April 08, 2004

On to Angkor

The quartet left the rather sobering scene of Phnom Penh and flew to the town of Siam Reap, just kilometers away from World famous Angkor Wat and surrounding temples. After settling in to what would prove to be barely adequate accommodations, we braved the blistering heat & humidity and hit Angkor Thom.

A word about Angkor...one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, it has been characterized as the largest religious monument on earth. Angkor was the ancient capital of the Kymer empire ~ 12 century AD. The French explorer who "rediscovered" the lost city in 1860 described the temples as "far grander than anything of Greece or Rome." With its intricate stonework/Bas Reliefs, soaring towers and the sheer expanse of the temples, it's tough to argue w/ the Frenchie.

We spent the late morning climbing around Angkor Thom, the royal city just a few KM from Angkor Wat, built in the late 12th C by Jayarvman VII, the greatest of Cambodia's ancient kings. J's reign, lasting nearly 40 years, witnessed the construction of nearly 60 of the 140 temples near Angkor. AT is voluminous enough to house the entire city of ancient Rome and features the "Bayon" in the center of the city, a tower rising 45M.

After a few hours of clambering over carved stone, we retreated to the AC & pool, then returned to temple town for a sunset, Angkor Wat style. Given AW is the most famous of Angkor's temples and the fact that Janet was down for the count we cut the expedition short a bit, but not before a marvelous sunset:

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