After visiting Lhasa, a few people from the group left, and a family of three, the driver, the guide, and I started the trip to Everest Base Camp in a van. The trip consisted in two long drives, the first one going from Lhasa to Shigatse were we spent the first night. We drove 350 km for about 8 hours, stopping a few times to look at the fantastic landscape we went across, including the area of Lake Yamdrok.
I was excited because we were going higher all the time, and we got to see the first, solitary yaks grazing.
The landscape was bright and desolate. I grew up in a big city, surrounded by buildings, cars, and many, many people. On that highway, with nothing to look at but the colors of the sky and the mountains, I felt tranquil and energized at the same time. I don’t think we met another car during the 2 and a half hours we spent on the way to Yamdrok Lake. The 6 of us were the only disturbance in the slow, silent Tibetan summer.
And then, we reached the lake.
YAMDROK LAKE, FIRST STOP ON OUR ROAD TRIP FROM LHASA TO SHIGATSE AND EVEREST BASE CAMP
When we reached Lake Yamdrok, before proceeding down to the shore, we stopped at a panoramic observation point to take photos and to greet the locals. They wanted to show us a Tibetan dog and a lamb. A few others were naturally trying to sell devotional flags and incense, but the guide made sure that they did not insist too much. The colors of the sky, the water, and the sand were printed in my mind. From above, the lake looked like a mirror and showed a perfect reflection of the sky and the clouds, a vast blue interrupted by the light-brown of the mountain.
Yamdrok Lake is a sacred place. Therefore, fishing and bathing are forbidden.
Anyway, I wouldn’t dare to take a step into those cold mountain waters. I walked on the shore, admiring the pristine colors in front of you and breathing the air of the highlands.
Before long, we were back in the van again.
We stopped at Karola Glacier. A few only Tibetan-speaking locals came over to take pictures with us.
Even if we got to Shigatse late in the afternoon, it felt like it had been a long day. One woman in the group started feeling a slight headache because of the altitude. I was feeling super well, even if I hadn’t taken any pills to prevent altitude sickness. Following the guide’s advice, I tried a popular Tibetan rice dish. It consists of steamed basmati rice served with curried yak meat and potatoes.
The next morning, we began the second part of the trip to Everest Base Camp.