Lhasa a Gyantse, Tibet

Gyantse, through the Heights of Tibet

Ice Spirituality
The Dzong of Tibet
Gyantse women
Nyenchen Thangla Mountains
Stupa that blesses the glacier
Residents of Gyantse
The Manla Reservoir
The Great Monastery
Gyantse Tibetan
blue ice river
Providential Terraces
Tibetan Mastiff
Floors of Kumbum
View over Gyantse
Nyenchen Thangla peak
Lake Yamdrok
Great Kumbum Temple
village of yamdrok
The final target is the Tibetan Everest Base Camp. On this first route, starting from Lhasa, we pass by the sacred lake of Yamdrok (4.441m) and the glacier of the Karo gorge (5.020m). In Gyantse, we surrender to the Tibetan-Buddhist splendor of the old citadel.

Three days after the flight from Chengdu to Lhasa, even having slept a measly four hours, we finally woke up free of symptoms of Altitude Sickness.

It's seven in the morning, the time breakfast at the Yak Cool Hotel is supposed to start. The only employee present gives us something not “cool”. The cook had been late, it would only be possible after eight.

Instead of waiting, we left immediately, in the new jeep assigned to the trip. We stopped, still in Lhasa, in a house of momos (Tibetan dumplings). Freshly made, still steaming, the delicacy guaranteed us the necessary energy for the exhausting journey that would follow.

We leave for the south. We cross the Liuwu Bridge and the Lhasa River which lends its name to the Tibetan capital. The river yields to another, the Yarlung Zangbo. Points to the Himalayan range.

We follow it and its intricacies for almost 200km and around six hours. In that distance and time, we ascended almost a thousand meters.

We abandoned him in Gangbacun. Many twists and turns later, we arrive at Zhamalongcun.

Yamdrok: One of the Great Roof Lakes of the World

Instead of a river, we're left with a hyperbolic lake ahead.

Stretching over 72km, Yamdrok is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet.

On a dry and sunny day, as is the case with almost everyone in these corners of Asia's roof, from the top of the Gampa gorge (4790m), the lake glows in the shade of turquoise blue that its Tibetan name translates.

It is surrounded by arid slopes, of a yellowish brown that contrasts with the blue of the sky and the slightly darker blue of the lake.

From the privileged viewpoint of Gampa, the colors don't stop there.

Sacred as it is, the lake warrants the presence of long multicolored ribbons of Tibetan-Buddhist flags. ok of prayer.

Passing believers ensure its renewal.

They place them, there, on a prominent and windy top.

It is up to the wind to wave the flags in such a way as to bless and bring good fortune to all sentient beings.

Starting with the inhabitants of the villages that we glimpse on the other side, above terraces that, when winter ends, will generate providential crops.

At greater distances, whatever the season, imposing snowy peaks emerge.

These are the peaks of the Nyenchen Thangla mountain range.

We had a long way to go.

Lobsang, the Tibetan who guides us, decrees the end of contemplation and photographs, due to lunch, which was late.

We stopped in Nagarse, at a restaurant somewhat removed from the road.

A black Tibetan mastiff is watching us, basking in the sun, adorned with a red crown that someone had placed on it as a collar.

After the meal, we continued west.

The Karo Gorge Slope Glacier

After another hour of journey, already above 5000 meters, we are surprised by the sight of a glacier perched on a rocky slope.

It was the end of one of the tongues of an ice course that arrived there from the northern slopes of Mount Noijin Kangsang (7191m), one of the four sacred mountains of Tibet.

We leave the jeep. We walked over slippery gravel.

Even a stupa from which several fluttering tentacles of prayer flags extended.

At that altitude, each stride we completed felt like a step on the moon. Melted and out of breath, we arrived at the base of the stupa.

We were impressed by the deep cracks and other whimsical cuts of the ice river. In the middle of winter, the probability of seeing the collapse of its ablation wall was small.

Accordingly, under persistent pressure from Lobsang, we resumed our journey. Until Gyantse, other phenomena and wonders would justify stops.

On the edge of a village called Shagancun, the road progresses over jagged slopes and above a new lake, at intervals, by headlands that reveal an unexpected icy panorama.

The Great Ice Reservoir of Manla

We advanced along the Manla Reservoir, known as the first dam in Tibet, with three distinct arms, fed by the Chu River.

Located at a “mere” 4200 meters of altitude, but with its natural flow stopped, the reservoir preserved an ice cover that was largely smooth, with a glassy and reflective look.

We hope that the route will ascend again to ideal panoramic heights. In one of them, with one of the arms of the dam exposed and the road zigzagging down below, we complained to Lobsang, our rights as passengers and customers.

Lobsang agrees to stop. We follow the path of a red truck, from far away, in our direction.

When the car passes us in an obvious effort, we return to the jeep's grip and to the main destination of the afternoon, the city of Gyantse.

A Depressed Guide to Chinese Oppression

In this section, Lobsang and the driver again vent about the frustration in which they (and the Tibetans) lived due to the already long Chinese occupation.

And the destruction of the Tibetan culture and ethnicity that Beijing was rushing to replace with the Han ethnicity, the predominant one in China.

They felt doubly oppressed because they were forced to work for Chinese agencies and bosses.

China only allowed visits to Tibet if booked through Chinese agencies. We ourselves had no choice.

The problem was compounded, however, when Lobsang's frustration and depression made him, by default, shirk his responsibility to provide us with a decent trip through Tibet.

Whenever possible, Lobsang delayed morning departures. Throughout the day, he shortened the time in each place, thinking only of prolonging contact with other guides he knew, in villages that were not even on the initial itinerary.

Gyantse: a Majestic Fortress City

We arrived at Gyantse. The guide goes back to trying one of his subterfuges. A meaningless imposition that we only had twenty minutes to peek, after which we would move on.

Aware that it wasn't what was on the program, ecstatic with the monumental beauty of the city, we activated our own chronometer.

The Swede Jacob and the American Ryan who accompanied us noticed and agreed. Lobsang is forced to wait.

We were facing one of the most relevant historical cities in Tibet. The secular Gyantse deserved all the time and then some.

In order not to waste it, we almost ran from one side to the other, also moved by the disbelief of the scenery.

Gyantse arose in the heart of the Nyang Chu valley, on the ancient Chumbi trade routes that brought Tibetan wool to the kingdoms of Sikkim, Bhutan and parts of present-day India.

Gyantse: from Feudal Origins to the Inhabited City-Museum of Today

It was built during the XNUMXth century by Pelden Sangpo, a monarch of the region who sought to consolidate the fief that served him.

In 1390, the importance of Gyantse was already such that it justified the construction of the fortress (jong) that resists there.

We see it hovering, in a reddish hue, like an indelible mirage, on the crest of a sharp, rocky hill, surrounded by a 3km long wall.

This wall defends the monastery of Palcho and its incredible kumbum, a school structure sakya of Tibetan Buddhism.

It has six floors and 77 stacked chapels that contain over ten thousand murals.

For a long time, Gyantse was the third largest city in Tibet after Lhasa and Shigatse.

The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 robbed Gyantse of its leading role.

The Chinese closed the old trade routes, to the detriment of Lhasa. During Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, they looted the monastery, temple kumbum and even the fort.

After the 1959 Tibetan uprising, around four hundred monks and other religious were imprisoned in the monastery.

Most of the local craftsmen were forced to flee the city. Even so, Gyantse's population later recovered from eight thousand to around twenty thousand inhabitants.

Unlike other settlements which, due to the influx of Chinese and the economic and cultural interference of Beijing, outnumbered it, Gyantse remains mainly Tibetan.

Its people reactivated part of the religious function of the monastery and temples.

They continue to walk the streets with their hairstyles and in their traditional costumes.

Once prodigious, the local multi-ethnic market, once visited by Nepalese, Bhutanese and even Muslims from Ladak and elsewhere, no longer makes sense.

The Unlikely Visit of the Four Western Outsiders

Gyantse subsists, above all, as a large inhabited museum city with a growing tourist demand.

At the height of winter, however, it would be just the four of us and a few other wild cats, the foreigners visiting Tibet.

The Tibetans watched them with delight and surprise.

Astonishment that the Swede Jacob, a man of almost two meters in height, redoubled.

We could have spent the whole week discovering Gyantse. Nearly three hours later, Lobsang had had enough. He came to meet us.

He complained about his manipulation of the trip.

About eight in the evening, we entered Shigatse.

Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

In few places in the world a dialect is used as vehemently as in the monastery of Sera. There, hundreds of monks, in Tibetan, engage in intense and raucous debates about the teachings of the Buddha.
Bhaktapur, Nepal

The Nepalese Masks of Life

The Newar Indigenous People of the Kathmandu Valley attach great importance to the Hindu and Buddhist religiosity that unites them with each other and with the Earth. Accordingly, he blesses their rites of passage with newar dances of men masked as deities. Even if repeated long ago from birth to reincarnation, these ancestral dances do not elude modernity and begin to see an end.
Lhasa, Tibet

When Buddhism Tires of Meditation

It is not only with silence and spiritual retreat that one seeks Nirvana. At the Sera Monastery, the young monks perfect their Buddhist knowledge with lively dialectical confrontations and crackling clapping of hands.
Dali, China

The Surrealist China of Dali

Embedded in a magical lakeside setting, the ancient capital of the Bai people has remained, until some time ago, a refuge for the backpacker community of travelers. The social and economic changes of China they fomented the invasion of Chinese to discover the southwest corner of the nation.
Bingling Yes, China

The Canyon of a Thousand Buddhas

For more than a millennium and at least seven dynasties, Chinese devotees have extolled their religious belief with the legacy of sculpture in a remote strait of the Yellow River. If you disembark in the Canyon of Thousand Buddhas, you may not find all the sculptures, but you will find a stunning Buddhist shrine.
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Huang Shan, China

Huang Shan: The Yellow Mountains of the Floating Peaks

The granitic peaks of the floating yellow mountains of Huang Shan, from which acrobat pines sprout, appear in artistic illustrations from China without count. The real scenery, in addition to being remote, remains hidden above the clouds for over 200 days.
Dunhuang, China

An Oasis in the China of the Sands

Thousands of kilometers west of Beijing, the Great Wall has its western end and the China and other. An unexpected splash of vegetable green breaks up the arid expanse all around. Announces Dunhuang, formerly crucial outpost on the Silk Road, today an intriguing city at the base of Asia's largest sand dunes.
Dali, China

Chinese Style Flash Mob

The time is set and the place is known. When the music starts playing, a crowd follows the choreography harmoniously until time runs out and everyone returns to their lives.
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Annapurna Circuit: 13th - High camp a Thorong La to Muktinath, Nepal

At the height of the Annapurnas Circuit

At 5416m of altitude, the Thorong La Gorge is the great challenge and the main cause of anxiety on the itinerary. After having killed 2014 climbers in October 29, crossing it safely generates a relief worthy of double celebration.
Lijiang, China

A Gray City but Little

Seen from afar, its vast houses are dreary, but Lijiang's centuries-old sidewalks and canals are more folkloric than ever. This city once shone as the grandiose capital of the Naxi people. Today, floods of Chinese visitors who fight for the quasi-theme park it have become take it by storm.
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Beijing, China

The Heart of the Great Dragon

It is the incoherent historic center of Maoist-Communist ideology and almost all Chinese aspire to visit it, but Tianamen Square will always be remembered as a macabre epitaph of the nation's aspirations.
Badaling, China

The Sino Invasion of the Great Wall of China

With the arrival of the hot days, hordes of Han visitors take over the Great Wall of China, the largest man-made structure. They go back to the era of imperial dynasties and celebrate the nation's newfound prominence.
Guilin, China

The Gateway to the Chinese Stone Kingdom

The immensity of jagged limestone hills around it is so majestic that the authorities of Beijing they print it on the back of the 20-yuan notes. Those who explore it almost always pass through Guilin. And even if this city in the province of Guangxi clashes with the exuberant nature around it, we also found its charms.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Architecture & Design

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Ceremonies and Festivities
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Jerusalem God, Israel, Golden City
Jerusalem, Israel

Closer to God

Three thousand years of history as mystical as it is troubled come to life in Jerusalem. Worshiped by Christians, Jews and Muslims, this city radiates controversy but attracts believers from all over the world.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Easter Seurassari, Helsinki, Finland, Marita Nordman
Helsinki, Finland

The Pagan Passover of Seurasaari

In Helsinki, Holy Saturday is also celebrated in a Gentile way. Hundreds of families gather on an offshore island, around lit fires to chase away evil spirits, witches and trolls
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

If the almost antipode tazzie is already a australian world apart, what about its inhospitable western region. Between Devonport and Strahan, dense forests, elusive rivers and a rugged coastline beaten by an almost Antarctic Indian ocean generate enigma and respect.
shadow of success
Champoton, Mexico

Rodeo Under Sombreros

Champoton, in Campeche, hosts a fair honored by the Virgén de La Concepción. O rodeo Mexican under local sombreros reveals the elegance and skill of the region's cowboys.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
A Lost and Found City
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.
Street Scene, Guadeloupe, Caribbean, Butterfly Effect, French Antilles
Guadalupe, French Antilles

Guadeloupe: a Delicious Caribbean, in a Counter Butterfly-Effect

Guadeloupe is shaped like a moth. A trip around this Antille is enough to understand why the population is governed by the motto Pas Ni Problem and raises the minimum of waves, despite the many setbacks.
Oulu Finland, Passage of Time
Winter White
Oulu, Finland

Oulu: an Ode to Winter

Located high in the northeast of the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is one of Finland's oldest cities and its northern capital. A mere 220km from the Arctic Circle, even in the coldest months it offers a prodigious outdoor life.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
Iguana in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Yucatan, Mexico

The Sidereal Murphy's Law That Doomed the Dinosaurs

Scientists studying the crater caused by a meteorite impact 66 million years ago have come to a sweeping conclusion: it happened exactly over a section of the 13% of the Earth's surface susceptible to such devastation. It is a threshold zone on the Mexican Yucatan peninsula that a whim of the evolution of species allowed us to visit.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Natural Parks
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
Mirador de La Peña, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain
UNESCO World Heritage
El Hierro, Canary Islands

The Volcanic Rim of the Canaries and the Old World

Until Columbus arrived in the Americas, El Hierro was seen as the threshold of the known world and, for a time, the Meridian that delimited it. Half a millennium later, the last western island of the Canaries is teeming with exuberant volcanism.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Daytona Beach Portico, most famous beach of the year, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida, United States

The so-called World's Most Famous Beach

If its notoriety comes mainly from NASCAR races, in Daytona Beach, we find a peculiar seaside resort and a vast and compact beach that, in times past, was used for car speed tests.
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Erika Mother

The Philippine Road Lords

With the end of World War II, the Filipinos transformed thousands of abandoned American jeeps and created the national transportation system. Today, the exuberant jeepneys are for the curves.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Pisteiro San in action at Torra Conservancy, Namibia
Palmwag, Namíbia

In Search of Rhinos

We set off from the heart of the oasis generated by the Uniab River, home to the largest number of black rhinos in southwest Africa. In the footsteps of a bushman tracker, we follow a stealthy specimen, dazzled by a setting with a Martian feel.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.