Parks Gardens N an Audrey Hepburn Cafe
Trip Start Jan 01, 2005
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After paying paid another nights accommodation which thankfully had gone down in price to what I haggled for yesterday I headed out into the steamy world beyond the coolness of the hotel (which was found on Quanjiao Lu) and after about ten minutes walking it began to pour so I ran into a little noodle bar and sat for Shaggou.
(Clay pot noodles with three types of noodles, several tiny eggs, green leafy vegetables, spices and several types of meat - awesome dish!)
After the weather died down I continued and was soon crossing the Shouchun Lu Bridge and I then ducked down the first alley way in search of Mingjiao Si (Temple). The alley way led to the cities Walking Street (obviously meaning no cars) called Huaihe Lu. I found the temple which overlooked the Walking Street and paid my 10 Yuan to enter. If you're a temple person it really is worth a visit. It has bight happy colours and compared to the streets below it is a very peaceful place to be.
It was built around AD500 and it's built on a small hill.
Though the grounds are very tiny compared to many temples it still is a beautiful place.
From there I headed across Shouchun Lu to Xiaoyaojin Gongyuan (park) and spent an hour or so walking amongst its leafy green trees. It really is a beautiful garden with so much 'green life' that much of China finds it hard to offer in a city.
There are several small lakes and pagodas to rest in, especially when it buckets down every twenty minutes or so.
I then headed down Suzhou Lu towards the river and began walking along the continuous river side park. It was such a beautiful walk. It seems that Hefei really is a welcomed green city here in China. It is totally surrounded by a river side park that offers walking tracks and little rest stops.
The cities bridges break the park but it's always nice to walk to the middle of a bridge and look down the river.
When I reached Mengcheng Lu I headed back in towards the city and as I was walking I found the most wonderful coffee shop. For those like me, Hefei not only offers a billion parks but it also offers an Audrey Hepburn Coffee Shop called 'Roma Holiday'. On the outside are pictures from the Roman Holiday movie and on the inside are many pictures of beautiful Audrey.
I went in to have al look at the prices but decided against a 40 Yuan coffee when I could have one for 4.5 Yuan at KFC. I had a short chat to the staff and showed them my Audrey tattoo (from Funny Face) which they took several pictures of and I then waved good bye and headed across to Xinghua Gongyuan. There I walked for over an hour. A much more open park than Xiaoyaojin Gongyuan.
Another difference was there was no rain and the clouds had departed.
You see the beauty of Audrey!
I then headed back into the city to mingle with the crowds. Whilst walking I spied a pagoda top so I used that as a pin point and zig zagged my way towards it. I found it down a little road I think was called Huaihe Lu and to find the pagoda you have to enter though a crowded market place which seems has attached itself around the entire temple!
The market is full of colourful buckets and brooms etc.
The monk at the pagoda can speak English and told me the name of the pagoda but it was too crowded and I was too hot to write it down at the time and have now forgotten. I do remember that it is over five hundred years old and was built during the Ming Dynasty. I think it was six storeys high and from the top you get awesome views of Hefei City.
It was up here that I noticed that the market place and the temple really were happily living together!
I then made my way through the temple/market place and through the streets until I reached the Yuhua Pond Gardens where I spent a short time walking around. By now it was late afternoon and I still wanted to visit the Baohe Gongyuan which housed a Memorial for Master Bao just like back in Kaifeng. By the time I reached it I had around half an hour before it all closed down so I grabbed the 20 Yuan ticket which got me into his grounds only.
There were several types of tickets and with no English I had no idea what each was for. Luckily Super Staff English Speaker came to my rescue. The 50 Yuan ticket got you into everything but I can't remember what the other one was for or how much it was.
I was too busy looking at the beautiful girl and simply nodding...ha ha ha!
After leaving the Bao Grounds I spent the next few hours slowly walking around the Baohe Gongyuan (park). It has a walking track that goes around the entire lake and several little bridges you can play on...if you were young or if you had a girl with you I guess. I then headed to KFC for an ElcheapO coffee break and rest. By the time I had sat down the sun had gone and it had been replaced by colourful and flashing neon lights.
Night had once again found me in a new and exciting city!
As I have pretty much done everything I want to do here in Hefei city I think I'll head to Nanjing tomorrow. I never really wanted to visit Nanjing due to it supposedly being one of China's 'Furnaces' in summer but once I began to read 'The Rape of Nanking' I felt myself really wanting to visit for the War Memorial.
So Hefei, what a beautiful little part of the city I have seen.
I would stay longer but my map has no other green parts on it and Leon told me that what I have or will have seen by tonight is pretty much it. Surely there must be more but without a local it's pretty hard to find out so Nanjing, here I come! Hefei is small and interesting for a few days if you don't walk as fast as me. It really is kind of like being on an island as the small old part of the city is built within a huge horse shoe of water. On one side is the Nanfei He (river) and on the other side are the Baohe Gongyuan and the Yuhua Pond. All around this area are beautiful gardens, lakes, trees and walks.
You really can almost walk around the entire section of the city along water and amongst gardens. It is the cities east, that is the top of the horse shoe that allows the outer city to creep in.
Beers N Noodles toya.....shane
The soundtrack to this album was the Latin sounds of Dickson Martinez
The album was 'Flamenco Falsetas'