Maggie and I arrived at the Trichang Labrang Hotel at around 2pm, and were delighted to find Angela feeling much better after a good rest. We decided to head out together for a decent Tibetan meal. Recommended by Pazu, the owner of Spinn Cafe in Lhasa who also helped us to arrange a 4 wheel drive for our 6-day excursion, we decided to go to a nearby restaurant called “Our Tibetan Restaurant” (咱們的藏餐館). We walked east from our hotel towards the Muslim neighborhood, searched for a while until finally arrived at the old courtyard compound called Bangdacang Compound (邦達倉大院) where the restaurant was located in the courtyard. “Our Tibetan Restaurant” (咱們的藏餐館) offered many options of Tibetan and Chinese dishes and we had a delightful late lunch under a parasol and atmospheric Tibetan flags.
At 3:30pm, we finished our meal and walked out to the Barkhor Street towards Jokhang Monastery (ཇོ་ཁང། / 大昭寺). At the heart of Barkhor old city, the Jokhang is often considered to be the most sacred destination in the entire Tibet. Despite not all chapels were opened in the afternoon, we still wanted to visit the Jokhang before it closed for the day. We entered the monastery through its side door next to the ticket office. Immediately we arrived at a series of courtyards. We followed a designated route around the perimeter of the central courtyard to reach the entrance of the main hall. Similar to prayer halls at other Tibetan monasteries, rows of monk seats occupied the centre of the hall. Small chapels with religious statues flanked three sides of the hall. The main chapel at the centre housed a small statue of the Buddha called Jowo Shakyamuni.
Considered as the most sacred Buddhist image in Tibet, the statue was brought to Tibet from China by Wencheng Princess (文成公主) during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. She came to Tibet to marry Songtsen Gampo, the King of Tibet. To consolidate the foundation of Buddhism in Tibet, Songtsen erected a monastery to house the Jowo Shakyamuni. Known as the Jokhang, the monastery soon became the primary pilgrimage spot for all Tibetan Buddhists. The oldest part of the Jokhang dates back to 652. Since then, the monastery had gone through up and down times, depending on the popularity of Buddhism and political situations. The monastery was damaged in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolutuon, and took eight years to restore during the 1970s. In 2000, Jokhang was inscribed in the World Heritage list as an extension to the Potala.
After the main hall, we walked one level up to the roof terrace, where we could admire the golden ornaments of the architecture. Unfortunately the roof terrace where visitors could enjoy the view of the Potala was closed for renovation. We could only wander around the roof for a little bit before heading back down. Our tour of the monastery was brief but it offered us a decent introduction to Lhasa’s history and Tibetan Buddhism.
Bangdacang Compound (邦達倉大院) was only a few minute walk from our hotel.
“Our Tibetan Restaurant” (咱們的藏餐館) is located in the courtyard of the Bangdacang Compound (邦達倉大院).
We ordered yak meat and pancake.
The mushroom momos (Tibetan dumplings) were good and deserved a longer waiting time.
The forecourt of Jokhang is always busy with pilrims.
Inside Jokhang, the first courtyard beyond the ticket entrance was rather peaceful.
We walked around the inner perimeter of the central courtyard to admire the wall paintings.
It was late in the afternoon with few tourists.
Looking up, we could see parts of the golden ornament on the roof of Jokhang.
At one side of the courtyard, there was a seat reserved for the Dalai Lama.
Beautiful decorations could be seen everywhere in the building.
We walked around the central courtyard to check out the wall paintings.
The wall paintings had undergone extensive restorations in recent years.
Beyond the main hall were living quarters for monks.
After walking around the courtyard, we entered the main prayer hall through its old entrance door. Unfortunate photography was not allowed in the interior.
On the roof terrace, we were overwhelmed by the extensive golden decorations.
A long courtyard near the main hall indicated the start of monk living quarter.
On the roof terrace, the golden roof and decorations were clearly shown.
Details of the golden ornaments on the roof.
After visiting Jokhang, we walked over to the monastery’s forecourt where devoted pilgrims performed all kinds of worshiping rituals.
After Ebisu, our next stop was Higashi-yama Restaurant in Nakameguro (中目黒). In a quiet residential street in Higashi-yama 15 minutes walk from Nakameguro Station, Higashi-yama Restaurant was well hidden from the street. We came across this restaurant from our online research. We were attracted by the minimalist food presentation and the atmospheric interior setting. We reserved a table for lunch through their website two weeks prior to our departure. After the traditional Kaiseki experience at Ueno Park the day before, we were hoping that Higashi-yama would offer us a contemporary interpretation of Japanese cuisine. “A detached house located in Higashi-yama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, away from the clamor of the city, and be a place where people meet and discuss what matters most to them, a place where new communication is born.” According to the description on their website, the story of this tranquil spot in Tokyo’s Higashi-yama where people come and chat and enjoy modern Japanese food all began in 1998. Our experience of Higashi-yama began at a narrow stairway off the street.
A flight of steps led us away from a residential street up to a hidden courtyard.
Well hidden from the street, the entrance courtyard offers a serene buffer between the street and the restaurant. The courtyard served well to decant our souls of hastiness and calm down our hearts (as we were almost late for the booking).
The interior of the restaurant is simple and unpretentious, with traditional Japanese dark timber millwork in a bright and simple setting.
A tall shelf displaying wine and sake anchors one corner of the interior.
Wood is such an important material in Japanese culture, from table, chopsticks to chopstick holders.
The appetizer consisted of eight ingredients fresh to the season.
Both the taste and the beautiful presentation of the food matched with the overall ambience of the restaurant.
One of the main dish we ordered was the grilled snapper.
The other main we chose was the tempura seasonal ingredients.
After the tasty appetizers and main dishes, we were led by the staff downstairs via a beautiful and modern stair.
The water feature by the stairwell seems like a contemporary interpretation of a chōzubachi water basin in front of a zen tea house.
We were led to a comfortable sitting area for dessert.
Mocha pudding and mango ice-cream came went well with hot Japanese tea.
An interesting copper sculpture was mounted on the wall over our head.
Opposite to our sitting area, a staff was preparing tea and chatting with another customer by a high counter.
After dessert, we paid the bill and were led to exit the building through a copper door directly back to the street. Overall, Higashi-yama Restaurant offered us a fine experience, with good food to satisfy our taste-buds and a zen and minimalist environment to sooth our souls.
We took a morning flight back to Lima, stored our big backpacks at the airport and took a taxi to Museo de la Nacion. We came here specifically to see the Yuyanapaq exhibition on the 6th floor. Yuyanapaq means “to remember” in Quechua. It was an exhibition of black and white photographs documenting the Peruvian internal conflict from 1980 to 2000, in which thousands were killed in attacks by Shining Path rebels, government military, and other guerrilla groups. It was a touching experience to learn the recent history of Peru. It was hard to believe that the terror of bombings could happen pretty much anywhere in this country only a decade ago.
After some heavy realization of Peru’s recent past, we decided it was time for a good seafood lunch for this very last day of our trip. We followed the guidebook’s recommendation and headed to El Veridico de Fidel, which according to the guidebook, was a place of pilgrimage in terms of Peruvian seafood. Though the book forewarned that the restaurant’s neighborhood could be a little chaotic and rough. As a result we decided to take a taxi. El Veridico de Fidel was truly a seafood heaven. It was fully packed. We spent a long time looking at the menu. At last, we ordered a full table of seafood and a jar of chicha, a type of fermented corn beverage. The seafood dishes included leche de tigre (ceviche broth with shrimp, scallop, raw fish, octopus, and sea urchin), bi-colour tiradito (Japanese style ceviche without onions), ceviche platter (scallop, raw fish, whelks, octopus, and sea urchin), deep-fried seafood platter, baked scallops with cheese on top, and a red snapper sudado. The fish was fresh, and the soup very tasty.
After the heavenly meal, we taxied to the Plaza de Armas. We causally strolled around the plaza to appreciate the surrounding architecture. We headed to the main post office to send out some postcards. There was only a tiny door from the arcade into the post office. We tried to buy some collection stamps but the staff refused to sell as they were closing. After the post office, we walked around the area, stopped by a bakery for drinks, and then headed to Plaza San Martin. At Plaza San Martin, we tried to visit El Bolivarcito for its legendary pisco sour but because of the regional election the next day, they were not allowed to sell alcohol.
We ended up stopping at a nearby KFC, before taking a taxi back to Lima’s airport. One of our friends and us left Lima for New York and then Toronto that very night, while our other friend stayed at a hostel near the airport for another night before his flight back to Chicago the next morning. That was it. Uncounted fond memories of Peru: Andes Mountains, Inca history, colourful cultures, fantastic seafood, friendly people, funny llamas, mighty condors and sacred Titicaca. After these magnificent Peruvian experiences, our interest on South America grew as time went on, until the day came when we were determined to explore this magical continent once again in 2013, from the Brazilian Pantanal to Bolivian Altiplano, and from the bustling Rio and Buenos Aires to windswept Patagonia.
The Museo de la Nacion in Lima.
The interior atrium at Museo de la Nacion, Lima.
Back window of taxi, on our way to El Veridico de Fidel.
Leche de tigre (ceviche broth) with shrimp, scallop, raw fish, octopus, and sea urchin.
(Left) ceviche platter, which included a scallop, raw fish, whelks, octopus, and sea urchin. (Right) baked scallops with cheese on top.
(Left) deep-fried seafood platter. (Right) red snapper sudado.
After we finished, one of the staff came to pose for me to take a photo. His bowl of fish and crab soup seemed very tempting to us as well.
The Plaza de Armas with buildings, cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, etc.
Plaza de Armas, with buildings, cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, etc.
Interesting balcony at President’s Palace.
Arcade at the main post office.
Tourist horse carriage at Plaza de Armas, Lima.
A ornamental church along our way to Plaza San Martin.
Late afternoon at Plaza San Martin, Lima.
KFC at Plaza San Martin where we spent the last hour in Lima, Peru.
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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010
1. Peru Trip 2010
2. Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3. Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4. Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5. Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6. Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru
Before nightfall we finally reached Tsugizakura, a small, peaceful village overlooking the Kii Mountains. We were grateful to be welcomed by the Yuba family of Minshuku Tsugizakura. Mr. Yuba, the owner of the bed and breakfast, was a professional chef. Now he and his family take care of the three-room minshuku, offering hikers of the Kumano Kodo a comfortable place to stay the night and delicious meals to fill the belly after a long day’s walk. After 10 hours of walking, we were so grateful to soak in a traditional hot bath at the minshuku and filled up our belly with fantastic homemade kaiseki dinner. Tsugizakura is a peaceful village famous for its traditional oji (shrine) and Nonaka-no-Shimizu spring (renowned for its spring water) We were greeted with welcoming snacks: red bean cake with green tea powder and an apple. After a traditional Japanese hot bath, Mr. Yuba prepared us a delicious kaiseki dinner made up of many small dishes. Every dish was prepared with a combination of local and seasonal ingredients. What they were exactly, we know not but they were delicious.
Crab meat on deep fried tofu ball. Marinated chicken (left) and vegetable in curry sauce (right). The grilled kebabs were cooked on the table. Each of us had a little pot in front of us. We didn’t know what’s inside but Mrs Yuba told us not to open to lid until a later time. Flavored steam rice. By the time we opened the pot the rice was just ready. Orange was in season in the area. The sweetened red beans gave a Japanese touch to the orange sorbet desert. The next morning, the Yuba family prepared another splendid meal for us. Morning sunlight from the mountains shone into the dining room where breakfast was served. Lunchboxes prepared by Minshuku Tsugizakura which we would carry along. Farewell to the Yuba family. Thanks for your hospitality. On the slope above Tsugizakura, we continued our Kumano Kodo journey heading northeast towards Hongu Taisha.
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Read other posts on 2015 Kansai…
Day 1.0 – Kansai Japan 2015
Day 1.1 – Hanami, Mount Yoshino
Day 1.2 – Feast under the Shades of Sakura, Mount Yoshiko
Day 2 – A Day in Kobe
Day 3 – A Day in Central Osaka
Day 4 – Tanabe – Prelude of the Kumano Kodo
Day 5.1 – Takijiri to Takahara, Kumano Kodo
Day 5.2 – Takahara to Tsugizakura , Kumano Kodo
Day 5.3 – Minshuku Tsugizakura, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.1 – Tsugizakura to Mikoshi-Toge Pass, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.2 – Mikoshi-Toge Pass to Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 6.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha to Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.1 – Ryokan Adumaya, Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.2 – Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.3 – Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 7.4 – Wataze Onsen, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.1 – Kumano Nachi Taisha, Kumano Kodo
Day 8.2 – Kii Katsuura, Kumano Kodo
Day 9 – Church of Light, Osaka
A visit to Valparaiso would not be completed without having a seafood meal. We went to Marisqueria Los Portenos II for an authentic Chilean seafood meal, including boiled clam meat with chopped onions and parsley,crabmeat salad and caldillo de congrio.
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Read other posts on Santiago and Valparaiso in 2013 South America:
Day 83.1 – Mercado Central, Santiago
Day 83.2 – Museums & Cultural Centre, Santiago
Day 84.1 – Centro Cultural Palacio la Moneda, Santiago
Day 84.2 – Arrival, Cerro Artilleria, Valparaiso
Day 85.1 – Ascensores, Valparaiso
Day 85.2 – Paella Lunch, Valparaiso
Day 85.3 – Cerros Alegre and Concepcion, Valparaiso
Day 86.1 – Hill of Colours, Valparaiso
Day 86.2 – Trolleybuses, Valparaiso
Day 86.3 – Casa Museo la Sebastiana, Valparaiso
Day 86.4 – Seafood, Valparaiso
Day 87 – New Year’s Fireworks, Valparaiso