beautiful ayutthaya!

    after a day in bangkok, we met up with dannon's old roommate who lives in thailand, and drove up to the gorgeous, ancient city of ayutthaya {pronounced "eye-you-tee-ah"}.

    a teeny history lesson: ayutthaya was the capital of thailand for 417 years until it was destroyed in the war with burma in the 1700's. the burmese armies invaded ayutthaya and destroyed dozens of temples for the gold that covered them. they even cut off the heads of all the buddha's in the city in order to steal the gold. today the modern city has built up around the ancient ruins which still exist.

    we spent the day wandering around the ruins, paying honor to the fallen buddha statues, and imagining the whole city covered in gold.

    one of the heads was enveloped into the branches of a banyan tree.
    we also stopped at one of the large, working temples in ayutthaya.

    here they keep some of the golden buddha heads that they were able to recover from the burmese army.

    next to the temple {or in thai, a "wat"} there was a little market where we got to try some amazing local desserts like real coconut ice cream out of a coconut shell!

    we also got to participate in a beautiful spiritual practice at wat lokkayasutha {temple of the reclining buddha}.

    the final part of the experience was to stick a piece of gold to the buddha. it was so special to take part in re-covering the buddha with gold after it was stripped so many years ago.

    after the temples we went to a floating market. this was one of the coolest things we did in thailand!
    the market was all along these long bamboo walkways through the water. we were surrounded by lotus flowers and water buffalo!

    everything was made out of bamboo including the stairs, tables and benches.
    oh and the food! the food was absolutely amazing! so delicious and colorful. unfortunately it made us incredibly ill, but totally worth it. . . well. . . yeah, worth it.

    while we were in ayutthaya we stayed at the most amazing inn with a beautiful view of old temple ruins, large lotus flowers, and the river. across the way, children were swinging into the river from a big rope swing. it was pretty magical.

    we even had a wee guest stay with us {the lizards were everywhere and so cute! some of them could even fly.}!

    the next day we headed off to spend the rest of the week with our elephants!!! which i'll share tomorrow {with probably more pictures than you ever wanted to see of elephants}. :)

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beautiful ayutthaya!

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