Punakha

Down, down, down, down (and passed on the way by the elder queen mother and her motorcade ( there are 4 queen mothers as the former king has 4 wives)).  We arrive in Punakha at about 4,400 feet with a beautiful river  and very warm and tropical feeling.  It is Saturday, so the Saturday vegetable market is going on as we pull into town.

We quickly head for the Punakha Dzong, known as the most beautiful Dzong and rightly so.  These two shots show, but hardly do justice to the exterior.  It sits at the confluence of two beautiful rivers.

Here is a couple of interior shots, the entrance to the temple – definitely the nicest we have seen with 3 story ceiling, golden columns and a wonderful set of paintings of the life of Buddha.  We found out our driver, Kado, was a boy monk at this temple at the age of 9.

The second shot just shows a courtyard with some of the mountains in the background.  We spent quite awhile here.  It was beautiful everywhere you looked and we really enjoyed it.

After lunch in town we attempted to find a pharmacy for some allergy drugs for me.  The pharmacy had pretty empty shelves.  Our guide convinced us to try the hospital, where I was seen very quickly.  The doctor told me how much he admired the Canadian medical system and let me know about Stephen Harper’s demise ( political demise, for you non-Canadians). He then gave me what what drugs he had in stock .. enough until I left the country.. so I wouldn’t have a sinus issue with the airplane travel.  This is a picture of the hospital grounds.  All medical care ( even for tourists, apparently) is free here.

We went on a drive to see some sites and we played on the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan for awhile.  As we drove back through town the Saturday market was breaking up and people were heading home

We returned to our hotel, which  has a lovely view, as seen below.   As dusk approached two tourist buses full of guests arrived, and some people for a Unicef conference, so it will be busy here for dinner tonight.   Tomorrow on to Bumthang.

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