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China – Pingyao

Confucius say, that is old will be new.

sunny 24 °C

When you think of China, you probably imagine thin little alleys with red lanterns hanging from the wooden shop fronts, temple like roof eves, old paved streets and people going about a simple daily existence within a small walled town. Unfortunately, this is a far cry from the socialist concrete housing blocks, traffic congested metropolis that most cities and even towns have become. Thankfully, Pingyao has resisted the winds of change and lets your imagined version of china live on for just a little while longer.

We got in early on from the overnight sleeper, which has probably been the best one so far as we got bottom bunks thanks to booking it back in Guilin. Walking from the train station, we walked through the west gate and in the process must have crossed a time vortex. Because of the time of day, the streets were empty, shops boarded up and soft sunlight casting shadows into the thin streets

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We were too early for checking in at the hostel so we left our bags and went for more of a walk round the streets. We walked to the East gate and along the wall past the corner tower and along to the North gate. At the old gateways, the large stone slabs have big grooves worn into them from the countless number of carts that have been pulled over them in the hundreds of years since they were laid. Apart from a stretch of the south walls which collapsed in 2004, the rest of the walls date back to 1370.

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The town was starting to wake up, but one thing we did notice even with it getting busier, was the lack of horn honking and traffic sounds. Thankfully the centre part of the town is blocked off from traffic, although the residents still jump their bikes & scooters over the railing to ride around. There are a lot of electric bikes and scooters around in china though, so at least these are almost silent when driving around the streets (not so good, for crossing the road and thinking that there is no traffic coming) It certainly felt a lot more peaceful and relaxed compared to everywhere else we had been so far.

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We got back to the hostel and our room was ready, so we freshened up and got a few things sorted before heading back out at dusk to take in more of the town as it came alive with the night time busyness that is common around China. Food stalls and street sellers are all at maximum output when the sun goes down. Getting some photos of the nicely lit streets there was a little girl who was wanting to photo bomb our shots. She was really funny, going and pulling faces and then coming up to look at her photos and going to do it all again.

A true family vehicle in China

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We had another late bus out of town, so we spent the final day in town just walking around and taking in some more of the quaintness before we hit Beijing.

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Daniel – Great little stop on the way between two of the big cities. Really was a few days of old world China.

Tanya –It was somewhat of a shock to wander outside the walls in search of an atm to realise that there is a bigger world out there! Otherwise, Pingyao was a beautiful place where we could just wind down and recharge the batteries.

Posted by dbgomes 04:01 Archived in China Tagged china round_the_world

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