We fly to Hefei and get a bus to Mount Jiuhua
27.03.2011 - 28.03.2011 65 °F
We got up really early and caught a car to the airport. Enliven had scheduled her friend to take us to the airport. It was a very foggy day so the flight to Heifei was delayed two hours.
We finally left at around 1030 and arrived to Hefei at around 1230. Upon arrival to the airport we picked up a minibus that took us to the bus station where a bus was leaving for Mount Jiuhua, the third mountain on our Pilgrimmage Tour. We only had to wait about an hour before our bus left. The trip took six hours and was pleasant, even more so as we were traveling with a family that was making their annual trip to visit Mount Jiuhua. During the trip, we learned a lot about the mountain and Chinese life in generally. The family eventually invited us to stay at the hotel where they always stayed. It was on the mountain with a sister hotel at the base of the mountain. Our plan was to spend one night on the mountain and then transfer to the sister hotel closer to the bus station where we would head south to Ningbo. The plan was executed perfectly.
A sunset as we arrive to the Mount Jiuhua area. Beautiful. We were immediately transferred to a private car which took us up the mountain to our hotel.
Like all tourist mountains in China, Mount Jiuhua had an official entrance gate. We spend the night in a nicely heated room with the temperature outside near freezing. Inexpensive, modest and friendly was the game at this hotel. Very hospitable!
In the morning, we were provided a guide who took us up the mountain to some of the most important temples. Lots of pictures and lots of interesting things to do and see.
The temples were authentic and not commercial. This was a serious working Buddhist area.
Here we paused to visit with a local monk with our guide leading the way.
This is our lovely and charming guide who walked with us for about two hours and explained what we were seeing and visiting. The temples were of a different style and the atmosphere around them was more serene and realistic. This was where serious Buddhist monks came to study in solitude.
As we paused and enjoyed the scenery that each temple offered, I found this guy sitting in the sun. Looked just like a skink and, of course, it was.
How about some fresh-air dried chicken for your dining pleasure. Lots of pictures just waiting to be taken. We finished this little tour and then caught a free bus to the other side of the mountain where a small cluster of temples were located. Sunee did not want to take the cable car to the top so we just meandered around the cluster of buildings. It was worth the meandering
The mountain path we followed was magnificent. This reminded me of that Robert Frost poem - what was it about taking a forest path?
Every mountain we have been on so far has a tradition of engraving locks then placing them on one of the handholds along the stairs. This was no different. We have a lock on Mount Emei, but that is the only place.
We took the free bus (actually Sunee had to pay 5 Yuan because she got to come to the mountain for free) to our hotel but not before buying some local Jiuhuashan Silver Needle green tea. Price was about the same as good green tea form Emei. That evening we went to the sister hotel down at the base of the mountain where there was a beautiful and awe-inspiring sunset.
We had to get up early to catch the bus to Hangzhou so we simply called it an early evening and slipped peacefully into our adventure sleep mode.