Saturday, March 14, 2015

Luang Prabang Love

It's confession time! I write for a living, but I know I will not be able to adequately convey what is so special about Luang Prabang. The photos might help, but you really just need to visit in person.

From the moment of our airport pickup, we could sense the friendliness of the people here. The driver was excited to see B's Valencia football shirt and we'd find repeated evidence of the love of European football.

We arrived late, so we took in a drink and bite at our hotel's restaurant overlooking the Mekong. This is also the spot for the amazing complimentary hotel breakfast each morning, where we snapped the pictures below. Any day that starts out with this view cannot be a bad one. The landscape is dotted with the orange of monks' robes and people going about daily life along the Mekong. The real beauty is radiating from these people.

Despite a thriving (and growing) tourist scene, you see signs of locals' everyday life everywhere you look and can easily find peaceful moments and secret corners. The entire town is a protected Unesco World Heritage Site.

Across from our hotel, monks pause before starting their upkeep of the local land
Genuine sun-dried rice cakes
The town is lined with temples. You can see the importance of Buddhism to the people, but it also adds an intangible feeling to the place.

In the morning mist, the town takes on a whole different type of magic (stay tuned for the next post on the almsgiving and morning market). Things start out busy quite early and then quiet down as the heat builds (and big vans of tourists from the larger resorts outside of town leave for excursions).
The National Museum in the morning light

In the evening, the market lines the street and the restaurants and shops get busy again. The sellers offer a large array of handicrafts, especially the fabrics for which Laos is well known. The food market runs along a narrow alley, offering snacks as well as all-you-can pile on a plate buffets of Laotian food. 

Stay tuned for more from Laos. We have too many pictures for just one post.

Oddly enough, we found ourselves drawing comparisons between Luang Prabang and Visby, Sweden (Denia, Spain a bit too). This may seem an unlikely comparison, but there is a certain light and magic that these places have in common despite being culturally and geographically worlds apart. You'll just have to visit to see what you think, because I just can't find the words to do it justice!

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