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Nepal - land of smiles.

Namaste und hello from Nepal!

Well, at least partly. Having spent almost a month in the land of the highest mountains, I am back now and more than willing to provide you as a guest blogger of SIGMA with some impressions of my journey.

In the last eighteen months, I have traveled through 34 countries - and in May, I went on my first trip to Asia, more specifically to Nepal. Usually, I focus on landscape photography, but this time, the adventure was a very different one: getting to know the culture of Nepal. And it was exactly this kind of adventure that put everything in the shade I have experienced so far.

The following pictures were taken with the SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM type, SIGMA 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art and the SIGMA APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM.

In the next three articles, I will try to provide you with an insight into the different perspectives of Nepal and present you the people living there. I will also take you with me to a trek to Mustang and a hike to the Annapurna Base Camp.

Welcome to Kathmandu

Honking cars, smog and traffic rules that reinvent themselves every second that was my first impression of this incredibly vibrant city. It seems that there is chaos everywhere!

Not a bit of it! A situation like this may be unimaginable for Europeans but in Nepal, people take care of each other this is a top priority not only in the lively capital Kathmandu, but also in the whole country. The friendliness, hospitality and cultural openness that Nepalese people show towards visitors really come from the heart and make you feel welcome right away.

Apart from this, also the willingness to help, the seemingly never-ending inner peace and the habit of giving without expecting anything in return are things that many Europeans can learn from, especially in times like these. Astonishingly, all of this in one of the poorest countries in the world. Still, look how incredibly colorful everything is!

Yet there are also huge differences to be found: On the one hand, you see all the sparkling palaces and thoroughly ironed shirts of businesspersons in the luxurious shopping streets. On the other hand, you see children playing in the ruins of houses that were destroyed by an earthquake last year and sweating workers that are struggling to feed their families with less than 40 euros a month.

However, there is one thing that combines both sides: the smile. It already starts well before sunrise during the morning prayer and exercise on top of the Swayambhunath Temple mountain, which is probably the second oldest Buddhist temple complex in the world. Here, everyone has their place: whether humans, pigeons, or hundreds of monkeys that either chase each other or secretly strike the big gong when no one is watching.

For these pictures, I have mainly used the SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art because of its sharpness that has convinced me for more than one year now. Another advantage of this focal length is that one does not have to stand too far away and yet it allows maintaining a respectful distance to the subject.

This blog was initially published here: SIGMA Blog (German version).