Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Satrday in Nanjing

I was excited to start exploring Nanjing as Mark has talked about this city on numerous occasions. It has been on our list since we moved to China and this weekend we finally had the opportunity to travel to the city that was once the capital of China. There is a lot of history here, so we had lots to cover in 2 days.

Saturday morning we started off wandering through the pedestrian walk where all the shops and restaurants are located. Local giving himself a pedicure!

Then after breakfast it was off to go to Purple Mountain, where Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s memorial was located. For those that don’t know, he is considered the father of modern China who led the revolution in 1911.

We decided to take the cable car up to the top of the mountain. This ride alone took about 40 minutes and it’s about 400 meters. Once at the top, we had a decent view of Nanjing.

The ride to the top of Purple Mountain

View from the top of Purple mountain. Remember this picture!

Mark decided that there should be a trail from the top of this mountain over to the mausoleum, however, the map made it unclear whether we could attempt such a hike. My beloved decided that yes, we can get over to the mausoleum and it will be a shorter walk. Where he comes up with this? We’re not sure, but somehow he’s convinced and this is where I should known better. Having traveled with Mark over the past few years, I should start listening to that little voice of mine that says, “You may want to reconsider this decision”. I had visions of Angkor Wat all over again.

We started going down the mountain and the steps make it easier than just a dirt path, so that was a good thing, except, there are about 2000 steps. About an hour into this little trek of ours, we see that there is a road which we believe may make it easier than going down the steps, so we opted to take the road down to the bottom of the mountain. About 10 minutes into that walk, we find that the road has been barricaded so we had to walk all the way back up the steep and winding road to get back to the steps that would eventually lead to the bottom of this mountain.
The picture above, was the mountain we walked down. A sampling of the 2000 steps we climbed

Once on the bottom, we actually thought (for a second) that we should walk over to the mausoleum, but nixed that idea quickly. It took the taxi about 20 minutes just to get us over there.

We then had another 1 km to go to get to the start of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s mausoleum.Entrance to the mausoleum, along with a bus load of Chinese tourists!

Mark tells me it’s 99 steps. Actually it’s 392 steps. Luckily we had cold beer to aid with our climbing. And yet, I keep believing him...
After our morning exercise, we then we decided to see the ruins that were listed on our map, only to find that the only thing left were some large boulders that were once part of a palace. You had to use your imagination on this one.
We found a little café, had lunch and then continued walking to one of the city gates that surround Nanjing. First though we happen to come across a small village within the big city of Nanjing that dated back to the Ming dynasty or so we thought. These were very old homes, and some were already labeled to be destroyed. Mark and I wandered down some of the little alley ways, snapping photos only to have the locals look at us, like we were nuts. The older people came out of their homes, while some of the younger people took pictures and videos of us, and yet others just followed us, asking questions. It was a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Nanjing.We made it to the wall, where you could climb to the top of the Southern gate, considered one of the best preserved, in China. It is definitely worth a visit, even if it meant more steps to climb.

Did I mention we climbed more stairs?

By the end of the day, we figured we climbed roughly 4500 steps (give or take about a few hundred). Personally I figured it was close to 5000.

A glass of wine, never tasted better….

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