(we’ve worked out how to add images in a gallery which should hopefully make these posts easier to read without scrolling forever. Let us know if it’s better/worse in the comments!)
I (Maeve) ventured out on my own, found the bus station in Leh, discovered when and where our bus to Phyang was leaving and made it back to our hostel without getting lost. Not ashamed to say I felt like a hero!
We got to the bus station over an hour early, just in case, and to give us time to do a bit of shopping before we got to the next valley where there are no shops. Remarkably all the seats were already taken! Lesson for local bus travel in India: arrive super early! We did eventually end up getting seats thanks to some schoolgirls who found it so entertaining to watch us sitting on their bus that they were happy to stand.
We arrived at our guest house in Phyang at 6pm where we had arranged to volunteer for a week. It was so nice to unpack our bags! We were now at an even higher altitude than in Leh, so we went for a little walk as the sun set, with the aim of getting to a higher altitude than we would be sleeping at, as this apparently helps with sleep and acclimatisation.
The next few days involved turning homemade clay bricks to dry in the sun, stripping willow of its bark so it can be used for roofing and fencing, cleaning and re-upholstering chairs, building fences, and general labouring around the guest house.
On our day off we went for a walk up the valley. The weather was quite changeable, we were constantly putting on jumpers and then taking them off again. And then we got caught in an actual blizzard!