(filtered by tag 'Tibet')

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Monday, 13th of July. We are leaving Lhasa. We are going to Xining by train. It should take about 24 hours to get there (1972km). It might sound boring, but it is passing through Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is the highest railway in the world - the highest point at altitude 5072m. The train is passing though amazing country with colourful mountains, many lakes, rivers canyons, every few hours it looks differently.

We were lucky our train departed in the morning thus we got quite far during daylight (I can only guess we passed through less attractive country during night).

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Sunday, 12th of July. Our plan is to go to Drepung Monastery. It was optional program and only 4 people decided to go. Maybe because it is expected to be worse than Ganden Monastery yesterday and the price is only slightly lower than we paid for Ganden.

Original intention was to use taxi as it is cheaper than bus, but when Tenzin went to police to obtain permit he was told groups are not allowed to use 2 taxis, they need to go as a group by bus. "Don't you know the rules?!?". Strange...

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On Saturday 11th of July I finally started to feel completely well. And it is about time because we are heading to Ganden Monastery with altitude even higher than Lhasa is at and we will have some walk with nice views today. I am looking forward for that!

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We looked forward to explore Lhasa for nearly a year since we decided to go and paid deposit. It finally happened on Friday 10th of July.

I could not sleep whole night, but not because of excitement. It was due to headache caused by time shift (I had some problems since Monday) mixed with problems with high altitude. And to make it worse I forgot to buy enough bottles of water in the evening and I was really thirsty. Drinking tap water is not the best idea as we were told and I eventually tried it myself (it was bitter). So shortly after midnight I set out for a quest. To find the bottle of water somewhere in the hotel. I have tried to ask some people in courtyard, I am not sure they were employees or they just lived there. Then I tried reception. It was deserted, but after short time dark figures got out of the sofas in the lobby. Receptionist and some more staff members were sleeping there (sorry guys). No water as well (or just too annoyed staff?).

So the first thing after "waking up" in the morning was that I went out to city to buy water. Most of shops we have seen yesterday were still closed. Only a few of them were preparing for next working day. But all of them located around hotel sold clothes, shoes and souvenirs so I had to wander further away.

It is pity I was primed to my task so much I could not concentrate and enjoy morning life around Jokhang Temple. It is very nice experience, Tibetan pilgrims going around it on the sacred path of worship named kora. They are nicely dressed, with prayer wheels in the hand. Some of them are doing prostrations.

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Thursday, 9th of July. Waking up soon today will be rewarded later by seeing Tibet! But first we need to pay for it by inconvenience of breakfast box like yesterday.

I am not very happy that sky is blue today, because we cannot take advantage of it. But it gives a promise we are heading to place where sky is blue, snow is white, the yaks are black and ... well, I am getting a bit too much poetic.

We nearly missed our plane, because after security check we went quickly to gate and we were the last passengers getting to the plane. I would say passport control took longer than I am used to, because they could not understand we have group Visa to Tibet so that all 19 people need to go through the same booth while there are 2 other idling. Eventually they decided to share us between themselves without checking one piece of paper with Visa. The security check took longer too.

Our flight was not direct, we stopped in the Chengdu, with some delay. After 30 minutes we got to the same plane, this time delayed even longer before we took off.

Sky was really cloudy during most of the flight and we had terrible visibility in Chengdu, so I slowly stopped hoping I will see Himalayas from the plane. But sky cleared partially shortly before landing in Lhasa so we could see very nice mountains through windows on both sides of plane. It is pity we were not sitting next to window, so we could not take any pictures. Next time...

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