The Best of Off-Beat Bohemia

Friday, October 31, 2014

a cute yellow courtyard in Prague

Parts of Prague were so overwhelming due to the amount of tourists that it was hard to enjoy (the sardine packed Astronomical Clock for one). To escape the crowds I tried to explore some off-beat areas of Prague. 

The Lennon Wall is one such example of the off-beat portions of Prague. I visited the Lennon Wall early in the morning (I hear it gets crowded during the day) and there were hardly any tourists in the area. I absolutely love street art, and the creativity of the Lennon Wall did not disappoint. I didn't leave any notes behind, but there was a whole section of the wall covered in notes and wishes (can you spot the note written on a pad in the photo below?).

I also enjoyed finding hidden street art along Masarykovo street while I walked to the Dancing House and along Vaclavskeke street. Other interesting statues and works of art were located in the Kampa Park and the grounds of the Museum Kampa. Museum Kampa was the only museum I visited in Prague and I'm so glad I had the time to visit. The interior was incredible and the art was stunning (but very modern so maybe not for everyone). If you aren't into modern art, maybe it is best to save the cost of the entrance fee and rather visit the Kampa park, which is littered with statues. Check out those statues of faceless babies - creepy!

A yellow building with a white window sill with flower pots
I'm loving this window with happy pots full of flowers

A blue VW bus spotted in Prague near the Lennon Wall
It wouldn't be Bohemia without a VW Bus! This was parked right next to the Lennon Wall.

Images of John Lennon in the Lennon Wall

Wish of peace at the Lennon Wall

A painting of a child at the Lennon Wall

John Lennon's portrait at the Lennon Wall in Prague

Wishes on the Lennon Wall in Prague

Notes written on paper at the Lennon Wall in Prague
Yup. That is a pad.

John Lennon and the Lennon Wall in Prague

I'm a dreamer too on the Lennon Wall

Creative graffiti of John Lennon at the Lennon Wall in Prague

Love Locks in Prague

Sculptures in Prague
 No driving sculptures in Prague

A view of a marching band from the Charles Bridge

A man wearing a horse head playing a keyboard in Prague
 A giant wooden cube in Prague

At the top of the giant wooden cube in Prague

An art installment of colorful chairs in Prague

Street art in Prague

Stripey street art in Prague

An flier for the Museum of Communism

Monster Street art in Prague

Street art in Prague

A pink face in a tv at prague

Street art in Prague

Museum Kampa

A statue of a buddhist in Prague

Freaky statues of babies with no faces in Prague

A freaky statue of a baby in prague

A sculpture at the Museum Kampa

Sculptures at the museum kampa in prague

glass view at the kampa museum in prague

a row of yellow penguins in prague

What do you think about the off-beat side of Prague? Where else you can you find off-beat bits around Bohemia? Aren't those baby statues terrifying?

The Goddess Hole

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lion Mountain, (sometimes called Gemu Mountain for the goddess that inhabits the cave) on the east side of Lugu Lake, is approximately 3,700 m tall. On the Yunnan side of Lugu Lake you will see a sign advertising for the Goddess Hole. Translated completely awkwardly, this sign actually is advertising for the cave on Lion Mountain. You can take a cable car (ski-lift) part of the way up Lion Mountain to a cave where the Gemu Goddess is rumored to live. It cost 50 RMB (about 8 USD) each to enter the Goddess Hole Park and ride the ski lift.

After disembarking from the cable car you walk up a series of steps that lead you to a Buddhist temple that features images of the Gemu Goddess. You can also enter the Gemu Goddess Cave, which really surprised me with how big it was. The best part of visiting the Gemu Goddess Cave were the monkeys roaming the area. Yup, Yunnan is so awesome that it has monkeys.

A village in lugu Lake

Walking to Lion Mountain

A view of Lugu Lake

A view of Lion Mountain at Lugu Lake
Lion Mountain behind the clouds

A sign to enter the Goddess Hole Ropeway
 Entering the cave where the Gemu Goddess lives

The stairs up part of Lion Mountain

Two Monkeys together

Monkeys in twisted trees
 Monkeys in twisted trees at lugu lake

A monkey with the best view of lugu lake
That monkey has the best view

Would you ride a ski lift up Lion Mountain?

Lugu Lake, China

Monday, October 27, 2014

J and I ventured to Lugu Lake from Lijiang to visit my dear friend K. I had heard of Lugu Lake several times and easily convinced J that we must endure the long bus ride to enjoy those views. 

Wow was the bus ride to Lugu Lake incredibly long and terrible. It was meant to be about 6 hours but some how turned into a 10 hour trip. I've been on many long bus rides during my China days (a 15 hour ride is my record), but this was by far the worse. I had woken up that morning with some kind of stomach flu but we decided that we'd make the trip anyways. Lets just say that feeling ill plus all of the car-sick Chinese tourists did not make for a nice ride. Because we were traveling during rainy season we were also required to switch buses several times due to bad roads. It was so confusing, in fact, that I may or may not have dusted off my favorite Chinese swear.

The ride was completely worth it though! Lugu Lake was incredibly beautiful. K acted as our extraordinary tour guide for the duration of our trip. She told us about the Mosuo people, who are a small ethnic group who live primarily in areas surrounding Lugu Lake (both in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces). The Mosuo culture is matriarchal and you will see grandmothers (who are the leaders of the village) spinning their hand-held prayer wheels while strolling around villages. The Mosuo believe the waters of Lugu Lake are sacred and that Lion Mountain is the home to the Gemu Goddess (she her in a painting below). One of the most well known aspects of Mosuo culture is the walking marriage. Married partners do not live together; the man will visit the woman's home at night and any children born out of the relationship will live with the mother and her family.

To read more about the Mosuo people and my motor biking trip around Lugu Lake check out my guest post on Travelettes. To read more about where to stay around Lugu Lake visit this post.

The Details: Lugu Lake is located on the borders shared between Yunnan Province and Sichuan Province. It can only be reached by bus or car and during the rainy season the roads frequently become washed out. You can reach Lugu Lake from Lijiang in Yunnan Province or from Chengdu the capital of Sichuan Province. The trip takes about the same amount of time coming from either place. There are several villages that have been built up for tourism around the lake and you can easily find accommodations in any of them. You must pay a tourism fee to enter the Lugu Lake area.

Lige Village in Lugu Lake

Prayer wheels

Lugu Lake with clouds covering the mountains
 Tall sunflowers around Lugu lakePrayer flags around Lugu Lake

Goats crossing the road

Lugu Lake with a Mosuo kayak

The Gemu Goddess
The Gemu Goddess

A Buddhist Temple in Lugu Lake
 Buddhist Temple

Broken boats filled with water on lugu Lake
 A boat in Lugu lake

A stone stuppa
 Mosuo boats in Lugu Lake
A double rainbow at Lugu Lake

A large stone stuppa

An illustrated map of Lugu Lake
This is as good as I could get with the maps - Sorry guys!

A map of Lugu Lake in Mandarin
Map option 2: Only in Mandarin


Do you like to learn about cultures when you travel? What is the longest bus ride you've been on?