Norbulingka Palace

Previous page - Barkhor Square and Jokhang Temple

 

Deaf ears at the Hotel Flora

Yesterday morning I had complained at reception about one of the mattresses and also about the problem we had in not being able to get our sink plug out of the sink.

Despite the young Chinese guy assuring us it would all be fixed up, none of it was. At most I think they may have turned the mattress over. The plug issue certainly hadn’t been addressed. Anyway last night Jeremy slept in the problem bed instead of me. Really I think Jeremy’s original bed was almost as bad as mine anyway. The hotel is almost empty. Surely in all these empty rooms they have some mattresses that are better quality that could be swapped for ours. I think they simply don’t care. The young Chinese guy seems to spend most of his time lying down on the couch watching TV instead of doing his job properly. He shows absolutely no interest in his job whatsoever. When we went downstairs to breakfast there was an older man at reception so I mentioned the problems to him. With him being a more mature person I stupidly thought he might take some action on the two problems but he never did. Complaining had been a total waste of breath. We ate our breakfasts and were waiting for Tiki in the foyer at 9:30 a.m.

 

Confirming our tickets home

The first job we wanted to do was to confirm our air tickets from Lhasa back to Singapore. We were traveling with China Eastern Air. We tried to explain to Tiki what we needed to do. Somehow we ended up at the office of China Southern Air. Their agent very kindly rang the airline for us and they told him we really didn’t need to confirm but that everything was OK anyway. That was a huge relief to us.

Back in the car Tiki was trying to call someone on her mobile phone. We had no idea who she was ringing. Suddenly she thrust the phone into my hands. I put the phone to my ear with no idea what I was supposed to listen to or say to the mystery person. It turns out she had rung a travel agent somewhere else and this person was trying to tell me in English that all our seats were confirmed. There you go – they were confirmed twice!

 

Statue in the front of the palace grounds Front of Norbulingka

Norbulingka Palace

Tiki had said to us that we could either visit the Norbulingka Palace or we could go to the Drepung Monastery. She felt the palace would be better because the monastery had lots of steps and she recognized I would have trouble climbing them. We chose the palace and we weren’t disappointed.

The Norbulingka Palace is surrounded by parkland. It was built in the 1700’s and was the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lamas. The Potala Palace is the winter residence. In summer time the park is alive with locals who come to picnic and partake in entertainment such as music, festivals, dancing and singing. It is now the end of October and it is practically empty of visitors. The Palace is now listed on the UNESCO world Heritage List.  The place suffered extensive damage during the Cultural Revolution but money has been spent on restoring much of it.

The grounds are huge and cover an area of 3.6 square kilometers. There is even a little zoo in there. There are many tree lined pathways to wander and lots of temples to look in. Along one pathway we saw two white yaks nibbling under the trees. Everything was dry and fairly overgrown but then it is autumn.

At Norbulingka Tiki, Jeremy and Ian
Jean wearing a face mask that was way too thin to be of use Wearing my face mask to stop breathing in cold air

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful white yak in the palace grounds The white yak in the grounds
there are many buildings and temples within the palace grounds Building within the palace compound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed seeing the areas that the Dalai Lama lived in prior to him going into exile. We even saw his bathroom and toilet.

It was a great place to spend a couple of hours. In summer it would be particularly nice because there are so many shady trees to sit under. Right now, in October, it is great weather if you are standing in the sun but in the shade it is quite cold.

 

Back into the city centre

Our driver met us at the front of the Norbulingka Palace and we headed off back into the city centre.

Suddenly the car pulls over and we were ushered out. It seems are walking to Barkhor Square??  We wish Tiki would talk to us and tell us where we are going and what we are doing. Frequently we feel like Brown’s cows wandering aimlessly along behind her. She leaves us to eat our lunch in the New Mandala restaurant where we ate yesterday.

This time we decide to go up onto the roof garden to eat. We were foolish as it was too cold and windy for outdoor eating. Nevertheless we stayed up there. Sadly there were no “Americans” anywhere in sight that time around. We ate our food whilst trying to slyly aim our cameras at the soldiers who were patrolling the rooftop of the Dico building opposite. It was too difficult to do without being obvious and we didn’t want to get into trouble so we abandoned the idea.

We headed back to the hotel for a short rest and a cup of tea. We were due to meet up with Tiki in the foyer at 2:30 p.m.

 

Next page - The Sera Monastery

 

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