Palkor Monastery

Previous page - Gyantze Yu Tuo Hotel

 

The ancient fort in Gyantze The old fort in Gyantze

Wandering in the town centre

We asked our guide if it was possible to drive up to the fort we had seen when arriving in the car. It intrigued us because we couldn't imagine how such a place could have been built centuries ago in such a location. She said it was not possible to go up there. What a pity! We didn't ask why because her English was limited so it would have been difficult for her to understand us or to respond.

There was enough spare time for the three of us to have a quiet wander around the city centre by ourselves. We felt like we were school kids heading off without our teacher. It was a feeling of freedom. We noticed how close the fort was to the city centre. It was so big and close you felt you didn't want to stop photographing it.

It was totally amazing in its structure up on such a rocky, bleak location. It would have been perfect though if you wanted to protect the city as you would have been able to see everything from way up there.

 

We ambled around looking into shop doorways and then we found a market going on up a side alley. There were all sorts of things being sold but most confronting was the meat stall. It was not a sight for the faint-hearted!

The meat stall at the market The meat stall
The market place The market with the fort in the background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Palkor Monastery Palkor Monastery

 

The Palkor Monastery

We met up with our guide about half an hour later and we headed to see a very special monastery. The Palkor Monastery is a combination of temples and stupas. It dates back to the early 1400’s. The Bodhi Stupa, or Khumbum, is one of the highlights to see whilst there. It has 77 temples within the building. They are all very tiny. It costs 10 Yuan to take photos in there. There is a most amazing brown stone wall up way up behind the monastery. It was the kind of thing you couldn’t take your eyes off. From there we could see the back of the old fort. We would have loved to take a closer look at that fort.

 

Inside one of the tiny temples Statues inside the monastery

 

 

In the main temple of the monastery we saw ancient boxes of something or other. I thought maybe it was the remains of monks’ bones in the boxes but our guide said there were scriptures in there. We saw butter bowls with candles burning in them and the same dainty art work as we saw in Bhutanese temples. We think the art work was made from butter and pasta – possibly made from barley. The pictures were floral and done in pastel colours.

When we came back out to our car what should we see in the car park but the “American’s” car. We spot them or their car everywhere.

 

A comfortable hotel room to return to

Back at the hotel our room was cozy and warm. The sun had been shining in the big window all day and we loved it. We relaxed for a while and watched TV.

At 7 p.m. our guide and driver took us for dinner. Guess where to? Yes, back to Tashi again. This time it was busy with tour groups whereas lunch time had been quiet. We again grabbed a table near the window. Ian ordered sizzling yak steak (again). Jeremy ordered garlic steak but when it was dished up he discovered the garlic was totally raw. Just as well he is a garlic lover. I ordered chicken and mushroom soup with Naan bread. We have noticed that in all the restaurants we’ve been to, the food is served up randomly with no thought of patrons on the one table wanting to eat at the same time as each other. Our meal cost 121 Yuan which is roughly $19 AUD. I think both the Tashi restaurants have been more expensive to eat at than eating Tibetan food elsewhere but their menus are far more extensive.

 

We meet a friendly Danish couple

Whilst we had been waiting to be served we started chatting to a couple from Denmark at the next table to us. They are traveling in reverse to us across Tibet. We were able to give each other tips etc. They told us about a place they had been to in Lhasa one day when they were looking for somewhere for lunch. They thought it might have been a hotel restaurant they were wandering into. It was painted all white. As they wandered upwards in the building they got suspicious that it was neither a hotel nor a restaurant. They then saw rooms with many beds in them – dormitory style. They had decided they had better get out of the place but they couldn’t find their way out. It seems doors had been locking behind them. Eventually they did manage to find a way out of the place but they suspected they might have been inside a sanatorium, hostel or asylum of some sort. Nothing is in English, of course, so you have no real idea what you are headed into until you get there. We’ll be careful where we wander.

The couple told us about how they paid several hundred dollars extra to their tour company because they wanted to go to Lake Namtso. It is the highest lake in the world and the second largest salt lake in China. When it was time to go there the road to the lake was closed. They were cross they had wasted all that money. We have heard of people who couldn’t reach Everest Base Camp because the road was randomly closed. These kinds of things happen in Tibet. Sometimes there are sound reasons but often it is on account of an official’s whim.

 

 

Back to Hotel Yu Tuo

When we got back to the hotel Ian and I headed for our room and a nice hot shower. Jeremy wanted to be downstairs in the lobby because Wi Fi worked down there and it didn’t in our room. Whilst he was down there he was showing Tiki some of our photos of Bhutan which had been saved onto our lap top. She was fascinated and before long there was a group of six huddled around him looking at our photos. Jeremy showed them a picture with Kinga (our Bhutan guide) and the girls all thought he was handsome and they wanted to know if he was available. Yes, he is available because he is looking for a nice girlfriend but sadly I don’t think there is any chance of him shifting to Tibet.

 

Next page - Hydro Dam and Kharola Glacier

 

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