The standard practice on the trail is to have acclimatisation days in your itinerary, this helps your body cope with the high altitudes better and thus increases your chance of making it all the way to base camp. As such I could get up a bit later and had breakfast at 8am, this time going for the apple porridge and ginger tea.
The only planned activity today was an acclimatization hike, this involves climbing up a couple of hundred meters and then coming down, the saying on the trek is to climb high and sleep low. I was supposed to get my first view of Everest today also but there was quite a bit of cloud cover which hid Everest from site. I should note that cloud cover is different from it being cloudy, since the peaks are so high up (8,000m+) you require a perfectly clear day with zero clouds to see many of the peaks.
The hike was straight forward and there were still views of some of the other peaks which could be enjoyed such as at Kongde Ri (6,000m). The main attraction was a statue of Tenzig Norgay who was the first Sherpa to successfully summit Everest along with Edmund Hilary in 1953 (boom Wikipedia trivia). There is also a path which leads up to the Everest View Hotel where you can get great views of Everest but as the cloud cover was hiding Everest it negated the purpose for visiting so I headed back down to Namche.
The highlight of the rest of the day was to take a hot shower, my first wash in 3 days and although I was sceptical of the “solar heated” shower it was surprisingly hot like burning hot. I enjoyed getting clean and putting some fresh clothes on and then headed up to the tearoom to read my book (a popular past time on the trail). Now at this point I could have explored more of Namche, the town is the largest in the Everest region and there are a large selection of shops selling a variety of items. To be honest though the thought of having to climb up those bloody steps again put me off so I retreated to the lounge with a book.
Later on in the evening I had a meeting with my guide and we decided to make a couple of changes to my pre arranged itinerary. Now this is one of the advantages to not being in a group trek, you have flexibility to change things as you want. The issue I had was that I had given myself no margin of error for getting my international flight back to the UK, I was due to fly from Lukla to Kathmandu and then out to the UK the day after. As i mentioned earlier Lukla is notorious for cancelled flights, case in point for the last 2 days there have not actually been an flights leaving from Lukla due to the clouds. The idea the Niraj put forward was that we shorten the trek by a day by skipping the acclimatisation day that was planned at Dingboche and thus allowing me to get back to Lukla a day early. This was fine but it meant ascending 500m, 600, and 400m in succession which leads to more stress on the body, but I thought it was worth the risk as I did not want to miss my international flight and I am an impatient person anyway so quicker we get to base camp the better.