Paro, and taming the tiger
We have a couple days in Paro to conclude our Bhutan visit. We awoke to a beautiful mist over the valley.
The first day our new guide took Pem us to the Paro dzong and the museum. Lots more tourists on the western end of the country. But the dzong was lovely and quiet, and the museum was actually really excellent. It recapped the country for us in a succinct fashion that was interesting and helpful. No pictures allowed, tho?
In the afternoon she took us to Tsheringma Lhakhang, sometimes called the baby tigers nest. As we went up the long walk she said she grew up in the house right next to where we were walking. She offered us to visit, so we did. It was a very simple house, with a big prayer room and small kitchen and living areas; she had lost her mother two years previous so only her sister and father lived there. We chatted with them for a bit.
Back to the hotel for some archery lessons. Lill was the only one to hit the target!
The next morning was the big (BIG) hike up to the magnificent temple, Paro Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest - constructed in 1692. It is so named as it was the place where the Guru Rinpoche was carried from Tibet to this location on the back of a tigress.
The hike is challenging. We left about 8am and planned to return around 3 ish. It was quite cool but we knew we had lots of calories to burn on the 1,700’ vertical hike.
So the hike up was a push for the four miles. But scenery was breathtaking and time went by quickly.
The temple was destroyed multiple times by fire, the most recent 1999. They use butter lamps (exactly as named) for prayer. Not so safe as it turns out. I cannot imagine the (re-)building process - getting all the raw materials up here, and putting it all together.
On the way down pieces of the giant frozen waterfall started to break off and came close!
It really was one of the most amazing things I’ve have ever seen.
We completed the trip in record time (our guide was impressed - but then again she is a self proclaimed “mountain girl”, so I’m not sure if she wasn’t just blowing some smoke) and were treated to the best meal of the trip at a woman’s home. The best momo’s EVER. Great reward for our hard work.
Back at the hotel we had a bit of a cooking class...yum chilli-cheese!...
...followed by a hot stone bath (I’m not a huge fan of hot tubs but I put up with this one, perfect for achy legs). Then we had a surprise dinner, with the owner of the travel agency (Swallowtail) and her partner joining us for a rousing last night. One of the other guests at the hotel was celebrating an anniversary and the staff made them a cake.
Our original guide Yeshi had made it back from the east and surprised us too, and he and some of the guides played music and sang - they were actually really good! Tried to get Gage to join in on the ukulele but he wasn’t interested, alas.
It was a great last full day.
The next morning Pem took us to a dzong they are rebuilding - it is unbelievable the amount of manual labor used.
Next stop: Bangkok
Time in Bhutan: 10 days/9 nights