After spending a couple of lazy days watching Netflix and relaxing by the pool, we thought that we should wander a little bit further than just to the local market for street food and some music. So, we donned our running shoes and headed out to the old city. We walked a few blocks until we reached the first walled corner which indicated the beginning of the old city. Chiang Mai was established in the late 13th century and was once the capital of the Lanna, an independent Thai Kingdom. It has remained one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements of the kingdom. The chief resided within the walls which housed many temples, monasteries and pagodas. The walls were encircled by a moat, about 50 feet in width. The entire area is about 1600 metres square and our goal for the first day was to walk the perimeter. Though most of the walls no longer exist, the moat is still there. The corner bastions and original gate locations are also present but these have been restored and rebuilt over time. We followed the route around the old city though it was tempting to wander off into any one of the many roads leading into the city. However, we stayed the course, promising ourselves to explore inside the city walls another day, and after a couple of hours found our way back to our starting point. As we have found in our travels, once you have a taste, you want to keep exploring. Richard has found a museum within the old city that we will go to and learn more about this fascinating area.
Yesterday being Sunday we decided to go to church. We found a Catholic church close by and though we did not hold out hope that it would be in English, we went anyway. The gated complex consists of the church itself, a grotto, a school, a convent and other residential buildings. We were amazed by the enormity of it all and to our surprise, mass was indeed in English. The old priest was very friendly and made his way around the church speaking to everyone as he went. He was quite delighted to hear that we were from Canada as he was originally from Quebec. We spoke for a few moments before mass and we settled in to listen to the music provided by a small choir of Thai singers accompanied by a grand piano and an electric guitar. It was an unexpected delight and we are so glad that we went.
So, another day begins. What lies around the corner today?