Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Ancient history relived in Datong and Pingyao
30 januari 2016
Ancient history relived in Datong and Pingyao
We’ve had a very good time here and went to a lot of places visiting a lot of people and about 2 weeks ago made one last trip before returning to Fang’s home country.
On Jan 19th we went for a last trip to Beijing, Datong and Ping Yao.
Beijing, as I’m sure you are all aware, is the capital of China. Both fang and I already stayed in Beijing before so, this time we only used it as a transfer city to Datong.
We stayed one night in Leo hostel (the same hostel I stayed 8 years ago) and had a delicious meal in the “photo” restaurant (our favourite restaurant 8 years ago).
The next day we took a 5hour bus from Beijing to Datong, a “small” city north west of Beijing, close to the Inner Mongolia border. Datong is not very famous in the Netherlands but it has a UNESCO site http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1039 nearby called the Yun Gang grottoes. These grottoes are about 1500 years old and contain tens of thousands of Buddha statues. Some of the statues are absolute giants while others are quite small and detailed. All in all it is a very impressive sight and surely made I on to my top 10 of places visited. We were busy exploring the grottoes for the whole afternoon.
The day before the grottoes we wanted to go to the Hanging temple which is about 2 hours away from Datong, but this was unfortunately under construction so we went to the 3th best tourist spot in Datong which was the old city, surrounded by a giant wall of few stories high. The wall is totally renewed but the old city isn’t really up to date. The main attraction was under construction and as it’s quite cold there (-22), the old town was basically abandoned. With most tourist traps closed or being renovated the old town was more like a ghost town and there wasn’t much allure. So after a good day rest we took a sleeper train to a place called Ping Yao.
Ping Yao is a 2700 year “ancient” city and, when it was the financial capital of the Qing dynasty about 600 years ago, had (another) massive wall build around the city.
These walls are mostly still in their original state and together with the old fashion styled city form another UNESECO site in China. http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=812 Basically the whole ancient city is like a museum. Fang and I stayed in a 600 year old building which used to be a flower factory before it was a hotel. The other hotels were pretty much as old as ours and all had their own important function before they were converted into tourist accommodations.
The city knows how to preserve its history and also knows how to sell it, maybe a bit too much.
The restaurants are mostly overpriced but if you look for the little shops with an old couple serving you’ll get great food for a low price. There are about 30+ museums in the city ranging from a huge Confucius temple to the newspaper museum.
As we only had about one and a half day in Ping Yao we squeezed in as much history as possible. During the day we stayed in the old town and spend all day visiting museums and temples and went for a walk on the wall. During dinner we were treated by a Polish family who also travelled from Datong to Ping Yao whom we helped retrieving their bag from the train they left it on.
After dinner we went to a very special theatre show. This show did not only let us see the show but also allowed us to walk from one scene to another and experience the life before. The dancing, lightning and acting were all perfectly orchestrated and by walking from one place to the other, and being allowed to talk with the old villagers (actors), we really felt as if we were living in Ping Yao of a few hundred years ago.
After the magnificent show we went back to our hostel and as the streets were quiet and very well decorated we continued imagining ourselves in the old Ping Yao city.
The next day we only had time to pack our luggage and go to the train station to go back to Beijing. Unfortunately we basically stayed inside the Hostel all day every day in Beijing because there was a blizzard outside which made our eyeballs freeze. We did make some friends in the hostel however, 2 Dutch girls who had been studying in Beijing, a half Hong Kong half Australian guy, a Taiwanese American and a real Londoner. We had some nice meals together and played cards while hiding from the cold.
After Beijing we spend another day with the Polish family in Shanghai and visited the Yunnan garden. And the last few days we’ve been busy packing and preparing to go back to Taiwan.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, we’ll be flying back tomorrow. Then on the next day we’ll be looking for a room and hopefully rent one for the coming year and after the room we will go to Chia Yi (Fang’s hometown) to visit his parents and sisters. The next day we’ll go back to Taichung to move the most important things to our new place and fly the day after to Kinmen to celebrate Chinese new year there + Fang’s cousins 16th birthday which is quite a big deal over there, so it should be a lot of fun and even more food from Fang’s grandma.
I’ll do my best to keep you all posted, but as you know writing comes and goes and I often don’t write for months, as normal life just passes on without any truly brilliant stories to share.
Oh, btw, the food in China is awesome, because it’s so huge there is a lot of variety but it’s always tricky finding the right place for the right money and it’s simply near impossible to have a combination of that with hygiene and friendly service. We mostly settle for cheap and tasty and just take the other two for granted. That’ll be all, I’m looking forward to your messages and comments with updates of your lives
Foto's bij verslag (11)
30 januari 2016 17:31 | Door: Joke leenstra
Hai Tommy en Fang,
Zo leuk om je reisverhalen te lezen! Je maakt wel heel mooie interessante dingen mee. Los van het feit dat je zoveel mooie plekjes ziet. Voor ons een ver van ons bed gebeuren.
Dus nu breekt er weer een nieuwe fase aan. Is het makkelijk om woonruimte te vinden en betaalbaar?
Jammer dat we jullie niet hebben getroffen, maar het was maar zo kort en we wilden jullie kostbare tijd niet claimen.