25 january Siem Reap (CAMBODIA)

124° day

We depart early in the morning to the Cambodian border. We stop in a place along the way where many very kind guys deliver entry formats for the visas and help us in the compilation. Too kind, I think to myself until they ask us for USD 35 per head against the 20 that I was expecting! Now it makes sense. I offer him only 40 for two. I knew that thanks to Lonely Planet Forum! I don't pay more until a guy asks me to follow him into his office to clarify the issue ... I do it... we get to the bottom of a large room, he sits down, a little thoughtfully, shaking his head, quietly confesses "Yes, actually it costs 20 dollars a head, but ..." and he begins a series of excuses, but I was already not listening to him anymore ... I won my battle ... I'm happy and start our bureaucratic between the two frontiers.. After various adventures finally we reach our destination: Siem Reap ... We deserve just a romantic dinner in a delightful place, a nice buffet of meat and fish cooked on the barbeque ... every table was organized with a small BBQ and each of us cooked for himself! What a fun!

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26 january Siem Reap (CAMBODIA)

[Stefy]: “We have breakfast directly on our tuk tuk as we approach the gates of the legendary Angkor Wat. Here is the most famous and impressive of all the temples. It has been the setting for films like "Lord Jim" or "Apocalypse Now". The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and took nearly 37 years for its construction, 800 meters of bas-reliefs carved in soft porcelain depicting fantasy scenes, the center of the temple, you climb up steep stairs to the shrine where successive terraces, courtyards, altars, a maze that offers a great view of the nearby forest.

It was nice to sit in front of this giant five-headed and read its story... We remain literally speechless when we reach the "Bayon" the temple of the mystery, whose name means: "The Magic Mountain". It was a forest of giant heads with eyes that followed you everywhere, 200 faces by the enigmatic smile. It is a Pantheon dedicated to the gods worshiped in the Middle Ages by the Khmer people.

After a walk on the "Terrace of the Elephants", we resume our tuk tuk for the visit of the last temple: "Taphrom", where the movie "Tomb Raider" with Angelina Jolie was shot. This temple is a mixture of magic and fairy-tale romance. When you walk through the door of the temple you can feel the emotion felt by the explorers; roots under the huge stone, the dense vegetation on the walls, statues, faces covered with moss... it is an incredible sight.

In the evening, we return to Siem Reap, we decide to stop at the Old Market where you can find everything you need and end up eating a soup and noodles on the street "...

27 january Tonle Sap (CAMBODIA)

126° day

After a full immersion in the temples of Angkor Wat we prefer spending a couple of extra days in Siem Reap to visit the surroundings but also to plan our next steps. Tonle Sap Lake. What a disappointment! We were expecting to relive another experience as intense as the one lived in Pokhara or in Inle… Instead the construction business had already infected the area ... They were building huge touristic resorts ...

We go away and we enjoy at least the surrounding landscape ... Impressive when stopping to take some pictures at a lush paddy field, two girls emerge from a pile with a bucket full of dead snakes. Quietly they stop next to a fountain and a spoon in hand-to-head they start to peel them under our amused glance!

29 january Phnom Penh (CAMBODIA)

The charm of the capitals!

Phnom Penh, the battered capital of the sad Cambodia... sad because in this way the eyes of its inhabitants look like. We get here after seven hours by bus after going through this small nation in its depths. We see its true face, we see the dirt roads of Cambodia, the piles of wood, hens with chicks, the pagodas of the country.

30 january Phnom Penh (CAMBODIA)

Phnom Penh is a city rich of history ... the terrible back over the years ranging from 1975 to 1979 had led our visit today. Let's take a quick step back in time! Year 1975. In Italy life goes on quietly, in the western world everything is going peacefully, from one day to another, an army of poor men, commanded by a madman "Pol Pot", invades the country. It is the beginning of a terrible nightmare. In three days all the cities are emptied of their inhabitants who are sent in the countryside ... the massacre of all potential "enemies" of the nation began, "enemy" is considered any intellectual, any student, even those who know another language! The sentence is fast and unavoidable: death! Who is suspect is tortured to confession. Confession of what? We visit the "Choeung Ek" (Killing Fields), a place where they found hundreds of mass graves filled with skeletons of men, women and children. Guilty of what? The place is unreal.

"Tuol Sleng", now "genocide museum", better known by the terrible acronym: "S21". It began as elementary school, built by the French, who would have never imagined what terrible suffering and pain these poor walls would have contained? Its four buildings, in four years, have hosted thousands of Cambodians suspected of conspiracy against the nation. It's hard not to feel a lump in my throat as we wander through those gloomy corridors, it is difficult not to feel ashamed of humans who have destroyed, humiliated and massacred their fellow and without reason, it is hard not to feel anger at the thought that 30 years later, these bastards have not paid yet ... and then pay? In what way? It's hard not to hate if you think that a monster like Pol Pot died "peacefully" in exile in beautiful Thailand, under house arrest.

With a broken heart we end up at the Russian Market, the Royal Palace and Wat Phnom hill, the legendary pagoda that has marked the birth of this city, but our mind is directed to another, every person we meet, every glance that we cross hits our heart ... I wonder how much blood flows through their suffering veins. I wouldalmost encourage them whispering: "smile, it's all over!"

 

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