I started walking at six in the morning today. After 5km, I sat down and slept for 20 minutes.
Then I walked another 5km and sat down again. This time for 30 minutes.
The third time I slept for almost an hour.
All the while, there was a construction team fixing the road around me:
This pretty much made sure that I was walking on the freshest and cleanest stretch of the Silk Road that anyone could imagine:
…or rather I was walking next to it, otherwise I would have probably gotten my feet stuck in fresh tar.
I bumped into Chen Ping 陈平 right after my third nap:
Chen Ping is a psychiatrist from China’s most northern city (Heihe 黑河, situated on the northeastern border with Russia). He is currently on a one-month trip, riding his motorcycle around the western part of the country just for the fun of it. I wish we could have had more time to talk; what an interesting guy!
There were some rather old industrial areas I passed by before I got into the township of Yongchang:
Yongchang itself turned out to be a lovely place just bustling with activity:
I came across two historical sights on my way into the city:
This one is Donghui Palace 东会宫, a reconstruction of what seemed like old administrative buildings, centered around a group of historical steles, some of which were apparently older than 400 years:
The other attraction is the Bell and Drum Tower 钟鼓楼:
People told me this structure was from the Ming-dynasty, though I couldn’t find out how much of it had been remodeled later:
The reason I had started so damn early today was because I had promised to have lunch with Mr. Liu 刘先生, a friend I had made on the road the day before, when he had stopped his car to see if I needed anything (obviously because I looked so miserable).
So we had an awesome long session of Chongqing-style hot pot today, and then we decided to climb up a mountain called Wudangshan 武当山 in the afternoon:
Overlooking this beautiful green valley, it felt so unbelievable to me that I had really walked here all the way from Beijing:
I get that feeling sometimes. Weird.
The mountain was basically plastered with temples that had all been recently rebuilt:
One site we chose to visit was dedicated to Confucianism, but, interestingly enough, there was a Buddhist monk working as the temple keeper.
He asked us inside, and so we sat in his room for a while, having fruits and talking about this and that:
When we had made the descent from the mountain, there was still time enough to go look at Beihaizi Park 北海子公园:
A very beautiful place as well, and – much to my surprise – it had a pagoda that was apparently an original from the Tang-dynasty:
Old stuff is just nice.
…when I got back to my room later that evening, I noticed that there had apparently been a wedding here a few days ago:
The Chinese character on the wall is non-existent in my computer’s character dictionary, but it can be explained as a double xi 喜.
Xi means happiness.