Walking The Himalayas by Levison Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As if walking the entire length of the Nile was not mad enough, his good friend Ashwin Bhardwaj persuades him to walk along the rooftop of the world; the Himalayas. Wood had been to Nepal before way back in 2001, when the country’s Royal family was massacred. At that time a man called Binod took him in and protected him whilst the unrest continued. This new walk along the world’s highest mountain range meant that he had the opportunity to return and see him once again.
Flying into Kabul would be adventure enough for some people, but that was where he needed to get to, to be able to reach the eastern foothills. The last time Wood had been there he was in the army. Met by his minder at the airport, he is taken to the scruffy looking car to make the first part of his journey, before a helicopter ride to the start point. Wakhan Corridor. He is accompanied along the walk by guides, even persuading Ashwin to join him for one section, before he makes it to Nepal for a reunion with his friend, Binod, before continuing his journey to Gankhar Puensum in Bhutan.
Wood is one tough guy; not only is this a mammoth walk of 1700 miles, but he does this at altitude too; no mean feat. He is an easy-going character, meaning that as he meets some of the toughest and nicest people he fits in easily, drawing their stories and lives out into the narrative. The range of cultures is quite an eye opener too, from the strict Islamic areas to the more relaxed and laid back Nepalese. It is reasonably well written, gripping in parts and has one heart-stopping moment. Haven’t seen the TV series yet, but I’m looking forward to watching it soon.
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