Hey! We writing this from Udaipur in India but so much has happened since the last time think it's easier to break it down in bits.
Tibet was absolutely fantastic! From Lhasa we drove to Gyantse and Shigatse via Yamdrok Lake. This turqoise lake is one of 4 holy lakes in Tibet and it was beautiful. We were above 5000m at this point so it was freezing even at 10a.m. Gyantse and Shigatse are Tibetan towns with monasteries. Gyantse had the Pelkor Chode monastery and the Kumbum mandala with '100,000' buddha images. Shigatse's Tashilumpo monastery is the seat of the Panchen Lama (the Yellow hat sect religious leader - the Dalai lama is considered the polititcal leader). The current Panchen Lama is the 11th one and he studies in Beijng, returning to Shigatse once a year for festivals. The monastery also has a 26m high statue of the future Bhudda 'Maitreya'. We also got to see the tibetan traditional method of roof making which involves 20-30 people beating a stick on the ground while singing and walking around! At lunch Claire tried a Yak meat burger which she thought was very tasty!
The next stop was Sakya, the town of dogs and a walled monastery of one of the 4 Buddhism sects in Tibet. The monastery was quite nice but by this time the chapels were all getting a bit repetitive! Luckily it was the last one for the trip! We also vsited a local Tibetan family and tried Yak cheese (which was rock hard and disgusting) and Chang, the traditional Tibetan beer, which was more bearable. All night long there were dogs barking and fighting in the streets, something that is very common here.
The ultimate day was when we saw Mt. Everest aka Mt. Qomolongma (the mother of all mountains). It was awesome! We approached the Himalaya mountain range from a viewpoint at 5100m from where we could see many other mountains all above 8000m sea level. We stayed at Rongbuk Monastery and its guest house just 7km from the base camp (5200m) and then we walked up to view the highest peak in the world! It was breathtaking! The snow-covered peak with the blue sky behind floating among clouds. Declan and Christie, the Canadian couple in the group got engaged there so we had a mini celebration at night. Mt. Everest was just as impressive in the moon light.
The next day we had a 12 hour journey to Zhangmu, border town with Nepal, where the scenery changed drastically from remote rocky plains to green forests as we came to the southern side of the Himalayas where it rains more. This was the last night in China for us and the next day we crossed the border to Kodari, Nepal after saying goodbye to Anu and Losang our Tibetan guide and driver.