Our first destination in Inwa was the Bagaya monastery, built completely out of teak-wood.
It stretches to a height of almost 18 meters, with a refined design and beautiful carvings that runs through the wood. It function as an active school and like any other monasteries in Burma you are required to remove your shoes upon entry.Usually it's not a problem, but in this case the sun tends to heat the wood, and every step can scorch your feet. So moving between different parts of the monastery was a bit tricky and required some jumping and runnind... It is defiantly worth it though: Bagaya Kyaung Monestray was probably built in the 18th century and is still an amazing building.
We continued with our bicycles on the roads of Inwa. Passing rice farms and coriander fields, it was still very hot and the sun burned our skin. From time to time we saw some horse carts crossing next to us, and the admiring glances of older tourists gave us some motivation to continue paddling.
The Museum of Civilization (Musée de la civilization) downtown is a wonderful destination for all the family. We enjoyed the exhibitions and the artifacts on display. In the arched basement you can try on clothes from the Colonial period.
Haut-Kœnigsbourg dates back at least to the 12th century, and originally belonged to the Hohenstaufen family. It was attacked and burned in 1462, and was rebuilt 17 years later, and in the 16th century became the property of Maximilian the first, The Holy Roman Emperor. It was burnt again during the Thirty Years' War, and was left unused until the end of the 19th century, when it was given to the German emperor Wilhelm the second by the city of Sélestat . It was restored in the beginning of the 20th century, and was inaugurated in 1908 in the presence of the Emperor. In 1993 it was declared as a national historic site by France.
The Incas were the last highly advanced culture in a series of ancient Peruvian civilizations. They arose in the 13th century in the Cusco region, and for the following 200 years their expansion was limited and slow.
The central coast of Peru and the area of Lima was incorporated into the Empire between 1460 and 1470. While the Incas usually repressed conquered tribes erasing their culture and tradition, in the Lima region it seems they partly diverged from their norm. They imposed a political and administrative reorganization, but allowed most "old" rulers to retain their political and administrative powers.
The Incas established Vilcashuamán as an administrative center after they conquered the Chancas and the Pocras. Vilcashuamán was home to 40,000 people, and city was located around a large plaza where ceremonies involving sacrifices were performed. Around the plaza were the city's two most important buildings - the Sun Temple (Templo del Sol) and the Ushnu, which remain to this day.
It is believed that the city had the shape of a falcon, the Ushnu was located in the head. "Vilcashuamán" in Quechua is "Sacred Hawk".
The Venetians, during the 13th century, bought Crete from the Marquis of Montferrat, Who led the Fourth Crusade, which ended with the fall of Constantinople. But after a short time the army of Genoa, with the help of local Cretans, conquered Chania and took control of the city. It took the Venetians 20 years to get the city back, and after that episode they ruled the city with a tighter feast. The Venetian harbor was built between 1320 and 1356, and was used for commerce and to secure the control of the Sea.
Modern statues (Ernst Barlach amongt others) stand in front of the 14th century facade of this church-museum. A famous paint of Tintoretto stands immediately on your right in the main entrance. This famous statue of the Knight on the Dragon stands in front of the museum:
The next day we woke up, drank some coffee, ate some good pancakes at Dom Mucho, and went to visit the Palenque archaeological site. The arrival is by a shuttle from the El Panchan crossroad and should cost 10 pesos (if you arrive from Palenque it should be 20; we also paid 20 but it shouldn't be that way).
Entrance fee is 27 pesos for getting to the reservation and another 57 pesos for the ticket into the sight.
This place is amazing. We did Chichen Itza a week before and were very disappointed, mainly because of the guides. So here we didn't take any guides. The ruins in the entrance are very impressive and you can climb them (unlike in Chichen Itza). But the peak of the day was the tour inside the jungle. You get into the jungle and see the Mayan remains in the nature, amazing rivers, wild landscape, and the whole time you hear the sounds of the monkeys. A bit stressful in the beginning but it's crazy!
To sum it up - don't miss this sight.
Main attraction: Hampton Court Gardens and Palace, The Thames, Kingston-on-Thames, Bushy Park, Diana Fountain. Circular route.
From: Hampton Court train station.
Back: Hampton Court train station.
Walking Distance: Approx. 12 km.
Getting to Hampton Court:
Catch a train from Waterloo to Hampton Court (zone 6). It takes about half an hour from Waterloo. Buy a return ticket.
For a picturesque trip go by river. Take a boat for three and a half hours from Westminster, but you can cut down on that by taking the tube to Richmond and catching the boat there. Your Travelcard will give you a 33% discount on the river trip.
Lunch: The visit in Hampton Court will consume half a day. There is a restaurant in Hampton Court. It is quite pricey and the portions are not so generous. I recommend delaying your main meal until you arrive to Kingston.
Opening times of Hampton Court Gardens & Palace: Summer: 10.00-17.00, winter: 10.00- 16.30.
Adult Ticket £16.00. You can purchase a ticket for the Gardens only. Remember: Hampton Court is included in the 2 for 1 attraction scheme for the Travelcard holders. For touring the gardens - the site's map (included with your ticket) is very helpful.
Duration and orientation: Allow 4-5 hours for the Hampton Court Gardens and Palace. You exit from the Hampton Court gardens to the Thames river from a side gate (100 metres from the main entrance). No need for detailed instructions until you arrive to Kingston. You just follow the tarmac path along the river from Hampton Court to Kingston. From there I'll supply detailed road-map... The main attraction is Hampton Court. The Bushy Park is very athmospheric and looks more African than European... Do not expect a lot of visitors there. The Diana Fountain is impressive and grandiose.
Main entrance to Hampton Court:
20th Century Gardens:
Carriage rides (in the summer):
Exit to the Thames from (closed) gates of the Knot Gardens:
The Knot Garden:
"The Great Vine":
The Privy Garden:
The Lower Orangery Garden:
The Pond Gardens:
Hampton Court Palace - the Clock Court:
Wiliam III Apartments:
Queen Caroline's Bedchamber:
The Great Hall:
Henry Viii, Jane Seymour (his 3rd wife) and their son Edward VI:
Queen's Public Room:
Queen caroline Oratory Room:
Great Fountain and Gardens from the Palace:
Ann Boleyn's Gateway:
The walk from Hampton Court Bridge (or, better, exit gate of the Palace park) to Kingston Bridge lasts for 2 hours, approx 6 km.). This delightful stretch of river offers the perfect opportunity for a relaxing walk as the gentle path meanders alongside the Thames with no bypasses. You will pass on your way: Ditton and Surbitton (on the opposite bank).
Hampton Court Walseley Gate - from the Thames Path:
The Thames - not far from Hampton Court Bridge:
Houses on the Thames bank - between hampton Court and Ditton:
Just before the Kingston Bridge you get off from the Thames Path and turn left. Crossing the bustling road and passing through Kingston High Street - head to the main road in this area of Kingston: Hampton Wick. Walk along bustling Hampton Wick road for 1.5 km and note on your left some interesting houses dating from the 19th century:
Follow the Hampton Wick road to the left and turn left to Vicrage Rd. (signposting to Teddington). The road bears left and, immediately on your right, there is a black metal gate to enter Bushy Park.
Please have a look at the local map on your right - immediately in the entrance gate. You take the Cobbler Walk. Walk along this tarmac path (approx. 2 km.) until you arrive to an asphalted road - the Chestnut Avenue.
Bushy Park - Cobbler Walk:
Bushy Park - Chestnut Avenue leading to Hampton Court. A grand approach, designed by Wren, to the planned northern facade of Hampton Court. Its main attraction is the imposing Diana Fountain:
Arriving to Hampton Court grounds make your way again to the main entrance. The afternoon sun lights the Palace, the Gardens and the Thames in a charming colour: