Charlie's China Tour—Hongcun and Xidi tours in Huangshan
2019-07-04China travel Guide
I awoke at 6:30 AM. Jay had awoken earlier and was already online as is the case most of the time. We will depart from our hotel at 9 AM. The sun is brightly shining. I've got a head cold and am depending on Clariton for some help. Fingers crossed.
Cloris is at our hotel at 9 AM and off we go. Cloris tells us that we need to visit the Yellow River, China's second longest river. We now have been driving for about 20 minutes to Hongcun Village in very remote area well out of town when all of a sudden we arrive at a massive parking lot. The population of this world heritage village is 1,500. Walking a short distance, we arrive at a most charming village. Students painting country scenes around a small lake.
We have arrived at Hongcun Village, an ancient village, over 800 years old and close to Mount Huangshan. It is known as 'The Chinese town in the pictures". Immediately we see many art students painting this very peaceful village around Yuezhao Lake and close to a beautiful old bridge. We spent perhaps an hour here walking through this ancient village and its beautiful courtyards. Photos everywhere such as the Moon Pond, the Reflecting Pond. Such a peaceful and beautiful old town. More art students all over the town. So many things to paint. So charming.
Lunch. We're now off to another village. En route we see rice being dried along the ride side, city blocks in length. We just visited Xidi Village with its narrow streets, ancient homes with their fascinating furnishings, and antiques. Fascinating! It also enjoys world heritage status. It is arguably even more impressive than Hongcun Village due to its larger size and less polished nature. What it lacks in 'sights', it makes up for in beautiful courtyards which are now guesthouses and still lived-in old residences, all incredibly ornate in decoration. Even in the sweltering heat, this place is a joy in which to get lost. While in Xidi Village we came upon a traditional Chinese wedding. We followed along with the wedding party and guests. It was quite the treat.
Now an hour’s drive back to Huangshan and the 'old city'. We walked through the old district and dined at yet another very nice restaurant at a very busy pedestrian intersection. Pedestrians walks, north and south with vehicles allowed, east and west. At 7 PM we departed for the train depot. Our train to Shanghai departs at 8:08 PM. We said our goodbyes to Cloris. Cloris also did a fantastic job of opening up her wonderful city of Huangshan for us. Thank you Cloris.
We successfully made it on the right train. This is an overnight train and we will be sleeping in a 4 person sleeping compartment. This will be interesting. Our sleeping quarters do indeed consist of a 4 bunk sleeper. Jay and I have the 2 lower bunks. Getting our large suitcases up to the level in our compartment where they needed to be stored was an adventure. The young woman who was above Jay's lower bunk helped with the suitcases. The upper bunk above me remains unused.
It's 8:08 PM and the train promptly departed for Shanghai. Sometime during the evening a young male boarded the train and occupied the bunk above me. All of this, part of the adventure.
To be continued...
--by Charlie Kath (customer of Visit Our China)