January 2018
  • Day6

    Artisans,palaces and books

    January 17, 2018 in Myanmar ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Our first day of travelling was a tour of Mandalay. The city is much bigger than we thought it would be with over one million people living here. We started by visiting the southern part of the city where all the artisans live. Our first stop was at a workshop producing golf leaf. The amount of work that goes into making it is mind boggling. Firstly we saw two young men which wielding 7 kilo hammers, which they used to beat the gold leaf until it is literally paper thin, the. almost as much work is required producing the transparent bamboo paper which is a nescessary part of the process. After that we visited workshops making wood. Arcings, mostly de orative pieces such as wall hangings and doors, but of course, the inevitable buddhas and goddesses, next we drove by the stone masons wstone and bronze figures mainly of Buddha, all very labour intensive but producing great work, unfortunately ( tor fortunately) we coulld’nt fit a stone Buddha into our suitcases. We made a stop at a temple where a large Buddha statue is available for anyone to stick pieces of golg leaf onto, over the years there is so much stuck onto the figure that it’s face now looks out from a grossly distorted body.
    After a return to our hotel for a midday nap we visited the old kings palace which is set in a two km square in the centre of town. The original palace was destroyed in the Second World War and the area is now occupied by the military but there is a reproduction palace there which shows what it looked like ( space of his 48 wives so he could be nagged by a different woman each week). We did visit one piece of the old palace in a different location which showed the original teak wood carvings, very interesting. Our final visit of the day was to a temple where the teachings and sayings of Buddha are enshrined on stone tablets each housed in a separate stone Stupa. We did go to the top of Mandalay hill to view an unimpressive sunset as the sun just set into the pollution haze that covers the city.
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  • Day4

    Here we are in Mandalay

    January 15, 2018 in Myanmar ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After 27 hours of travel we finally arrived. The biggest wonder was that our suitcases also arrived after being transhipped through Heathrow and again at Bangkok. We must say that the experience of travelling with Thai Air was vastly better than recent trips we have made with BA. Better seats, better food and better service all round.

    We arranged that today would be a rest day after our journey, so we will be lounging by the pool before starting our touring tomorrow. The hotel is very good, lots of friendly staff everywhere excellent food and a happy hour in the bar! The room is a little tired but quite adequate.
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  • Day2

    On the road to Mandalay

    January 13, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Sitting in the departure lounge at Heathrow after flying in from Cork this morning, early start, up at 5:00. Now onto our Thai air flight 12 hours to Bangkok then six hour layover before catching our flight to Mandalay. Should be shattered by the time we get there!