So, we’re in Oslo uploading a post about a place that seems a universe away and we were only there a few days back… Quite bizarre but it’s good to look back, even after this short time and remember how wonderful it was being in Burma again.

Mandalay is not the rustic, colonial town Yangon is – but it has its charm. Almost completely flat and laid out in a grid, we navigated our way around its multitude of neighborhoods stumbling across so many fascinating and vibrant aspects of Burmese life that you’d be sure to miss if you only visited the ‘big sites’.

The one place we couldn’t miss though was the U Bein Bridge which stretches across the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura, not far from Mandalay. It was built around 1850 and is around 1.2km long and is always busy with bicycles, pedestrians, vendors, monks and more… We went back at dawn for another look a couple of days later and the calmness but practicality of this age-old structure really seemed apparent.

The other major attraction we journeyed to was Mingun, an hour or so upriver from Mandalay. The big feature of this village (for us at least) is a massive unfinished temple the Mingun Paya built in 1790 but damaged by an earthquake in 1839 – hence the massive cracks on its facade. It was said that once the Paya (which would have been the largest in the world at 150m tall) was complete, the King would die – so he canned its construction.

So, off to Stockholm tomorrow and then onto Malta… Stay tuned!

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