We woke up early in the shade of a beautiful Buddhist temple for the last time. After presenting our fantastic support teams with gifts, we left camp at the coolest part of the day. A short 7k walk in the growing, humid heat meant we had to shelter in the shade of the cashew and lychee trees wherever we could. After 7k we finally crossed the finishing line!
It’s fair to say, it was an emotional moment for all of us Relief that the challenge was over, emotional memories of loved ones who have died in the care of the Hospice and a sheer sense of relief that the challenge (and it was definitely a challenge at times) was over.
We were met by a string of tuk tuks and transported to Angkor Watt, a sight we had all waited so long to see. In the early afternoon sun, we crossed an imposing bridge across a lily covered moat and entered the grounds of the largest religious monument in the world. Built between the 9th and 15th centuries this is a Hindu temple constructed when Siam Reap was the centre of the Khmer empire. It was a home for the gods, no-one lived here or worked here, it was simply built to honour the god Vishnu and is a symbolic representation of Hindu cosmology.
We then took another tuk tuk ride to our lunch stop before visiting two further temples, Ta Prohm and Bayon. Ta Prohm is best known for featuring in the 2001 film Tomb Raider. Its courtyards and towers are in the stranglehold of ancient trees.
The tuk tuks then whizzed us back to the center of Siam Reap for a last night in a hotel. After a week of washing with a bucket and cold water, a warm shower was very much appreciated.
We shared one last meal together and reflected on the amazing experience we have had.
We walked as one group, supporting each other as we faced our challenges along the way. Cambodia is a wonderful, welcoming country and we have so many memories of its warm and hospitable people, its abundant and natural beauty and its simple, devout way of life that we have been privileged to share.
We will be announcing the destination of our next trek very soon. For more information about trekking with St John’s please email [email protected]
The St John’s Hospice Cambodia Trekkers
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