After lunch we hopped on a bus and went to another world heritage site village called Hongcun. The first view of the village across the small lake was stunning even in the rain!
We had booked a home stay for the night so first thing to do was find it and stow our packs. Much more enjoyable visiting the town with less on our backs. The room was simple but the setting just amazing.
At first the village seemed a confusing maze but it was true that the flow of the water was a constant reference to find the way.
This extensive house had a series of courtyards and interesting interiors.
What a pleasure to step from a small dark interior into a large courtyard… bright and open while still feeling private and intimate.
The intricate carving in the structural members would have been indicative that the family was particularly wealthy at the time the home was built.
This bridge was the backdrop for the opening scene of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon… so beautiful.
So I had to cross it too!
And over the top of the tiny bridge… lotus blossoms ahead!
The lotus is not just a beautiful flower but also a cultural and Buddhist symbol – while it grows out of the mud, it floats above it untouched and undisturbed…
The ancient villages of Southern Anhui province are considered a world heritage site. Among them, Xidi’s Ming dynasty charms along with the stunning setting were enough to make me promise myself another visit one day. These villages are living museums (you pay a fee to enter) with on the one hand ancient infrastructure and architecture and on the other, people going on about their daily lives in a perfectly modern way (in amongst all the tourists).
Xidi’s beautiful gate is the first monument you see when you enter the village and the last when you leave…
A charming gate leads back out of the village to a water garden and, across a narrow neck of land, vegetable plots.
Classic Ming dynasty roof top profiles… and communications towers.
Narrow curving lanes wander between the ancient buildings – there’s just enough space for scooters!
The residences still have traditional woodwork at the front courtyard. Often, the family still lives in the building. Tourists come and go freely but respecting that access is only if the gate is open and only to the front courtyard unless invited further.
Love these mossy gardens!
Caught on camera by my friend as I soaked up the ambience.
Many of the people living in the village clearly make their living in one way or another from the tourists. There are small shops selling handicrafts and local tea etc. Others will prepare a home cooked meal for your lunch at a reasonable price. The view above is from the roof top of such a home. After selecting what we wanted from the fresh local produce in her kitchen, our hostess encouraged us to enjoy the view from the roof while we waited for lunch to be ready.
These villages are great beauty spots in China and as such attract art students from all over the country. School was just over for the year so there were many taking advantage of the break or on group trips.