Today was our final full day in Lhasa and the crews were making the most of it. In the breakfast hall, many were raving about the spectacular Princess Wenchung Drama, an outdoor Opera they had seen the night before. The show features over 800 performers as well as live animals including yaks, sheep and horses, all set against the backdrop of the mountains.
As a huge outdoor live-action performance, it presents the Chinese and Tibetan history and culture through the story that Princess Wencheng of Tang Dynasty married Tubo King Songtsen Gambo 1,300 years ago.
They’d barely time to sample the delights of the Shangri-La buffet when the coaches arrived to take the crews to the Potala Palace, named after the sacred mountain Potolaka and made up of a thousand rooms housing 200,000 images and covers 130,000sqm.
This site has had variations of the building on it since before 637. The 13-storey building was among the world’s tallest buildings until the 20th century skyscrapers came along. The outer White Palace section has functioned as a seat of government and the Dalai lama’s winter residence, while the inner section, the Red Palace, contain relics, temples and tombs of eight past Dalai Lamas.
Once the sightseeing was done, it was time to start packing bags and getting bags into cars. There was then a briefing from Kim Bannister and Simon Clooney from the advance recce team about what to expect going forward.
Tomorrow we head for Shigatse via Gyantse and mountain passes that will take us over 5000m once again. Over the next ten-days, the Trans-Himalayan Adventure will reach new heights as we journey to 5600m. We will also have three nights of camping this coming week in western Tibet before we descend from the mountains and towards the finish line in Kathmandu.
As we prepare to restart the rally, it is amazing just how much we have seen over the past nine days. Stunning landscapes at every turn, fascinating local wildlife, a wonderful warm welcome from the Chinese and Tibetan people, great driving and all in exceptional company.
Here’s to what this next leg of the adventure brings…