Monday, December 20, 2010

The Temples of Angkor

I realize my first day account of Angkor Wat is a bit depressing. Sorry about that.
Speaking with/seeing (via Skype) my family celebrating Christmas the other day rejuvenated my adventurous spirit and I was ready to see the rest of the Temples.  

Onward and Wat-ward. 

First stop: Ta Prohm temple. I know it's difficult to see the picture, the stupid sunshine was shining so darn bright I couldn't get a good photo. This massive tree is growing out of the temple. It has, over time, merged with the structure and simply tried to grow around it. 

I think the roots look like a giant octopus. Very Pirates of the Caribbean. I think Tomb Raider was shot here or something? I dunno. All over Siem Reap there are remnants of Angelina Jolie (drinks and various meals named after her). 

Then I made it to Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom is massive. It is a fortified city built by the Khmer Rouge, did I mention it's MASSIVE? Within Angkor Thom is Bayon Temple famous for all of the FACES. 

Tried to fit my face in next to it
Then was the Terrace of Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. They were terraces. With stone carvings. After a couple of hours you become less excited about large stone structures. After the terraces I returned to Angkor Wat this time with a more chipper attitude than my previous visit.

I know it's a bit cliched and overdone but I just couldn't resist taking a photo of these monks outside the entrance to Angkor Wat. I love the contrast of the vibrant orange set against the gray of the building. 

Climbing more stairs to get a good view.

Worth it!

I took close to 300 photos after three days and most of them, I realized later, weren't of the buildings themselves but of the carvings/engravings on the walls. They are so intricate and beautiful I was blown away. Especially knowing that they were carved by hand. 

Angkor Wat from outside

And to finish off the second day I climbed to the top of a hill, then to the top of a temple on the hill in order to get a view of the gorgeous sunset. I'm sure there are some that prefer the sunrise but, really, nothing beats a sunset. 

To see more pictures see: Angkor Wat

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