This morning’s breakfast was a wee bit more limited but we made do. A boiled egg handed to us as we walked into the dining room and some very very white bread. And for some reason no tea despite asking for it. Weird.
We checked out and drove to Hongcun Village. The village is an Unesco site and contains 150 residences from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is very much a tourist area, but several thousand people still live here. The movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was filmed here.
Some photos to show the beauty. Lovely bridge entry over the man-made ‘lake’.
It is smoking hot today – about 30 degrees. We stopped for some iced tea and an iced coffee. Just like home in a 350 year old building. Actually that sounds more like Europe.
There are both souvenir shops as well as local markets. The local stuff was way more interesting. Pork hocks for sale.
As well as teas and spices.
Dried bamboo – so tasty.
And some very tasty looking chili mixes.
And as always “fast food” on the side of the streets. This time is was fried chicken mostly with seasame bread in the background. If it was lunch time we would have stopped and ate some. Smelled very good.
There were tons of art students doing their projects. Mighty nice subject matter.
On our way back to Huangshan we stopped by the side of the road to see tea growing.
We’ve seen tea growing in the Rift Valley of Kenya and now here. The ‘girl’ tea (picked before “tomb sweeping festival” in April) and ‘woman tea’ (second flush) is mostly picked by hand. The third “grandma” flush is often done with scissors or shears and considered lower quality – this is the tea that is exported!
From there we had an amazing lunch back in Huangshan. The cuisine here in Anhui province is sweet and salty. Sweet and sour pork/chicken hail from this part of the country. And yes we had that as part of our lunch.
A couple blocks away is the Tunxi Old Street – an ancient area of town, but mostly a tourist street now. We had a small amount of time so we wandered down a bit. We had our final tea ceremony in China and yes bought yet more tea. In Anhui they grow 3 main kinds. Two types of Green tea called Mao Feng and Monkey Tea and a Qi Men black tea. Black tea (or red tea as it is actually called) wasn’t grown in China until 1875 to support the British markets. The high quality Monkey Tea is hand rolled and you must inspect the packaging to ensure what you are buying. The machine pressed stuff is flat instead of cylindrical and loses is flavour too quickly. You can easily see the difference in leaf width. We both liked the Qi Men best. It has a slightly sweet lychee flavor and a beautiful red colour. I’m not much of a tea drinker but I can appreciate good tea.
Tunxi Old Street.
Our guide, Jimmy, left us in Huangshan and we continued onto Hangzhou with just the driver (who speaks no English). The drive took about 3 and a half hours and was quite pleasant – Mr Wang made sure he stopped at the obligatory rest stops along the way so we could use the bathroom!
The flight to Hong Kong was another 2 hours, so here I am at midnight finishing today’s blog. Last stop and it sort feels good and a bit sad. Tomorrow we sleep in and head out to start seeing HK.