Saturday, 31 October 2015

Day Three,

first thing,

 downstairs for breakfast,

 Diana chose hers first,

 I had similar to yesterday, a selection of cold cuts and a couple of fried eggs, but no double yokers today,

 a cup of tea, then eyes down and tuck in,

 and of course a glass of bubbly and what is better than a glass of bubbly?

 two glasses of bubbly!

 as we made our way to our tricycle for today, the hotel staff were starting one of the cars,

 which with a short push and bump start fired up a treat,

 next into our tricycle for today,

 and we are going to the temples, 

 I expected the ticket booths to be crowded, but there was just one person in front of us, so picture taken and we were on our way in no time, just a word of caution here you will be asked for your ticket at every temple you visit and you will need it to  to use the toilet facilities, so do not lose it!

 the last time we were here it was the dry season, so there was no water in the moat, but now it looks just so nice,

 we made our way past some of the food stalls,

 taking pictures of the moat as we went,

 now here is one for Steve and any other runners, a half marathon, so put the 6th. December in your notebooks,

 we parked opposite Angkor Wat,

 and made our way to the stone path leading to it,

 a new experience for us, the moat full,

 a quick pose on the causeway,

and halfway across,

palm tress reflected the water always look nice,

we made our way into the complex,

and through some of the corridors,

that lead to the other side of the entrance building,

one of the buildings wings,

taken through two of the pillars of the building that we were in,

only two remain on this side,

the main causeway leading to the temple,

one of the wings of the temple,

and we have a few poses,

the temple in the distance,

the gate house for want of a better word that we had just left,

as you walk towards the main building there are other smaller temples beside it,

well I had to have a pose,

or two as well!

these are similar pillars that I took the picture of the wing of the building through,

we then entered the first of the bas relief galleries,

a brief description of the panel,

the panels are open so I took a quick panorama of the view,

and keeping the camera in the same mode a panorama of the relief,

I also took a couple of details,

of this huge work and epic battle,

this is just one of the many base relief rooms,

we made our way to the next,

where more battles were documented,

I am not going to guess how long the reliefs are,but looking at the number of people here gives a good idea of their size,

we walked to another room,

then out into the air,

crossing over to another section of the building,

all around more structures can be seen,

we had by now covered quiet a distance, the crowds had thinned out,

so we had the galleries all to ourselves,

so a quick pose from Diana,

a panorama from me,

and a wishful looking Diana,

not a soul to be seen,

we made our way back into the complex,

passing a shrine that is still in use today,

we made our way into another courtyard,

surrounded by imposing buildings,

like these,

it is a marvel just how the stonemasons of the time could think to build such structures,

we made our way,

through other deserted corridors,

Diana went to one of the rubbish bins to throw away a empty water bottle,by the way take plenty of water with you, she left me with the bag as I contemplated what I think was a water storage cistern,

with steps leading down to it,


we now made a move, 

back along the causeway,

past a few of the lakes,

and monkeys,

to meet up with our driver,

nearly there,

a quick stop for a picture to be taken,

I have to say we both felt sorry for them, I guess they were here for a day of prayer or sight seeing, but as one tourist had his picture taken another tourist then asked if he could be pictured with them, they were most probably still there at closing time!

the moat now nearly full,

but that did not stop work on the bank side as workers are refurbishing the stone work,

on the other side of the causeway most of the bank is still there in its original condition,

our tricycle driver,

I ordered a ice latte coffee,

then we were on our way, crossing the bridge that leads to Angkor Thom,

so we had to stop to take a few pictures,

and strike the pose,

this was the first time that the water was so high here,

the entrance building,

these are still original, 

as are these,

but regrettably many have been removed before their value as a part of the National heritage was realized,

the entrance is wide enough for cars and tricycles, but lorries I doubt can get through, at the time it was built if an elephant could walk through it I guess that was good enough!

we made our way through the park,

spotting a few monkeys on our way,

some of them remarkably well fed,

this was our next temple to visit, 

in the fortified city of Angkor Thom that the bridge led to, 

there are plenty of interesting ruins to visit here, but the most striking is this one Bayon, 

the temple with all of the faces, all 216 of them on the temples 54 stone towers,

work is continuing to refurbish the building to its former self,

some of the towers,

with Diana,

one of the faces,

rebuilding the buildings is never going to be easy,

with mounds of stone that could potentially have come from several different buildings waiting to be sorted piled high all over the park,

we made our way in side the temple,

past some of the still standing shrines,

every where you looked a face was staring down at you,

and in some places the buildings we so close it was almost claustrophobic,

we walked passage ways,

it was uncanny,

we almost a had the place to ourselves,

again not a soul in sight,


except one!

one one side of the temple the faces are closer to ground,

and a little easier to photograph,

some of the passage ways were so tight to get through, and led to nowhere so a U turn was in order,

the two buildings here barely a foot apart,

we made our way out of the complex,

these stairs were so steep,

we passed more renovation work,

and the shrine we saw on the way in,

our next stop was the Terrace of the Elephants,

at one end there is a large wall,

covered with carvings,

and of course elephants feature here,

looking from the walk way,

Diana takes a rest,

the walkway is a huge 2.5m high about 300m long platform with 5 staircases, 3 in the middle and one on each end,

we looked for our tricycle and there he was in the shade,

we were nearly at the end,

passing a gate house on our right,

and a collapsed entrance to another part of the grounds,

a few monks in the distance were looking around the ruins,

I guess here for the day,

taking a few pictures on telephone and tablet,

a panorama of the Terrace of the Elephants,

we continued on our journey,

stopping every now and then,

at ruins by the road side,

that nature had taken over,

over the bridge,

to this temple,

that the Chinese government in collaboration with the Cambodian government,

were refurbishing,

by now it was lunch time,

so back to the moat,

to the Palmboo restaurant,

in we went,

a quick cheers with our driver of the day,

lunch was served, chicken satay for myself,

mixed fried rice for our driver,

fish amok,

for Diana, all served with rice,

meal over we were on our way again, but I had to take a picture of this finely made miniature water wheel, it was only 2 feet or so across,

the view form the restaurant,

we arrived at the last temple of the day, 

the Bayon,

which has a long sandy walkway leading to it,

as we walked along I noticed what I thought was a 18" or so long snake in the sand,

but it was not, it was in fact an earth/sandworm, a huge one,

it was along way to the temple,

and before long,

we started seeing signs of collapsed buildings,

before reaching the start of the complex,

the trees here are huge,

and that is what has led to this temples fame,

slowly but surely,

the tress are undermining the buildings,

and they are big trees,

as the roots grow the buildings slowly yield to the enormous pressure the tree roots exert over them,

like this one, 

towering into the sky,
a difficult decision, to let the tress destroy the building,

or cut down the trees to prevent this?

I am just glad it is not my choice,

we continued our walk,

past buildings,

and many piles of stones waiting to be reunited,

but restoration work is going on here in another inter government help scheme, this time the Cambodian and Indian governments pooling their resources to rebuild a part of the complex,

who knows on our next visit this will be rebuilt,

we continued our walk,

past huge tree roots,

being supported by acros building supports,

that are now taking the strain,

as temple figures look on,

our guide continued our visit,

as we passed more buildings yielding to the trees,

and as I mentioned before some are huge, 

from our last visit I believe this one was struck by lightening,

so what was left was cut down for safety reasons,

Diana strikes the pose amongst the buttresses,

the cross section of the tree huge,

a panorama of this part of the site,

the tower in the center of the picture just a few years ago was not there,

as part of the restoration project it has been rebuilt,

but the strangle hold of others continues,

for how long will the face that stares from these tree roots see the light of day,

before it is enclosed in a wooden coffin?

the good news with having our own guide,

was that if there was a barrier or stay out notice,

we could enter,

as we had an official escort,

most do not look at the top,

as it is he base that holds the most interest,

we continued,

this doorway in days of the future to be closed by the trees,

but there are still some doorways we can squeeze through,

what a work of restoration this will be,

our guide explains to Diana about the work of the trees,

he was so helpful,

taking us through areas that I had never been to before,

Diana poses by another tree,

that is extending its grip on a building,

mind your head, well Diana and our guide were OK,

inside a shrine,

we continued our tour in amazement,

as we looked at building,

after building,

the temple complex seems almost endless,

at every turn new sights to see,

what a sight his must have been 1,000 years ago,

we were told that some of the bigger trees are over 400 years old,

a temple doorway block by soil waiting to be explored,

we continued our walk,

in this doorway we all had to duck!

exiting we were on the other side of the complex,

where more trees had a grip,

I had often seen holes in some of the stones used in the buildings, but had not taken much interest in them,

but now thanks to our guide I know what they are for, all of the stones used are from quarries 60 kilometers away,the holes were made for ropes to be passed through them so that elephants could tow the rocks to the building site,

there were some places that even with our guide we did not enter,

it will be a nightmare to work out where all of these go,

we continued though the dappled sunlight,

the more we looked,

the more we were amazed that every stone had to be transport, shaped and erected with no power help, just man and elephant power,

we followed our guide,

who was giving us insights to the temple,

and he was amazed when we told him that yesterday we went on the backs of motorbikes to visit the elephant and loins at Phnom Kulen,

climbing over stones it was time for another pose,

smile for the camera,

we started making our way back to the tricycle,

but realized,

we were on the far side of the temple,

still the exercise will do us good,

and I can take a few more photographs,

even in this one temple there are still so many things we have not seen,

we pass a unsafe area,

to one of the restored corridors,

it seems hard to believe, 

that this was once a ruin,

as these pictures demonstrate,


and after,

one more pose,

and we pass another corridor,

that is being rebuilt,

the finished one we have just visited,

we past another huge tree,

and the site entrance,

where numbered stones are cast like a giants jigsaw puzzle, then on our way back to the hotel, as an aside if this temple looks familiar it is because it was used in Laura Croft’s Tomb Raider & Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom,

an over sized load!we arrived back at the hotel where Diana disappeared, with Halloween due,

 you might think that this is part of her costume,

 but it is not,Diana treated herself to a chocolate rub facial massage, as she said the tricky bit was not eating the chocolate!

 after donning glad rags we were downstairs for a pre-dinner drink,

 tonight we had decided to eat in the hotels restaurant,

 a mango daiquiri cocktail for Diana,

 a glass of wine for myself,

 and in to the restaurant we went,


 we were served a complementary pumpkin soup,

 for our starters a Caesar salad for Diana,

which looked delicious,

 a chefs salad for myself,

 on to our main courses,

 we both chose the daily special, a filet of beef with mashed potatoes and vegetables,

 we were full to bursting, so we declined the dessert,

 and decided to take the lift,

 there are two of them opposite each other to serve two of the hotels wings, great fun,

and speaking of fun, each time we return to the room a new complimentary gift appears, we now have a pair of key-rings and another bedtime story, with that we were off to bed.