Thailand: Palace, Temple, Saturday Market

We hired a driver today to take us to the King's winter palace (the royals were not there so it was open for tourists) and then to the temple on the side of the mountain.

The palace grounds were beautiful and just filled with flowers. Anna was thrilled to find out that the princess has her own house on the grounds. We saw the guest house and imagined how fun it would be to stay there. Then we continued on to the palace itself and it was under repair! Totally blocked off with nothing to see. The buildings themselves were not as "grand" as I expected them to be (I think Anna was thoroughly disappointed, too--I need to get that kid to Versailles, I suppose!). But, the grounds were gorgeous and the weather was really cool today (the kids were glad they brought their sweaters along and I wished I had!).

After the palace we headed to the temple. This temple was really large and I had read in my Lonely Planet guidebook that a white elephant carried a relic on its back and then the built the temple where the elephant collapsed and died after wandering for quite a time with the relic (this was the intent--to let the elephant decide where the temple was to be built). I'm probably not re-telling the story completely or even well, but I think that was the basic idea. We had to take a tram up from the bottom of the hill to the actual temple (it was just an elevator that went up the side of the mountain at an angle... it wasn't really that far up so I'm not sure whey they didn't just put some stairs in but I think Henry was glad for the elevator/tram).

The temple had little bells hung on the edge of the roofline and I spotted them in the little shop so we bought one and wrote our names on it and Craig hung it on a nail. I don't know how often they take the bells down and re-sell them, and I also don't know what we were supposed to write on it but I know that it is a way for the temple to make some money to keep up with repairs and whatnot. This was definitely the most impressive of the temples we went to, but also the most busy.

After the temple, we went back into town to get one more cup of that amazing coffee we had earlier in the week and to have some lunch. Craig took the kids back to swim in the hotel pool while I got to do some more shopping. I regret that we didn't get any souvenirs to send back home to family but I am always torn on this subject. I don't want to send people stuff that they don't actually want/won't use/will clutter their home... I think I need to start a new habit of buying postcards and sending those to people. I'll start that on the next trip, I guess!

January 2013

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