Trei săptămâni în Himalaya is Marius Chivu’s illustrated account of his three weeks in Nepal in spring 2011, where he spent a couple of days in the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara and for the bulk of his time walked along the Annapurna Circuit (one of the highest treks in the world). Three weeks is a very brief time in such an alien country, but Chivus account is very detailed. He notes down everything from the counterfeit items for sale in Kathmandu to the advertising message on a bottle of beer he drinks. Clearly he was enraptured by the new things he was seeing, and that sense of discovery comes across in his writing. Of course, Chivu isn’t doing anything particularly unusual. Many tens of thousands of tourists trek in Nepal annually and have done so for decades, and among them are plenty of Romanian young people. The downside of the book is how he exaggerates the exoticness of his travels, making a heavily touristed area seem like an obscure backwater. There’s even a section where he contrasts “tourists” versus “travellers” (i.e. backpackers, hikers and trekkers), idealizing the latter as people who respect the culture of the places they visit and seek a deep connection with the local people. Apparently he missed the hordes of skint backpackers in Nepal who have zero interest in Nepalese culture but are just there for the cheap hashish and mountain views. Also, Chivu tries to describe the political and social life of Nepal, but three weeks in a very limited, touristic zone doesn’t really qualify him to do so.One strong aspect of this book are the photographs, which are presented in beautiful colour and are well shot. Indeed, the book is satisfying enough as a photoessay if you don’t care for the writing itself.