Earlier start today and we were at breakfast for 8. Standard fayre again…ropey coffee, toast, omelette and plastic cheese.
We met up with our group at 9 for a trip on a local bus (1 Yuan – approx 10p), to the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama. This was an optional activity so not all of the group went. The palace is set in a large parkland area and we wandered around the well kept grounds.
The park contains the summer palaces of the 8th, 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas. They became increasingly grand and the latest one, built in 1954-56 was a two storey affair.
The Dalai Lama fled to India from here in 1959. We were able to go in all three palaces, which all contain a reception area, throne and study. The 13th palace also included a range of horse drawn carriages and the 14th has a picture of the 14th Dalai Lama, one of only two in Tibet.
We returned to th centre of the city and went to the Shangrila Restaurant where we ate the first evening in Lhasa. Here we made Momos, steamed dumpling type things. We had to roll the ‘pastry’, fill with either meat or vegetable filling. Then the restaurant cooked them for us and brought them out with some clear vegetable soup. They were very tasty, although the meat ones were nicer than the ones with a veggie filling.
Next it was time to go to the Sera Monastery. We walked to the bus stop and caught a very very crowded bus. At each stop more and more people seemed to get on! At the monastery, we saw the assembly hall, one which is held up by 100 columns. The toilets here were probably the grotiest that we have seen…so far – no photos fortunately! From here, we walked to an open area where we saw monks debating with each other. Some of it seemed genuine, but I couldn’t help thinking that some of the action was put on for the tourists.
Back on the bus into town and to the supermarket to stock up with snakcs for the journey tomorrow to NamTso lake and the following day to Samye. We also bought some fresh breaded things for breakfast and we both had a very rich chocolate cake.
After returning to the hotel, we fresheened up and went for dinner at a traditional tibetan restaurant. We all had a ‘hot pot’ which consisted of a broth mixture which we cooked various meats and vegetables in. There was also traditional singing display. The food wasn’t fantiastic and the singing was a bit waily, but it was all a good experience. And so to bed for our earrliest start yet tomorrow!