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Published: September 1st 2015
Day 44 - Bhaktapur and Panauti
Aww... I slept so well last night! I got to my room at about 6.30, I sorted my bag, then sorted myself, I made a cup of tea in my room..... And just relaxed. Next thing I knew, it was the morning! This place is huge!
I got ready to go for breakfast, there are so many winding corridors, nooks and crannies, small sets of stairs going up, and down. I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Luckily for me, another guest steps out from a door in front of me, he seems to know where he is going, so I instinctively follow him. Is he the white rabbit? As I come through the maze, I can smell the food, I meet service people on the way, recognising the porter who helped me last night, to be met by a big cheesy grin... Hmmmm, the Cheshire Cat? He encourages me to keep walking forward, I pass a small eating place, looking back, the Cheshire Cat encourages me to keep going, a bigger eating place, but no food, looking back again, keep going, he gestures. Finally.... A huge restaurant, so much food, so many
waiters, all dressed impeccably. Oh my lord, it's the Mad Hatters Tea Party. The staff ushered around me, I felt like royalty, but not the queen of Hearts... Lol. No one will be beheaded today! I felt so inappropriately dressed in my elephant pants, vest and flip flops, even though they are handmade! But there's not a lot I can do about that, as it's all I have! I sit back enjoy the welcome faves, the food, the service, the ambience, the whole lot!
Anu... Thank you, thank you, thank you! And all this at 70% discount, thanks to Agoda!
After breakfast I venture out into the gardens. In my head, the Alice in Wonderland theme continues; the lawns and gardens are lovely, encasing a cool blue swimming pool. Thank goodness there are no playing cards playing croquet! There are lots of table and chairs set under little private shaded areas. This is definitely a jewel of a hotel. It is still every inch, the Palace, that it was, back in its day.
I am getting picked up by a tour guide, Monica, from GAdventures at 9.45 for a day tour. She arrives on time, it's
a private tour, just me, Monica and the driver. We set off into the rush hour traffic. It is busy, but certainly not the busiest traffic that I have seen! We are heading for Katmandu Valley, the city of Bhaktapur. Ohhh.., I am so pleased that I took the time to come here today!
Bhaktapur is known as The City of Devotees. It is filled with monuments, most terra-cotta with carved wood columns, palaces and temples with elaborate carvings, gilded roofs, open courtyards. The city is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines. After the recent earthquake, the media reported that it had been flattened. This was so exaggerated! There is a lot of damage, but it's certainly still worth coming to see! Note the green sign on the wall of the school, that means that the building is safe and secure!
Hand carving wood is a specialist handicraft in this area, and has been for years. It is so intricate, in fact amazing, and there is so much to look at that it is hard to take it all in! The peacock window was of interest to me, as we saw the huge peacock window in the palace
yesterday. The wooden version that I saw today in Dattatraya Square, was the template that was used for the glass one in the palace.
There are three squares to visit, all showing evidence of earthquake damage, but all also showing the heart and soul of renovation and rebuild. I felt the sadness of the losses, and the damage, but also felt the positivity and ambition for the rising up of Nepal. Nepali: back on top of the world.
Monica, my CEO for the day was really helpful, making me feel very welcome, offering all the information I needed to get the most I could out of the visit.
We returned to the car, we are now continuing our tour to Panauti. It is 32km SE if Katmandu Valley. The roads were really bad, but then I'm not surprised seeing the amount of heavy traffic using it! We pass close by the Kailasnath Mahadev Statue, which is 143ft tall statue of Lord Shiva situated in Sanga Hill. It is the tallest in the world, and so impressive to see, even from a distance! As usual, my photo is rubbish! But worth looking up!
We were met
by a local girl who lives in the area. We walked through the busy bus square towards the old part of the town. It was just like stepping back in time! I noticed that the ground floor doors are so short! Monica explained that when a guest visits a house they now to get in, showing respect. Hmmm, that makes sense! The whole place is like a huge, open air, active museum! Again, so much to look at it sends your head spinning in all directions!
There is obvious earthquake damage here too, but not as much as there is in other areas. Monica explained that the belief is, because Panauti is but on a huge single rock, it is mostly protected from the earthquakes. We visited the cremation place at the riverside, again, many stone carvings of the varying forms of Vishnu. This area is sunk into a beautiful backdrop setting.
We continued the town walk to the home stay were we are having lunch. I knew about this, but it wasn't what I was expecting, it was so much more! We entered the house. It was so interesting to go in, and meet, eat, talk and
laugh with the family there.
This is another GAdventure supported project. I feel content going with G, as you can see how they help you travel, see reality, whilst also bringing business to the local people. It is a win/win situation!
We met with Mum and daughter, then... OMG... Grandma came bounding in... She was amazing! She was hugging and kissing me and Monica, she was just so happy to be with us, and I loved being with her too. She was soooo vibrant!
Monica worked hard, translating constantly, ensuring that we were all included in the conversations, which we certainly were. Great job Monica! We had lunch in the kitchen on the top floor.... Oh, I loved it here! The people are so welcoming, friendly, and want to talk, to share stories of life. They talked about the earthquake, and how life was getting back to normal, but they are still experiencing aftershocks, which are a constant reminder to them.
Finally, it was time to leave, we had hugs all round. I think we all enjoyed the visit.
...Information for you Helen, the pool bar is a Lavazza coffee, and Twinning tea shop!
I stayed at the pool until about 7.30, then went back to my room for another night of self pampering! I had forgotten how nice it is to moisturise your whole body, rather than a little bit here and there due to carrying only a little bit of face moisturiser, but in my room was a free bottle of moisturiser, I went mad with it... What a great feeling... I had forgotten what my skin can feel like... lol
Another good day!
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