Our trip to Ayuthayya was intended to be a stop over somewhere halfway between Bangkok and Cambodia, to avoid having to get up at a respectable time for the bus journey to the border, it was indeed a fascinating place but things did not quite go to plan with regards to geography, more of that later.
We arrived pleasantly surprised to find our guesthouse (Ayothaya Riverside Guesthouse) right on the banks of the Chao Praya and nicely decked out in dark wood, and hammocks in the communal area which in our opinion is the primary indicator of good accommodation. It even had a houseboat that you can stay in although our modest bugets did not quite stretch that far. After settling in we set off to add to our limited knowledge of the area. Their are numerous temples dotted in and around the Island of Ayuthayya which make up the world heritage listed archealogical park. Temples however could wait as we were two travellers running on empty stomachs, we therefore set off in the direction of the floating market walking past a couple beautifully kept temples and one on the site of the floating market that ressembled a Buddhist Disney world. This strangle land was dotted with curious artefacts which neither of us could connect to religious ceremony yet it was fun to walk between the 15ft. fibreglass monks, giant fish tanks and the occasional superhero (if anyone can link Captain America and Hellboy to reincarnation and enlightenment please comment.)
Once we did eventually find the floating market our stomachs had convinced us that two bowls of pork fried rice, noodle soup and an entire barbecued chicken was what was required. We had noticed a small crowd just off to the side of the market and Sarah was horrified to discover a squirming mass of scales fighting for each scrap of food tossed their way by the children standing above. My knowledge of ichthyology is extremely limited but they were surprisingly large fish, sending up sprays of water each time a handful of food was thrown in.
We had both had enough water for one day and headed back onto dry land to explore one of the many ancient temples dotted around Ayuthayya. You would be forgiven for thinking that we had already arrived in Siem Reap, the temple was strikingly Khmer in its architecture, and was bathed in an orange glow as the day was coming to a close. We watched the sunset and felt contented the day had been a relaxing one despite being back on the road, and with a sense that The temples in Cambodia are going to be something very special.
Earlier on I eluded that the trip to Ayuthayya was not quite the stepping stone we had intended it be as that evening as we settled down to plan our journey to Cambodia the following day I discovered that rather than being East of Bangkok closer to the Cambodia border we where in fact North of Bangkok and frustratingly further away than Cambodia instead of nearer. It would be unfair to blame the error on Sarah but nonetheless it will be the last time our logistical decisions are based on the strength of her Geography. Despite her getting a B at GCSE! As she reminds me. We took the decision to head back to Bangkok the following day rather than try and catch a myriad of local buses to the border which would probably end up taking a lot longer.
The next day was lazed away relaxing and reading in the hammocks where I found a copy of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories which I am now ploughing through. We did manage to raise ourselves late in the afternoon to head back once more to Bangkok to catch the horrendously early bus to the border the following day. The next time we write will be from the city of Siem Reap, Cambodia amid the wonders of the temples in Angkor. We are both very excited.