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30/04/2014

Sichuan cherries add to province’s flavor II

We visited the Shixiang (Stone Elephants) Lake that afternoon. About 12 kilometers from the county town by expressway from Chengdu China travel deals, the scenic area is known as one of the best places near Chengdu to admire flowers in different seasons.

The park's tulip exhibition had recently finished. But we still saw flowering patches of violet orychophragmus, iris, corn poppy and garden cosmos, spreading across the broad slope overlooking Shixiang Lake. The splash of color has attracted quite a few newlywed couples to have their wedding photos taken.

Walking down the flower-covered slope into a forest trail, you can soon descend to a dock. Buying a ticket for 30 yuan ($4.81), you can explore the lake on a paddle boat.

The lake is actually a reservoir surrounded by lush forests. The boat trip China trip offers visitors a getaway into a tranquil world created by clean water and dense forests. The only down side of the boat trip is the mosquitos on the water.

To avoid getting bitten, you can also explore the area on the ground, from a trail built along the ridge overlooking the lake.

After a trip to Shixiang Lake, we drove about half an hour to Chengjia, a township known for its tea plantations. There we had a cup of this season's green tea, which is fragrant and refreshing.

Our dinner was at a restaurant surrounded by tea trees, where we had the chance to taste the locally famous liuhe (six-flavor) fish. Hot (from chili peppers), spicy (from Chinese prickly ash), scalding (from bubbling oil), sour (from pickles), fragrant (from the mixed sauce) and fresh, the dish features slices of fish and vegetables immersed in the mixed sauce and bubbling oil. It is served in a giant steel basin. The fish is hot, spicy, tender and fragrant as its name suggests.

Our two-day trip to Pujiang ended at Xilai Old Town top 10 China tours. Dominated by buildings with black-tiled roofs, wooden structures and timber sliding doors, the riverside town offers visitors a glimpse into the region's traditional countryside life. Restaurants and teahouses line the riverbanks, where towering trees grow. Under the shade of the trees, local people drink, eat, chat and play cards or mahjong. The slow pace of life is truly attractive - I wish I could have stayed longer.

If you go

About 68 km south of Chengdu, Pujiang county is only 50 km from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. The Grande Valley Scenic Area is about 2 km from the county town. The Shixiang Lake Scenic Area is about 12 km from the county town and admission costs 60 yuan per person. The Xilai Old Town is about 13 km from the county town and 60 km from Chengdu. Quite a few restaurants in Chengjia township and the county town offer liuhe fish.

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08:14 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

Sichuan cherries add to province’s flavor I

Pujiang in Sichuan province affordable China tours boasts lush forests, delicious cherries, great local cuisine and a pace of life that Chen Liang thinks is just about perfect.

'The flesh of our cherries is soft and juicy and easy to stone. You can put a handful in your mouth, enjoy the fresh pulp and then, spit the seeds out like a machine gun ..."

I came upon this florid description in a local newspaper while attending the opening ceremony of the second Pujiang Cherry Festival last week in Pujiang county, Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.

There was a tray of fresh cherries on the table. I took a few handfuls, and although I didn't machine gun the seeds out of my mouth, I enjoyed the juicy and sweetly sour fruit a lot.

The cherries are not the black cherries native to North America and now popular in our markets, but the Nanking cherry, mainly distributed in northern and western China, Korea and Mongolia. Compared with the black cherry, it is scarlet, smaller, with thinner skin and often a little sour. Because it is difficult to store and transport, it is rarely found in markets far from areas where it is grown.

As a native of Chengdu living in Beijing, I haven't tasted the cherries for many years. During the festival, however, the cherries were everywhere - on the tables, in the baskets of the local villagers and even hanging on trees top 10 China tour packages.

I choose not to walk to the fields of cherry trees and groves of tea trees to pick the fruit straight from the tree. Instead, after the Pujiang Cherry Festival's ceremony held at a small square on Cherry Hill, a 10-minute drive from the county town, I sat on the second floor of a local nongjiale home-stay's tea house. I sipped a cup of green tea harvested locally earlier this year, occasionally popping the cherries into my mouth. There was a soft breeze and a stunning panoramic view of the valley.

Cherries are only one of the reasons I was invited to visit Pujiang together with a group of journalists from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

About 70 kilometers south of Chengdu, Pujiang boasts 50.8 percent forest coverage, the highest percentage of all counties in Sichuan province. With three big reservoirs, densely wooded hills and a few old towns, the county has long been a popular trip from Chengdu popular China tour package.

With many of China's major cities suffering from frequent fog and hazy weather, the good environment in Pujiang has given the area a fresh appeal.

Spring is the best season to visit Pujiang. I stayed at the Grande Valley International Country Club at the center of the Grande Valley Scenic Area, only 10 minutes' drive from the expressway between Pujiang and Chengdu. The air is moist and fresh with the mixed fragrance of flowers and green grass. The night is full of the sounds of insects calling.

I wanted to jog around the golf course but was stopped by a thunderstorm. I woke to birds' chirping outside my window and found that the country club is right in the middle of a golf course. Beyond the golf course are rolling hills and forests. A hike or jog around the scenic area is pleasant.

Later in the morning, I found there is a well-paved road connecting the Grande Valley Scenic Area with Cherry Hill China tour guide. It takes about one hour to hike from the valley to the hill. Passing through tea plantations and cherry orchids, the views along the road are beautiful.

08:12 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

29/04/2014

Cultural Significance of the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China China vacation deals is one of the greatest construction wonders of the world, and ranks among the “Seven Wonders of the World”. The Great Wall of today starts from Shanhaiguan Pass in the east and ends at Jiayuguan Pass in the west. It is about 6,700 km long. So in Chinese we call it “Wan Li Chang Cheng”, which means Ten-Thousand-Li-Long Wall (li is a Chinese unit for measurement; one li is equal to half a kilometer).

The Great Wall was first built during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and continued into the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). After the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) unified China, the Great Wall was linked up and expanded, which laid the foundation for what we call today the Ten-Thousand-Li-Long Wall. In the Han (206 BC-220 AD) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties, the Great Wall was further constructed. Though thousands of years have passed, one dynasty replaced by another, you can still feel its grandeur and could not help marveling at how this huge project became possible when you climb up the Wall.

The earliest parts of the Great Wall were built amid incessant wars. It served the purpose of military defense in the age of cold steel, especially in preventing northern people on horseback from attacking people in the south who were mostly engaged in farming. The work involved in building the Great Wall was tremendous and the hardships are beyond imagination. People paid an enormous price for the construction of the Great Wall. Numerous people had to leave their homes and families to go north, where they toiled for years. Over a time span of over 2,000 years, many people lost their lives on the worksites.

Many legends and tales have left in China about the construction of the Great Wall top 10 China tours. Among them, the story of Lady Meng Jiang (Meng Jiangnü), called “Meng Jiangnü’s Bitter Weeping”, is the most moving and known to every household in China.

Lady Meng Jiang lived during the reign of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. In order to build the Great Wall, Emperor Qin Shihuang ordered 300 thousand people to work. In other words, one out of every 20 people took part in the project then. Lady Meng Jiang’s husband was recruited to build the Great Wall just three days after they got married. Hearing nothing from her husband after his departure, Lady Meng Jiang missed him very much. She sewed some warm clothes for him and decided to set off to look for him. She traveled many miles, going through innumerable hardships. When she eventually reached the foot of the Great Wall at the present Shanhaiguan Pass, a fellow countryman told her that her husband had died and was buried under the Wall. Lady Meng Jiang was so sad and she cried for three days and nights until, legend has it, a 400 kilometer-long (248-mile-long) section of the Great Wall collapsed, revealing the dead bodies of her husband and many others. The heartbroken Lady Meng Jiang finally committed suicide by jumping into the sea.

This story tells of the hard work of Chinese commoners. Today, you can find a temple built at Shanhaiguan Pass near the sea in memory of this loyal lady.

The Great Wall today has high China tourism value and historical and cultural significance. Over the centuries, the Great Wall has become a symbol of consolidation and strength for the Chinese people. It symbolizes that great achievement can be made with a common will and concerted effort. For example, the national anthem, composed during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), called on the people to “build our new Great Wall with our flesh and blood”. A Chinese idiom vividly expresses the Great Wall as the achievement of many – “Efforts joined by many can build the Great Wall”.

Standing on the Great Wall, only a good imagination is required for you to form a picture of the past, of the battlefields, the chariots, the horses, the heavily armored soldiers and the emperors they fought and died for…

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08:32 Publié dans Voyage | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)