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This is me after precisely one thousand kilometers:


Feels good, I can tell you that.

A time to celebrate, a reason to get down:


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Okay, it’s stupid. But the very last bit when I’m trying to pick up my stick always makes me laugh.

As nice as it is, I can’t allow myself to get caught up in the moment. Gotta keep walking.

Right next to the highway, covered up in the snow, there’s a tiny place called Yandian. They have a tree growing from an empty building there:

tree growing from building

This structure used to be a gateway over a medium-sized road. The locals tell me that the last Emperor’s mother herself once traveled on this ancient road and marveled at that tree.

No one really knows how, but the tree apparently got there completely by itself. And it looks like it’s there to stay.

…”the locals” – really an inappropriate description for a bunch of interesting and very charming folks. I got some pears and sat down for a chat in the back of a friendly old man’s store. His wife was busy fixing some clothes and allowed me to snap a picture:

sowing machine

I loved the design of the old sewing machine. “Made in Shanghai” – cool.

Then I was back out in the cold. Very few people outside.

I had some fun playing with colors:

snow in Shanxi


green bag


Then I arrived at Dingcun 丁村, a remote tiny village featuring an another ancient courtyard:

Dingcun courtyard

Much like Chang Family courtyard – sheepolution, Qiao Family courtyard – camel #4 and Wang Family courtyard – more than numbers, this is a wealthy merchant’s private estate as well.

This particular place seems very unspoiled though.

tree in Dingcun

Maybe it’s because of its remote location, but the traditional customs have been preserved remarkably well:

traditional items in Dingcun

Another attraction of Dingcun is the archeological excavation site:

fossils in Dingcun

A bunch of dinosaur bones were discovered here in the 50s.

I don’t know much about bones though.

But I liked this place and it’s been snowing heavily outside anyways.

So I happily accepted a family’s offer to stay with them.

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