Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bayon and Beyond

After the wedding comes, of course, the honeymoon. A time to sit back and relax after the craziness of the wedding. Or in our case, continued craziness. Sunday morning, the day after the wedding, we headed back to Amsterdam to have one night home to re-pack for...Cambodia and Vietnam! 12 days to see as much as we could, with a short stop in Cambodia followed by our progression south to north Vietnam. It wasn't all that crazy though as we had airport pick-ups the entire trip, which given our post-wedding exhaustion was absolutely wonderful. No stress about getting to and from anywhere, big relief. In each hotel we had a honeymoon welcome. This took the form of rose-petal messages and hearts on our bed, cakes, and flowers. Nice!
One the big bonus was even though it was the rainy season we managed to miss all the rain. What a fluke. It only rained (and by 'rained I mean thundered like we've never seen) in Hoi An twice overnight, then really only drizzled during the whole day on our last day.
Anyway, let me begin at the beginning. First stop, Siem Reap, home of the incredible Angkor Wat and other temples. Cambodia was awesome. I think this was one the highlights for me. As my sister, CC, pointed out, I'm normally not a 'ruins' type of person. Though not sure that's entirely fair, I like ruins, but I find crazy cities equally as fascinating.
We had a guide for 1.5 days and with him we were able to see all the big sites. Vannak, our guide, was very informative and we got a lot more out of the experience having him there explaining things to us. Still in post-wedding exhaustion mode it was great to just be lead around and not to have to do any work. I wouldn't have been capable of it, anyway.
Anyway, the temples were incredible. So many, so huge. We drove past Srah Srang: the royal bathing pond,  then went to our first destination, Bayon, the temples of legendary king Jayavarman VII, or 'J7' as our guide said he's known by. We entered the temple via a bridge flanked by huge statues then into the world on huge four-faced heads.
These images are a selection of a huge wall carving. The scenes depicted normal everyday life to battles. Quite liked the hog here.
It was really hard to edit these photos back to even the huge amount I have here. But there was just a something interesting around every corner. And of course the photos don't do the place any justice at all. but you get the general idea.
Continuing on from Bayon we then went to Preah Khan, a fusion temple of Buddha, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. We climbed up the very steep steps to take in the view of the surrounding forrest. 
 Some text carved into the stone, from a language long lost.

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