Sunday, 9 August 2015

Asian Adventure - Pingyao Ancient City

Once again a really huge enjoyable breakfast. 

Our destination was 65km out of town, and on the way we drove past a huge solar cell powerstation then walked through a traditional old village made of mudbrick. 

Solar Powerstation.

Traditional Village.

Most of the younger people have shifted away, but the old people seem to leave a subsistence existence, with small gardens, donkeys, and fields of corn and sunflowers. 

Our destination was the Hanging Temple, which is a temple built 50m above the ground along the face of a cliff. Being a weekend it was very busy, and looking at a 2-hour wait to get up to go inside, we elected to just enjoy it from outside. The river that once flowed past has now been dammed. 

Click to play the Slideshow (44s)

Not too far away was the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, the largest and oldest wooden pagoda in existence in the world. It is starting to lean slightly due to some interior damage from the warlords, so visitors are only allowed on the first floor. Here we also found out about the Happy Buddha which is also the future Buddha. Beside Buddha are the Buddha Setwas which are female (I later found out this isn't correct) and the second tier, below them are the monks. Each Buddhist temple has the same layout, with the first building with the 4 guards, past that on the left is the Drum Tower, and on the right is the Bell Tower. Then there can be the 3 Buddhas with the past, present and future, or the 5 Buddhas with the East, West, North, South and middle Buddha's. The also have their servants beside. 

Following a lunch of pork Kung po and a spicy eggplant dish we started out on the 4 ½ hour drive to Pingyao. On the way we saw more of The Great Wall, and drove through a nearly 6km tunnel. A lot of the road-signs have English translations on them. We saw a few wind turbines on the tops of hills.

When we arrived in Pingyao we were driven to the walled Ancient City. Vehicles are not allowed to enter during the day, so we took our bags and walked about 15-20 minutes to the hotel in the centre. The Hotel was in a very traditional style, although with a Western bathroom. 

Our Hotel

The bed, or really a sleeping platform

Not much furniture, not much room

The courtyard of the Hotel - our room is on the right

The door to our room
The guide left us so we settled in and went for a walk to the East Gate and down Temple street. All along the streets were market stalls selling food and knick-knacks. 

Markets in the street

Pingyao City Wall

These little vehicles were around, along with scooters

Back at the hotel we ordered a bottle of Chinese Cabernet Merlot which was very nice, not too dry. We were perplexed by the room numbering and on asking the owner, she told us that they avoid using unlucky numbers as room numbers.

Our room lit up at night

The courtyard at night

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