A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about tea

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 2)

Huangshan Area


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Tunxi

This morning we got up fairly early and took a taxi to the south bus station where we caught the bus to Tunxi in the Huangshan area. The trip took about four hours and the scenery was fabulous. Lots of tea plantations along the way.

A relaxed bus trip

A relaxed bus trip

Sunee never relaxes, she is always studying Chinese

Sunee never relaxes, she is always studying Chinese

A nice tea plantation along the road

A nice tea plantation along the road

Tea Plants

Tea Plants

We arrived to Tunxi and got a taxi to a reasonable hotel on the edge of the ancient town. A nice hotel and a nice location. We got checked in then spent the rest of the day exploring the ancient streets and buildings mostly Ming Dynasty style.

Tunxi Ancient Arch

Tunxi Ancient Arch

Ancient street

Ancient street

Tunxi is famous for the four treasures of study: paper, brushes, ink and ink stones. We ended up shopping quite a bit for Sunee to find some nice brushes and ink. She was not interested in the ink stones nor the paper. The paper we could buy in Chengdu and it is the best one can buy.

Buying one of the four treasures:Brushes

Buying one of the four treasures:Brushes

One must always check the brushes before buying

One must always check the brushes before buying

And continue to check them

And continue to check them

A college student on his summer break

A college student on his summer break

More ancient streets

More ancient streets

Tunxi and Anhui are famous for their stinky tofu. Boy was it stinky!

Molded, rotten, stinky dofu

Molded, rotten, stinky dofu

Not Sunee's favorite

Not Sunee's favorite

A unique wooden Street sign

A unique wooden Street sign

Fabulous Ming Dynasty wooden building

Fabulous Ming Dynasty wooden building

Weaving as a tourist attraction

Weaving as a tourist attraction

We never turn down Chinese baked bread

We never turn down Chinese baked bread

Took us most of the day, but we finally came to the end of the ancient streets of Tunxi. Time for dinner and local cuisine. Found a nice restaurant and ordered locally. After dinner we enjoyed the sunset on the local lake.

The local cuisine

The local cuisine

Sunset

Sunset

Posted by inchinahil 06:22 Archived in China Tagged food architecture shopping tea huangshan tunxi ancient_town buddhist-temple anhui-province Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 3)

Traveling around Huangshan Area


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Qimen County

Since I was tasked with the planning for this trip, I made plans to come to the Huangshan 黄山 area south of Hefei. I did this because there were lots of ancient buildings and houses in this area but also because it had some of China's greatest teas.

I told Sunee we would be going to Qimen County about four hours from Tunxi. She had no idea why I wanted to go to this none tourist location. There is a story behind our journey.

About a year before this trip, I discovered and became very interested in Chinese tea. We visited the first tea plantation are in China which was three hours from our apartment at SW Jiaotong University. From that trip, I began to research Chinese tea. After about two months, I started a tea blog and my goal was to taste all the best tea in China.

One day, I came across the famous black tea called Keemun or Qimen 气门茶. Every time we went to Chengdu, we always visited the recently opened Tea City. On one such visit, I asked the dealer for some Qimen tea and he sold me some. I tasted it and was not overly impressed. I blogged this experience on my blog. A month after blogging, a chef from South America informed me that the tea I had said was Qimen was actually a cheap Yunnan black tea. I had gotten ripped off by the dealer in Chengdu.

What to do about this embarrassment? I devised a plan that was fail proof. We would travel to the source of Qimen Tea and thus we found ourselves in the nondescript little town of Qimen. Sunee thought I was crazy. We got a taxi and I told the driver to take us to a local tea seller. What a great time we had buying not only Qimen tea but several other teas unique to the Qimen area. We spent over three hours tasting, visiting and buying their teas.

The Best Qimen tea money can buy

The Best Qimen tea money can buy

Our dear Qimen friends

Our dear Qimen friends

More friends pictures

More friends pictures

Negotiating the sell of their fine teas

Negotiating the sell of their fine teas

And the haggling continues

And the haggling continues

Tasting in between the negotiations

Tasting in between the negotiations

This was one of those highlights we will always remember. What a great time we had with our tea selling friends.

But the adventure was not over. We still had an ancient town to visit. We took the bus back toward Tunxi and stopped at the town closes to the Anxici
ancient town. We found a hotel since it was late afternoon, had dinner and walked around a little. Not much in this town. In the morning, we would catch a taxi to the ancient town.

Anxici Ancient Town

The taxi we got in the morning took us to Anxici Ancient Town. It was a beauty. If one looks carefully, one may be able to see similar architecture as we saw in Shanxi Province. The Huizhou Culture has strong connections to Shanxi Province. The majority of merchants who came to this area, came from Shanxi Province. They were the finest business people in all of China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These Chinese merchants tended to build really large manors and used identical architecture found in Shanxi. This is one great ancient town.

Entrance to Anxici town

Entrance to Anxici town

If their are Chinese brushes for sell, Sunee will find them

If their are Chinese brushes for sell, Sunee will find them

A typical doorway

A typical doorway

Cooking tea leaves from the local mountains

Cooking tea leaves from the local mountains

A very Chinese Huizhou room

A very Chinese Huizhou room

A Street scene

A Street scene

An Old doorway

An Old doorway

Down an alley through another Oval door

Down an alley through another Oval door

Several tea sellers working out of their homes

Several tea sellers working out of their homes

Roaring Twenties China girl

Roaring Twenties China girl

A pathway along the edge of the town

A pathway along the edge of the town

The girl in the doorway

The girl in the doorway

Buddhas for sell

Buddhas for sell

The exit from the town

The exit from the town

Posted by inchinahil 06:21 Archived in China Tagged tea huangshan ancient_town buddhist-temple anhui-province qimen anxici Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 4)

Traveling around Huangshan Area


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Hongcui

This morning we got up fairly early and had a quick breakfast. We got a taxi to our next adventure location and this one promised to provide us with lots of visits to Courtyard Houses. Our destination was Hongcui 宏村. This ancient village (now famous as a World Heritage Site since 2000) was built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and has many really great residences from that period. It was founded by a general (Wang Wen) in 1131. The Wang family was, surprise, the dominant family in the town. Check out Hongcui with us.

This is a commercially prosperous tourist attraction with all the bells and whistles that means. Lots of touts. Lots of stuff to buy. Nice restaurants all over the place. The actual entrance to the town is over a bridge on a serene lake.

Green Butterfly who decided to pose for me

Green Butterfly who decided to pose for me

A view of Hongcui

A view of Hongcui

The Hongcui bridge

The Hongcui bridge

Art students taking advantage of the beauty

Art students taking advantage of the beauty

An Old door

An Old door

Huzhou style buildings

Huzhou style buildings

A couple of wooden heads advertising good food, I think

A couple of wooden heads advertising good food, I think

Local fried chicken but the lady asked me not to take a picture . . oops

Local fried chicken but the lady asked me not to take a picture . . oops

More local cuisine

More local cuisine

Down and ancient alley

Down and ancient alley

Huizhou entranceway

Huizhou entranceway

Another ancient doorway

Another ancient doorway

Need directions

Need directions

Very nice hostess for a new restaurant

Very nice hostess for a new restaurant

Can't help taking pictures - Oval door

Can't help taking pictures - Oval door

A local resident

A local resident

Another narrow alley

Another narrow alley

Painting the scene

Painting the scene

As you can see, the village is really well done. The people in the village are used to having lots of people visit and are friendly and cheerful. The village is authentic with very little obvious renovations or new constructions. This is as good an ancient town as we had visited. I probably took more than 400 photographs during our four hour visit. Enough photographs and enough visiting courtyard houses. We must get back to our hotel and prepare for our return to Chengdu. But first, a visit to the local tea market.

Buying Tea in Tunxi

If you are interested in tea, check out my tea blog at http://chinateatravels.blogspot.com/. I have not blogged tea for a while but I will soon get back to tea blogging. When we travel, we always look for tea.

Famous flower green tea. It opens up like a flower in a pot of hot water

Famous flower green tea. It opens up like a flower in a pot of hot water

The Tunxi Tea Market

The Tunxi Tea Market

More taiping houkuei tea

More taiping houkuei tea

World famous Huangshan maofeng green tea

World famous Huangshan maofeng green tea

Posted by inchinahil 06:21 Archived in China Tagged architecture tea ancient_town anhui-province huanshan hongcui tourist-sites Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (August 5 - 6)

Return to Hefei


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Hefei

We needed to get back to Chengdu and Emei City. The best way was to return to Hefei via bus and see about getting a flight from there. Once again the four hour bus ride through tea country was pleasant. Arriving around noon, we checked into the Hanting Hotel and decided to explore more of Hefei. Researching site in and around Hefei, I found that the great judge, Bao Zheng, was actually born in Hefei and worked in Kaifeng. He had a memorial temple in Hefei as well. We decided to visit the temple our last afternoon in Anhui Province.

On the Road to Hefei

On the Road to Hefei

Bao Zheng Temple

This is a small temple and park dedicated to this great judge. Nothing fancy or unique as one can see.

Inside door to a small courtyard

Inside door to a small courtyard

These devil dogs are everywhere in China. Fortunately they do not bark or bite

These devil dogs are everywhere in China. Fortunately they do not bark or bite

How to punish criminals: the head chopper

How to punish criminals: the head chopper

Justice Bao Zheng

Justice Bao Zheng

Chinese window design

Chinese window design

The serene Bao Zheng lake

The serene Bao Zheng lake

We must be pagodaed out as I did not even go into this small pagoda

We must be pagodaed out as I did not even go into this small pagoda

We also did not go into this big pagoda

We also did not go into this big pagoda

After about two hours worth of visiting, we caught a taxi to the local museum.

The Anhui Provincial Museum

Sunee hates museums, so we planned to make this a quick visit. Turned out to be a nice place with the museum people being very friendly,

museum item1

museum item1

museum item2

museum item2

museum item3

museum item3

museum item4

museum item4

museum item5

museum item5

museum item6

museum item6

We met a bunch of students touring the museum so we visited with them for quite awhile. Most of them were anxious to try out their English on us and we did not disappoint. Always great to interact with Chinese students everywhere.

Our new friends (students) posing for a group picture

Our new friends (students) posing for a group picture

This museum had a whole section dedicated to the architecture of the provincial ancient towns and streets. We liked this section very much as one can guess.

The Anhui courtyard house

The Anhui courtyard house

Also in the back of the museum was a dinosaur museum for children. A lot of dinosaurs had been discovered in this part of China.

And these, children, are dinosaur eggs

And these, children, are dinosaur eggs

Great way to spend our last day in Anhui Province. The next morning really early (after my KFC breakfast to go), we flew back to Chengdu. Our trip had been an overwhelming success. We now had a very good working knowledge of the traditional courtyard residence of China.

Posted by inchinahil 06:20 Archived in China Tagged shopping tea china museum courtyard_house hefei anhui-province Comments (0)

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