After a really bad night for both of us, I took a pill for my headache and we went in search of breakfast. This turned out to be in another building of the hotel and offered interesting choices. I tried these steamed breads filled with meat or cabbage (very good) while Sylvia nursed her stomach with tea and toast. Right on time our guide Dhundup picked us up and we drove to the highlight of the day, the Potala Palace. There were lots of pilgrims that day since it was a two-day religious festival (don’t know what for). These out of townies circled the Potala palace all the while saying a mantra and using their prayers mills.
Dhundup had our visa with him and we had to show the passports to enter. It really was a very different world.
We made the long trek up to the palace with a couple of breaks. The air here was thin and it took a while to get used to it.
The red part of the palace was the older part from the 7th century and the religious part while the white buildings were from the 17th century and were political buildings. Nowadays the palace is of course some kind of museum and most of the 2000 rooms are closed to the public.
I have no pictures from the inside since in most palaces and monasteries it was forbidden and if allowed you had to pay for it. But since the money goes right away to the Chinese government and not the monastery I was never willing to pay.
Lunch stop was at the Lhasa Kitchen where we had soup and Momos (Sylvia) and soup and a flat bread stuffed with yak meat.
From there we went to the Jokhang Temple right in the city center (and only across the street from the restaurant). It was interesting to see how far this religious fervor went. People were buying thermos cans of liquid butter to fill up the lamps inside.
After the monastery with walked through the Barkhor Street and looked at some original Tibetan buildings. All of them had been converted to shops but at least we could see the typical style.
From there we made our way to a Tibetan tea house and the local sweet tea. Some kind of sugared black tea with yak milk. Super delicious, the tea house meanwhile was so dirty that in Europe I wouldn’t put one foot in it, while here we came to like it. Also you might note the ashtray on the table, smoking was allowed everywhere. We got dropped off at the hotel and that was it for us. We never made it outside again that first day, being exhausted from the altitude and all the new impressions.