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Gardens and Monkeys

Day 7

Today was mostly relaxing. We started the morning at a farmer’s market, which was notable for the high amount of expats it attracts. After a bit of shopping we wandered down to the Garden of Dreams.

The Garden of Dreams is not something you would expect to find in Kathmandu. It’s another neo-classical design, built around the same time as the part of the palace in Durbar Square. There are white pavilions and perfectly manicured lawns. The flora is appropriate for the Nepalese climate but the design is very European. It’s a nice change from the bustle of the city outside. I think I got a little too excited about the chipmunks, but they were very cute and you don’t see them in Australia.

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Later that afternoon Paddy, one of our local guides, took part of the group to Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple. It’s one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world. It was thought to have been built in the third century. Accroding to legend, Kathmandu Valley used to be a huge lake. A holy man visited and saw a lotus flower in the middle. He drained the lake, and the lotus flower became the temple on top of a mountain. The holy man grew out his hair and the lice in it became monkeys. The monkeys are everywhere, and cannot be touched because they are holy. However, they don’t jump on people. They are still kinda scary, especially because they know they own the place.

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However, before you can see the monkeys, or the temple, or the amazing views, you have to climb up some stairs. These aren’t any old stairs. These are terrifying, probably-longer-than-a-skyscraper, definitely-steeper-than-the-Parliament-Station-escalator stairs. There is literally one step for every day of the year. The pictures don’t do them justice, particularly because I struggled to get all the steps in one photo.

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However, once we made it up those stairs, all of us huffing and puffing, the views were spectacular. Look:


Enough adventures for one day. Tomorrow, we’re going to the jungle.


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