan Sands ensure everyone is catered for!

Thanks for reading,
The Adventure Company
“Adventure is our middle name”

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Adventure Company: Staff Profile of The Month- Vicky Gallear

This month our UK Agency Sales Manager, Vicky Gallear tells us more about her role within The Adventure Company, her travelling experience and a few of her personal tips and highlights..

The Monastery, Petra, Jordan
I’m responsible for looking after all the travel agents in the UK who sell Adventure Company trips. I go out and train them on how our trips work, let them know about anything new we might have launched, fire them up about the variety we offer, answer their questions, fix any issues they might have, find new agents who might want to sell our trips… anything that the agents feel they need really.

What do you love most about your job?

Travel is my passion and I get to talk about it with people all day long. A big part of my role is getting travel agents excited about the types of trips we sell – the type of trips that I’ve travelled on and loved. I essentially get paid to talk to people about my holiday highlights (as well as the practicalities of how we operate as a company of course!)!

Early morning at Lake Atitlan, with the twin volcanoes of San Pedro & Toliman in the background, Atitlan Volcano is just out of shot

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I find on every trip I’ve ever done there are a couple of ‘wow’ moments. A time when it suddenly just clicks in your head ‘I can’t believe I’m actually HERE!’ and every one of them is a favourite moment. Everything from my first dive on the Great Barrier Reef, to standing in the deserted ruins of Yachilan in Mexico and hearing howler monkeys ‘roaring’ in the surrounding jungle, to Christmas Eve on Fraser Island, camping with 6 others and just looking up at the stars which looked like a tub of glitter had been knocked over the sky…,

An anteater in a tree in Tkial, I’d never even seen one in a zoo, let alone in the wild!
A great boat trip to some Mayan ruins on the Mexico/Guatemala border, watching monkeys playing in the trees iguanas and the like basking on the banks was incredible!

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened on a trip?
There are a lot of ‘you had to be there moments’ which are funnier in hindsight than they actually were at the time. I’m not sure it would be really fair to bore people with any of them – usually you needed to know the characters involved!

Where have you been?
Family holidays driving across the continent were the staple style when I was growing up. There were 6 of us, and loading everyone into my Dad’s estate car and hitching a trailer on the back with our tent in was the only way we knew to travel! The journey itself has always been always the best bit of travelling for me. We were lucky living in Hampshire, a ferry from Portsmouth and we were off – France, Spain, Italy, Austria…

Watching the locals walking through the night to construct the stunning ‘carpets’ for Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala

Straight from University I took my first trip on my own, a month long coast to coast across the USA from LA to New York which was fantastic and I met a great bunch of people, mainly Australians – which made my next destination a pretty obvious one! Following what I now recognise as the typical backpacker route I flew to Australia via South East Asia and spent a year working a bit and wandering a lot!

Sunrise from my sleeping bag at Wadi Rum, Jordan

Since joining The Adventure Company I have been lucky enough to travel to amazing spots including Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Crete!

Where are you going next?
There are so many places that I haven’t been yet and every time I think about it my wish list grows. I’ve never done a safari so I’d love to escape to Tanzania, Kenya or Namibia during 2009. Two other countries featuring in my plans for the (hopefully) not too distant future are India and Nepal – ‘must see’ destinations that I’ve yet to visit.

Best travel tip:
Look out of the window. People who sleep through the entire journey, waking at their destinations miss out on so much, particularly on road trips and overland adventures. It’s when you’re driving through the smaller places that you actually get see people living their lives and you get a real feel for the country you’re visiting – don’t miss it!

Looking over the Sinai Peninsula from halfway down Mt. Sinai, Egypt

What inspires you to travel?
Without a shadow of a doubt, I have the travel bug, and it’s nothing more or less than that. I’ve always had it and I love getting away from the day to day. I’m just as happy travelling within the UK as I am on an overland adventure through Central America. I can’t narrow it down to a neat cliché like ‘experiencing other cultures’ or ‘seeking adventure’, it’s a combination of so many things. I just know that when I’m not travelling I want to be because I haven’t seen nearly enough places yet, and when I am on the road I want to keep going. I can’t explain it, it’s just there. That’s why I love my job; it lets me spend all my time surrounded by travel in one form or another – and it gives me lots of ideas for trips to do next!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Adventure Company: Tigers to Maharajahs!

Our next blog comes from David and Lorna Cooper who recently travelled to India and completed our Tigers To MaharajahsTour. They also included an extension to Varanasi and have kindly submitted a travel diary summarising their trip:


Day 1: Delhi
Arrived at Delhi airport to be met by Sher our guide and the rest of the group. We all hit it off immediately. We then set off for our hotel. It was our first introduction to Indian Driving - Scary!


Still, we arrived safely at the hotel despite running red lights.

As we had arrived late Sher announced that our rest period had been curtailed and that we would be departing for our sightseeing trip around Delhi shortly. Lorna and I had a swift wash and brush up and went downstairs to meet the whole group.


Jami Masjid Mosque was on the agenda. It was our first taste of removing our shoes and going barefoot into the temples. It was hard at first just to abandon our newly purchased trainers but during the trip we got used to it. The Mosque was worth the visit and it was also an introduction to the sellers who would always approach you every time you got off the bus!

It was poignant when we visited Mahatma Gandhi’s grave and everyone appreciated the quietness of the area. It was an early night that night for everyone.

Day 2: Agra
After an early morning call and breakfast Sher led the party to the Railway station, where chaos reigns! However after entrusting our luggage to porter (50 rupees per bag) off we went to find our train. Sher soon had us standing in the right place for our carriage. The train compartments were as expected: plastic seating and painted blue.

Everyone was excited. One of the main reasons for coming to India was getting closer to The Taj Mahal!After a quick stop at the Hotel (and a quick cup of coffee in Starbucks for me) off to the red fort.


It was big and busy with many tourists of all countries. From where Shah Jahan was imprisoned we got our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal through the haze. It must have been so sad for him to see it every day and not being able to visit it.


After our visit to the Fort we set off to see the actual building. The men in the party got through security very easily but for some reason the guard took a dislike to the women in the group and kept sending them to the rear of the queue. Finally we all got back together and approached the Taj. There were the usually photographer touts there and the obligatory group photo was taken.


It was quite beautiful and all we could do at first was to stand and stare. The girls decided they wanted to go inside to see the tomb but given the rugby scrum that was at the entrance I was a bit dubious. Still nothing ventured – so forward we went, me holding on to all my valuables as best I could. However in we went and it was well worth the effort. Afterwards the group split up and wandered around the gardens just looking at the building in awe from different angles. When we again met up the group had decided that the visit to the Taj had made the trip to India worth while even if nothing else was seen. It was with great reluctance that the group made its way back to the bus to take us back to the hotel.

Day 3: Fatehpur Sikri & Ranthambore
Up early again this morning and off to Fatehpur Sikri. This apparently was a city built by one of the Maharajahs to ensure he had a son and it seems to have worked. However the city was only occupied for a short period as a lack of water forced a return to the original capital.


Alongside the city is a major mosque which unfortunately is inhabited by many locals trying to sell you trinkets. I suppose they have got to make a living somehow.

Afterwards it was back to the bus and onto the bird sanctuary at Bharatpur and the bird sanctuary of Keoladeo Ghana. This place I think gave us peace and quiet for the first time since joining the tour and all of us I think would have liked more time to enjoy the park.

But a train awaited us. By this time the men had agreed to get the ladies on to the train first to get the seats, and then we would get the bags on. Unfortunately I was last on and while getting the last of the cases on, the train started off. I’m not saying I panicked but let’s just say I threw the last on and grabbed hold of the train as it picked up speed. It was with great relief that I got to my seat!

Day 4: Ranthambore
Aftter arriving late we unpacked and went straight to dinner (via a much needed beer.) Sher suggested a early night as the first game drive starts at 5:30 am. Everyone agreed and fell into bed.

The morning started with a light breakfast and we all got onto the Cantor, which is like a truck with seating for twenty and no roof. Each truck was given a game trail number and the truck had to stick to that trail no matter what happened. Off we went and as we travelled through the park the ranger told us of the various animals we saw, mainly samba deer at first. Not long before the truck had to turn back, it stopped and looking down to the trail we saw this:


Everyone started to get excited - this was the first sign of the tiger we had seen! Then the guide pointed and lying on a hillside was the tiger.




That ended our game drive for the morning we returned to the hotel for breakfast which was eagerly anticipated. I don’t think anything but the tiger was discussed for the next 4 hours until the evening game drive. Unfortunately the next game drive turned out to be an anticlimax for we never saw the tiger again. The ranger explained that it was just luck that we saw the tiger and they could never guarantee such a sighting that we had that morning.

Day 5: Pushkar
It was an early morning departure for Pushkar from our hotel and armed with our packed lunches we boarded our bus. We stopped for lunch along the way and it was good to get out the bus and stretch our legs.


It was getting late when we finally arrived in Pushkar. The tent we were allocated was quite comfortable with electric lights and flushing toilet however I wasn’t too sure of the shower - it looked a bit Heath Robinson to me!


It was getting late and after a meal and a quiet drink we all turned in. All food at Pushkar fair is vegetarian- however, we could get a beer in the mess tent.

Day 6: Pushkar
It was an early start the next morning. I put my bucket out and hot water was delivered to the tent. After breakfast transport was arranged for us, a camel cart, and we all set off to the fair. After Sher had explained how the fair was arranged and shown us some sites –this included the girls getting blessed, at a price. We were then allowed to set off on our own.


The town was so busy but it was fascinating with the colours and strange smells. The girls soon got into the buying mode and began to bargain with the best of them. After a while we decided to make our way to the fair main showground where there was to be a moustache competition. It proved to be a great draw to both locals and tourists alike. As we wandered around the sights and sounds it was like being carried back to another time, with a few modern conveniences such as motor bikes thrown in.


The locals were always to keen to show off their prized possessions but I resisted the temptation to start bargaining for Lorna, although the camel did look nice and had make up on!





We all arrived back at our tents tired but exhilarated. Sher had arranged for us to go back to the fair to see the sunset so off we went by camel cart again and climbed a small ridge to sit and watch the sun setting on the fair.


Day 7: Pachar
At breakfast next morning the group decided that as we had a long way to go to the maharajahs palace in Pachar it would be better to leave before lunch time as was originally planned and stop to have some lunch somewhere on route. It was quite lucky we did this as the driver of the bus got lost as so many of the roads had been washed out in the recent monsoon! During our drive we came upon one traffic jam with a difference:


Still, it did provide some light relief. On arrival at the palace, a beer was welcome before even being shown to our rooms.


Day 8: Pachar To Jaipur
Next morning I was up early and watched the sun rising over the village and listened to it awakening..


After breakfast, the group set off around the village to see the local Hindu temple and the local schools. We had all contributed to getting various items for the schools such as pencils, notebooks and other items and helped to distribute them to the kids.


It was enjoyable to do and as the schools receive very little state aid it was very worthwhile.
Later that day it was back onto the bus to go to Jaipur.We arrived at the Bisseau Palace in Jaipur early in the evening and were able to unpack and have a shower before going out into town for a meal and show.

Day 9: Jaipur
Sher arranged for a call the next morning and we all set off to visit the astronomical centre and royal palace. The astronomical was fascinating and our guide was very knowledgeable about the site and of subjects such as birth signs and palm reading. Some of the readings proved to be quite near the mark - I won’t say which ones girls!



The royal palace was very interesting with the armoury and art exhibits. As we had the afternoon free Lorna and I got off the bus at the famous Palace of the Winds and had a wander around the local markets.


My wife thought our purchase of a silk bedspread, pillow cases and cushions for approx £30 was a very good buy!

That night Sher arranged for dinner to be served on the rooftop of the hotel with a sitar and drums providing the music. It proved to very atmospheric with various fireworks going off all around the city.

Day 10: Jaipur & Amber Fort to Delhi
In the morning the group headed off to the Amber fort. Before arriving Sher warned us that going up to the fort on elephant would be impossible as the queues for the elephant rides would be too long for us to wait for. In a way, it was nice to see that the animals only worked for so long in the morning and then were rested.


So we went up to the fort by jeep. What a place! The amount of manpower to build it must have been immense. Some of it was beautiful especially the council chamber and the ladies palace.




There was a lot to see and the visit to the fort lasted approximately 3 hours. Then we collected our baggage and made our way to catch the train to Delhi.

At this point I must make mention of one of our party, Kate who left the group at this time to start an adventure on her own. She is going to work for charity in Jaipur until January 2009. I hope all goes well with you Kate!

Day 11: Delhi
A Day to ourselves, I think the first of the holiday. Most of the party went off shopping. I think many stalls must have tripled their budgets that day.

Lorna and I met up with Ailsa, Sheila and Sue in the Imperial Hotel for lunch and although I say it myself, the champagne was well received. A much more civilised lunch than we had become used to.

Our last dinner was taken in a restaurant, Clay Oven which was close to the hotel. It was a bit sad saying goodbye to the rest of the group. We had become quite close and I would have no hesitation on going on holiday with any one of them, especially my concubines!

Day 12: Delhi to Varanasi
Lorna and I said farewell to the group as they left for the airport. It was odd being on our own now but we made the most of our day in Delhi.

After some confusion and hassle with Explore India when securing our bunks for the railway journey, we managed to find a bunk that was suitable, but not our first choice. We had requested an AC1 Sleeper, and received an AC2.

The Railway station was also manic and very crowded, we were happy when we finally got on the train.

When onboard we found we had been booked on two top bunks, luckily an elderly gent gave up his lower bunk to allow Lorna to sleep there, as she would have been unable to climb onto the top bunk.

During the night I had a most unfortunate accident when I tried to climb down from the top bunk. I landed on the floor bruising my ego quite severely. I would advise anyone doing this trip to Varanasi either to insist on an AC 1 sleeper or a flight there!

Day13: Varanasi
We arrived in Varanasi almost 3 hours late which, according to our guide was good timing for Indian trains!
Then we were taken to our Hotel where we had a good breakfast after being shown to our room.

Our guide for our stay was very good and knew all about the sites we were taken too. He also took us after dinner to the banks of the Ganges where they pray for world peace every night. With the music, chanting and incense it made for a very atmospheric and unforgettable evening.


Day 14: Varanasi to Delhi
On our last morning it was an early start and we were taken to the banks of the Ganges once again, but this time we embarked on a boat with our guide and an elderly rower who took us up and down the various sites on the bank. It was strange to hear loud laughter there, a form of yoga, we were told!


After breakfast Lorna and I were then taken to the Airport for our flight back to Delhi.

Day 15: Delhi
After breakfast it was off to Delhi airport for our flight home. In conclusion, would I go again? Most definitely, YES! I enjoyed 98% of the holiday, the guide Sher Singh was excellent and the rest of the group were some of the nicest people I could ever hope to travel with and we have made some very good friends!"

Find details, current availability, pricing and a full itinerary of David and Lorna's Tigers to Maharajahs trip.

Thanks for Reading,
The Adventure Company
”Adventure is our middle name”

The Adventure Company: Everest Base Camp- Climbing as a couple!

Cat Stormont and her partner Dan Shilcock recently completed a trip to Everest Base Camp together. They have kindly submitted an account of their trip, letting us know the highlights of their experience, and what it is like to complete this kind of trip with your other half!


"Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
After a long day of travelling our senses were assaulted by many different sights, sounds and smells as we arrived in bustling Kathmandu.


We were quite thankful for a free evening at the hotel to catch up on lost sleep and refresh before meeting with Prakash, our guide, and the rest of the group for more details on our trek. It’s not quite sunk in what we are here to do yet.

Day 2: Kathamandu city tour
Woke very early this morning (2am) due to jet lag but luckily we both managed to drop off to sleep again. Prakash took us all on a city tour today, visiting four key historical/cultural centres in and around Kathmandu. We visited Monkey Temple/Swayambhunath Stupa, The Ghats at Pashupatinath, The Royal Palace at Pratan and the Boudha Stupa.




The heady mix of Buddhist and Hindu culture at these sites, interspersed with the hectic traffic and advertising bill boards makes Kathmandu an intriguing city.

Day 3:Lukla and Phakding (2800m)
Today we left the city for the mountains.



The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is certainly an experience we will never forget, the views are unbelievable as you weave in between the mountains before coming in to land at the short, uphill airstrip at Lukla. Prakash eased us in slowly today with a gentle two hour downhill walk to the village of Phakding and at 2800m we can definitely feel a difference in the air.


Day 4: Climb to Namche (3600m),
Slept very well last night and extremely glad as today was very very tough going. We climbed roughly 800m up some pretty steep and rocky paths. The air is getting a lot thinner and we found ourselves taking frequent breaks just to catch our breath.



So proud to make it to Namache, despite the aching feet and sore thighs from all the climbing.

Day 5: Acclimatising
We spent today acclimatising in Namche, but it wasn’t a rest day. Prakash took us up to the Sagamartha Park museum by the army base, and then up further to the helicopter landing strip.


All in all we climbed another 400m before heading back down into Namche, a very vibrant place, busy with lots of trekkers and stores selling everything from pain killers and toilet paper to mars bars and souvenirs.




Had our first sighting of Everest this evening from the museum plateau, peaking enticingly over the Nuptse wall as the sun began to set. Suddenly realised where we were heading.

Day 6: Thyanboche (4000m)
Climbed anothe 400m today. Saw some amazing views of the Khumbu valley, Ama Dablam, Nuptse and of course Everest just peaking over the Nuptse wall before reaching the Thyanboche monastery where we are staying tonight.



We had a chance to go into the Buddhist monastery and watch/listen to the monks chant. The wall paintings and tankas decorating the chamber were beautiful, bright reds, greens, blues and highlighted with gold leaf. Stunning.


Day 7: Dingboche (4400m)
Several of the team were feeling pretty unwell today due to undercooked pastries for desert last night. Everyone battled through and took it slow, making it to Dingboche by the afternoon.We’re all feeling the thinness of the air and struggling to catch our breaths but the path only climbs gently from now on. It’s also getting a lot colder in the evenings the higher up we go. Although warm in the sunshine, as soon as the sun goes down the temperature plummets.

Day 8: Acclimatising
Staying in Dingboche today to acclimatise. Prakash took us up to roughly 4700m today and it hurt. Could barely catch my breath and felt shaky on the way down the path. By the time we got back to the tea house I was exhausted and had a head ache.


Pain killers and a nap later, Dan and I took a walk around the village and appreciated a little quality time together.

Day 9:Loboche (4800m)
Today we climbed to the final stage before “Everest Day”. Loboche is very cold and basic. There is very little to do but have dinner and head to bed to keep warm. We have an extremely early start tomorrow morning (5am) and at this altitude a couple hours sleep is the best we can hope for.

Day 10: Gorak Shep and Base Camp (5456m)
After breakfasting on mars bars we started our long day to base camp. Whereas most of the previous days were only about 5 hours of walking today we maxed out at 10 hours. Our first stop after roughly 3 hours of following the Khumbu glacier was Gorak Shep.



After an hour’s break we set out for base camp, another 3 hours away. The path to base camp crosses into the glacier itself and the eerie silence is mirrored in the twisted formations of rock and ice.


At 5400m the altitude really got to me and I considered heading back down, although only 10 minutes away from my goal. But we made it together thanks to the encouragement of our team of guides.



Whilst I wrapped up warm at base camp, Dan headed down to the edge of the treacherous Kumbu icefall. Un-acclimatised at such thin air and to make it back to Gorak Shep before dark we could spend little more than 15 minutes at base camp before heading back down to the village.


Day 11: Descent to Oshey
Whilst some members of our team braved the freezing morning temperatures to summit Kala Pathar for further views of Everest, the majority of our group began our decent. Having acclimatised to the high altitude, heading down was a breeze! We also had the chance to take in more of the scenery and pause for photographs which we were too tired to take on the way up. We also had more breath to chat and get to know the members of our group even better.

Day 12: Back to Namche
Back in Namche and a chance to celebrate with Everest beers.


Moving the party from the Tea house to the highest pool bar in the world we went to bed the latest we had for two weeks, 11pm!

Day 13: Phakding again
Another night in Phakding and we met a group at our Tea house who were about to start their trek the next day. They were clean and nervously excited about their trip to base camp. We on the other hand were now dirty, smelly, and had gotten to know the other members of our group extremely well.

Day 14: Final night in the mountains, Lukla
We made it! All the way there and all the way back again. Celebratory hugs all-round as we passed back under the gate arch as we returned to Lukla.


For our final night with our guides and porters we all had dinner together and enjoyed some traditional Nepalese music and dancing before another pool competition.

Day 15:Kathmandu and a shower
Flying out of Lukla was like a rollercoaster ride and as we circled back round to Kathmandu we saw our last views of Everest, Nuptse and Lotse.


From the solitude and simplicity of the Himalaya’s we were once again assaulted with the sounds of car horns and street sellers and smells of spices, rubbish and pollution in the city.


Following a much awaited shower and nap we joined the group for dinner at the famous Rum Doodle restaurant, decorated with the signatures of all those who have summited Everest.

Day 16 :Last supper in Kathmandu
For our last day in Kathmandu we headed over to the Thamel district, frequented by tourists and full of souvenir shops of puppets, hats, pashminas, tea and spices amongst a whole manner of other goods.



Sad to be leaving the Himalaya’s and Nepal we all joined again for dinner to say goodbye to our guide, Prakash, before re-packing our bags for our early flight in the morning.

Day 17: Home
On reflection we miss the Himalaya’s, the simplicity of life and the fantastic Nepalese people we met during our trip. Although tough at times there isn’t a single thing we would change about our trip. The expertise of our guides reassured us that we would make it to base camp and that as long as we took their advice, we would get there in one piece.


Our photographs could never do the scenery justice and there are no words to describe the sheer beauty of the Himalaya’s, they are a truly natural wonder of the world".

Cat and Dan took part in the Everest Base Camp trip. The Adventure Company offer two trips to Base Camp, find out more information on pricing and availability by clicking here

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The Adventure Company
”Adventure is our middle name”