Leaving the Kathmandu valley, it was time to head for the jungle and Chitwan national park in southern Nepal.
After crossing the river in the early morning mist, we were introduced to our companionable transport for the next few days.
The permanent presence of the army in the park, and the regular patrols by soldiers, has reduced the incidence of poaching significantly and the numbers of Bengal tigers have risen to an estimated 200 as a result.
Sadly, there were no encounters with Richard Parker or his relatives but exploring on elephant back provided ample opportunity to try and spot other inhabitants of the park.
One horned rhino numbers have also been on the increase in Nepal and we managed to get close to four of them.
Spending time in the nearby village, traditional ways (and the occasional traditional pet) were evident everywhere.
One young woman was mixing together mud and dung to carry out repairs to her house.
Children mostly attend the village public school with its very basic provision although some parents manage to pay for private education.
I was invited to teach a class (didn't see that one coming). Unlike private schools, where all classes are conducted in English, only English lessons are taught in English rather than Nepali in public schools and often by teachers who have only a limited command of the language. Everyone was so smiley and well behaved but they didn't understand a word I was saying. Maybe it was the Smoggie accent (and, in my defence, when I taught for a living, my students were mostly postgraduates. Just saying.)
Of course, a trip to Nepal wouldn't be complete without a glimpse of Everest. We chucked the budget out the window and decided to do it in style, in a brand spanking new helicopter with a national hero pilot (he's an Everest rescue pilot and told us a Hollywood film has been made about one of his more high profile rescues and he's off shortly to the US to walk the red carpet).
Flying out of Kathmandu, our first port of call (to temporarily ditch excess fuel to enable flying at higher altitude) was Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla, used only by helicopters and small light aircraft and arguably the most dangerous airport in the world. It's surrounded by mountains and the runway is narrow, short, and scarily sloping with a sheer drop of over 9000 feet at the end, allowing for no error in take off or landing.
Nepal is an economy based on agriculture and even the foothills of the Himalayas are utilised for farming.
We flew high. Very high.
Eventually, a cloud shrouded Everest appeared.
Landing at the highest located hotel in the world afforded more views (and helped lessen the physical effects of being at altitude).
Then it was back to Kathmandu for a few days and some final sightseeing.
Bhutan and Nepal were truly amazing.
And I'm still recovering.