Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hongluo Mountain and Temple

Jenny asked us to join her on a day trip to Hongluo Temple. The temple is located on the Hongluo mountain about a hours drive outside of Beijing proper. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and cool breezes. We arrived and began exploring the grounds. The temple is an imperial temple and was once frequented only by the royal family. The first thing we came upon was the bamboo forest which was planted 1000 years ago by the emperor. Bamboo doesn't normally grow near Beijing because of the climate. Usually it it seen in the south of China.

Next we saw the Gold Coin pit. People were throwing coins and trying to hit the bell in the center of the giant coin.

The legend of the temple is that 2 princesses descended from heaven and took the form of red snails. This is a picture of the story...

This is a picture of the princesses' statue.

Here we are in the red snail shell.

We walked a bit further and found the temple. This is a Buddhist temple and the happy reclining Buddha was being worshipped and the smell of burning incense was in the air.

There was a beautiful ancient Ginkgo tree in the temple courtyard that was showing off it fall colors.

Next we found the trail of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. We took this picture along the way of the bunnies. There is a little bunny on my back.

Next we found the pine forest and the 500 Buddhas. This was pretty neat to see all the statues scattered around the woods. They all had on red capes.

There was one giant Buddha among all the smaller ones. Here we are in front of him.

We decided to Climb the mountain trail to check out the view from the top. The hike was a moderate incline with a paved trail and stairs. The forest on the mountain was showing off its fall colors.

Me and Jenny.

It was windy up on the mountain and someone was having a good time with the wind blowing through her hair.

Here we are on the trail...

The top is in sight...

On the way down...

We stopped by a local restaurant and had an early dinner. The food was delicious and Olivia had a fun time running around outside.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Long Qing Gorge

The Long Qing gorge translated means Emerald Dragon. The gorge is located about 100 KM outside of Beijing to the north. It is a very popular resort spot with native Beijingers in the summer.
Jenny asked us if we would like to go out with her this Saturday and offered up three different choices. 2 were inside the city and the 3rd was the gorge. Since we've pretty much spent our entire time in the city the idea of getting out to the country sounded really good. We met Jenny in the morning and drove out the Badaling expressway to our destination. We drove through the mountains and past the Great Wall.

The drive was pleasant and the fall colors were out. We drove through the mountains, then through a prairie and then to another mountain range where the gorge is located. We arrived, parked the car, loaded Olivia up in her back pack and started our 1 KM walk to the entrance. The entrance has large red Chinese characters on the mountain side. They were written by former president Jiang Zemin and read Long Qing Xia.

We walked into the attraction past the typical and unavoidable vendor spend money area and were greeted by the Dragon.

The dragon actually houses the escalator that gets you to the top of the dam where you catch the boat. Jenny told us that in the spring and summer the river is flowing but it was dry this time of the year. Jenny graciously took this shot for us in front of the dam.

We got into one of the boats and started the to tour the gorge. The views were spectacular and I'll let the pictures speak for what we saw. It was very beautiful.

Sandy on a leisurely cruise.

You can Beng Ji (Bungee jump) if your brave.

Fall colors.

Clear blue skies.

A Buddha high up in a mountain cave.

The boat stops and lets you off at an area where you can walk around a bit. There was a lady dressed in ethnic minority clothes.

We headed back to the boats and off we went back down the river.

Me on the river cruise.

We arrived back at the dam and decided to check out the temple on top of the mountain. You can get there 1 of two ways. Walk up the path or take a cable car to the top. We opted for the easy way. Sandy and Jenny rode in 1 car and me and Olivia took our own. Sandy took this picture of us.

Looking down at me and Olivia.

Here we are at the arch way entrance to the temple.

Us on top of the mountain.

Inside the temple. The temple buildings looked like a courtyard house in the hutongs.

Jenny and I.

Looking down from the top...better not be afraid of heights!

The view looking over the prairie with the mountains off in the distance.

Sandy at a formation called the eye of the needle.

On our way down I took this picture.

Picture of the dam.

We had to walk through a tunnel that was carved through the mountain to get back.

On our way back we spotted this kitty on roof top.
This little pup was all by himself.

We drove back to Beijing had nice dinner and called it a day. We only have a short time left and we're looking forward to coming home and seeing everyone.