Annapurna day 7
Today you could call our 'rest day' we only walked for 4hrs. Having stayed in Ngawal the night before we had a well earned rest and knew we would have it somewhat easy for the next few days as we acclimatised. We had breakfast with the lovely lady owner at 9am and set out for 10am which was very late for us. We took the 'direct trail' in the book and ironically the 'trail' in question took us all over the place and not so direct after all. We walked through dense forest with barely there mimics of a trail and somehow ended up crossing a bridge and following two Sherpas to a town called Mungji which we mistook as Braga, where we had set out for.
We had lunch in Mungji and headed off a half another further to actual Braga. On our way we stopped to take pics of groups of Trekkers (there seemed to be tonnes here in Manang) and once we got to Braga we dropped our backpacks at a store and took the 30 min side trail up the a 500yr old Gompa/Buddhist Monastery. We shouted for a monk to come and open it and considering we just bumped into two people from the group yesterday who had just seen it and urged us to go in.
The books advice helped, and a monk actually came out and opened for us. We took our soaking wet hiking boots and headed to into the beautifully colourful monastery in our wet socks. We walked around with the monk for a little while, taking in the amazing sights around us. It was beautiful and it smelled of incense all over. After we came down from the monastery, we grabbed our bags and went 30 mins further to Manang where we knew everyone would be. Plus we were meeting Om, a friend from Kathmandu who was doing the trek too but later. We finally got to Manang, the place where we had seen on signs from day one but seemed so far away and the place where everyone 'rests' before attempting to go further north to cross Thorong La. We checked in with the police there to show or permits etc and they told us that the weather was looking good for a few days ahead which meant high chance of crossing Thorong La safely or at all.
We then checked into The Turicho Hotel in Manang which obviously the tourist hub because we bumped Into a few familiar faces. Manang was a cool stone built village with windy, snowy streets, sitting in the Himalayan range at 3300ms altitude. We had seen signs for 'English movies shown all day' and things to do like play snooker. It was a Trekkers hub for resting up until the big climb of Thorong La. In the hotel we got. wifi, a hot bucket shower (felt so amazing after this, weirdest experience tho) a hot stove to dry our boots and socks and a view to die for. We sat around and mingled while our phones charged (for a price) and we met the group who's photo we'd taken earlier. Like trekkers, we talked about what mountains to conquer next and bonded over our exciting of the trek and the crossing at 5500m. After I heated up and charged my phone, I headed to my cold room for an early night and it was great to know I didn't have to do any trekking the next day. Movie day!