We had a later start this morning and headed to breakfast at around 8.30am at the restaurant next door to our hotel. We both opted for an American breakfast which included juice, coffee, bacon, egg and fried potatoes. Not a bad attempt considering!
Or first activity of the day was a visit to the Tashilunpo monastery, just around the corner from our hotel. The monastery is the ‘seat’ of the panchen lama (kind of a deputy to the dalai lama). Most of the monastery was destroyed in the cultural revolution but, like the last place, those coming monks managed to save two of the buildings by pretending that they were storage for barley!
The monastery has five main buildings including one contrasting the largest stupa in Tibet (about 26m high), the stupa of the 10th Panchen Lama, a stupa dedicated to the 6th to 9th Panchen Lamas, and an assembly hall. Once again there were lots of statues to see inside and a charge for any photographs. However, here each ‘chapel’ had a separate charge and the ‘cheapest’ was £7.50 with the most expensive being £12.50! Needles to say we kept our cameras in their cases in each.
By the time we finished it was lunchtime so we went to the hotel’s restaurant for a snack. We then meet up at about 2pm to trace the pilgrim’s walk around the outskirts of the monastery which took about an hour. Along the way we passed lots of wild dogs and some sheep and goats! We also had a good view of the Shigatse Zhong…modelled on the potala palace.
En route back to the hotel we called in at a supermarket for some snacks for the coming days journeys and then to collect our laundry!
We filled our free time in a coffee shop which allows us to catch up on the outside world using the free, but very slow, WiFi.
By now it was time for tea so we meet up with the group in a local restaurant. One again the good was delicious and we managed to occupy our time by guessing the nationality of the small number of other westerners in the restaurant.
Tomorrow is a lazy start before a 5 hit drive to Sakye.