Lhasa, Potala Palace and Braille without Borders – 5th May 2014 – Tour day 6

Another sunny day in Lhasa and after breakfast we headed to a charity school run by Braille without borders braillewithoutborders.com.  This is a charity set up by a blind German woman and her Dutch friend, now boyfriend.  The school gives education and skills for blind children up to the age of 13.  The children were really friendly and it was amazing to see the good work that clearly goes on there.  Past students have gone on to set up their own businesses providing massages, and one graduate went on to a ‘mainstream’ education and is hoping to go to university.  Definitely a worthwhile cause.

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We returned to our hotel and then met up at 12.20 to head to our prebooked tickets for the Potala Palace.  We caught a local bus, always an interesting experience, and then headed through multiple layers of security before finally being allowed to walk up the 365 steps to the main building.  The red part is where the Dali Lama lived whilst the white part is where Tibet was governed from.  The palace was rebuilt by the 5th Dali Lama in the 18th Century. Unfortunately photographs were not allowed inside, although the views from the top were spectacular.  The palace contains stupas (tombs) of many of the previous Dali Lamas – tall (most over 7m tall) and covered in gold and intricate jewels.  We saw the reception room of the current and last Dali Lama, along with various rooms containing hundreds and thousands of Buddhas. 

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Our tour grouo

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The palace has over a thousand rooms, but we only saw a very small percentage of these.  On leaving, we descended the steps and out into the main square where we were accosted by many locals wanting us to buy various tat. 
 

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We walked back towards the Barkkhor and stopped for refreshment with Denise, Katherine and Sarah, (three of our Australian travellers) and then headed back to the hotel to freshen up for tea.
We headed out for an evening meal with only a few others, the same ones that we’d shared our train cabin with.  Had a very nice meal at a place called the Snowlands.  It was nice to relax and not have everyone else there.  Early start tomorrow for more monasteries and making Momos!

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