Our first trip to Tibet was in the spring of 1985. It was an exciting adventure. We had flown to Shanghai from Hong Kong with the intention of travelling along the Silk Road by rail. We were seeking permits for our proposed journey, in a Public Security Bureau in Shanghai, when the man infront of us whispered "Tibet's open!'. Up until that point only expensive tour groups with China Travel Service had managed to go to Tibet and only then to the capital, Lhasa.
The PSB official looked at us in a very serious manner saying that unfortunately our Irish friend who was travelling with us could not be granted a Tibetan entry permit. We were really taken aback and so disappointed! But then the smart official suddenly broke into a smile and said "April Fool!" We are still amazed that this young official was so well read that he knew the significance of the date, 1st April 1985!
We were overjoyed at gaining permission to go to Tibet. But how do we get there from Shanghai? Luckily Lynne had managed to pick up a CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) flight booklet. It was mostly in Chinese but the destinations we're in English. The rest is a longer story for another time! We did manage to get a flight to Xian. There was an onward flight to Tibet via Golmud but this very early morning flight was cancelled due to the weather. However that gave us the opportunity to visit the amazing sights of ancient Xian and the incredible Terracotta Warriors.
The journey from the runway to the capital of Lhasa took us a bumpy seven hours. In 1985 they were still building the road! We even went through rivers! I will have to leave the rest of the exciting story of our travels in Tibet to another time. However if you go to the 'Photographs' section you will find that I have added a new gallery of photos from that journey to the 'Roof of the World'. I have also uploaded a journal entry of our visit to The Jokhang in Lhasa. This is the holiest place in Tibet and a truly incredible place.
Hope you are having a good week.
* Below is the view of The Potala we had from our bedroom window of our guesthouse as we woke up next morning after arriving in Lhasa. I say guesthouse! No water, no heating, no food, etc but that is another story!