Shigatse and Gyantse
Xigaze Travel Blog› entry 13 of 16 › view all entries
So with the area between Lhasa and the border officially open again and our jeep convoy all ready to go we headed west from Lhasa. The two main towns we visited over these few days were Shigatse and Gyantse... I cant remember which they were in! Yeah its ages ago now my blogging catchup attempt started well but then fell away again :(
Ill pretend for now that Shigatse was definately first. Its Tibets second biggest city, and its main draw is the monastery which we visited on our second day. I have a feeling its one of the most important in Tibet but once again cant remember too many details. Its definately the biggest we visited. We had a real life Tibetan monk showing us around speaking his best Chinese, which was then translated for us by Vanessa. So I guess plenty of the finer points could have been lost in the double translation but it was still an ok tour, though it definately went on too long! It was all about the history of the this and that and the symbolism in the paintings/carvings etc which isnt really what I was hoping to hear about. I wouldve found it much more interesting to hear about the everyday life of the monks, who they are, how they came to be in the monastery and at what age. All that kind of thing. But never mind!
Then Gyantse, which may or may not have been before Shigatse. This was a much smaller town which felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. Another monastery and also a fort this time. We were hardly here for 24 hours what with the various reschedulings wed been forced to do as Id explained previously...so I actually took a rain check on both the fort and monastery! I think I just didnt really feel like rushing around, the fort looked great from the outside so got a few photos but i suspected it wouldnt be that interesting inside and few others confirmed this. I didnt see any other tourists here but they must see a few given the number of restaurants serving western food and showing signs outside such as 'please we welcome our most wonderful heroic guests'. That kind of thing.
And in between times the drives through the Tibetan countryside were all still stunning, and we were still squeezing in plenty of hackysack whenever it was time to stop for whatever reason. And the jeep convoy was still fun but in a different way from the truck I think.