Tai'an, Mt Taishan and Qufu
Trip Start Jul 19, 2008
21Trip End Sep 29, 2008
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Where I stayed
Green Tree Inn Tai'an
Me and have Pete have just spent the past few days hanging out around the city of Tai'an and the holy mountain of Taishan.
We arrived in Tai'an on the 14th via high speed train (these Chinese trains are awesome compared to British ones!), where we spent most of the day finding our hotel, booking train tickets and chilling in our hotel room watching the paralympics.
On the 15th, we decided to wonder around the city of Tai'an. We started by walking through some nice garden close to the mountain entrance. Once we reached the entrance (we climb the Mt 2moz), we ventured into a park area and went to the Tiger Hill Park (a sanctuary for tigers). The park was cool, with lots of tigers (including white tigers and tiger cubs) roaming around the park with the people safely inside a fenced tunnel. After the tigers, we wondered through the Daizong gate (original entrance to the holy Mt) and past a food market, which sold all sorts of fruit, veg and fish, plus some nice cakes
The 16th was the big day, Climb Mount Taishan, all 1544 meters of it (via 6600 steps!). The hike up was dotted with various temples, shrines and monuments which were all pretty cool. We left early and reached the First Gate of Heaven at about 7am. We wondered through Guandi Temple and the Red Gate Palace, ascending the mountain ever so slowly. Passing Douma Temple, we passed the Rock Valley scriptures, a series of Chinese characters carved into a rock face which was cool. Continuing are ascent past Horse rest ridge and Skywalk Bridge, we reached the Midway Gate to Heaven (or Hell as i was calling it by then!). From here, we could see the top and the climb that lay ahead (steep as hell it was). We continued on past the God of Wealth Temple (now a hotel), Cloud Bridge and Five Pine Pavillion reaching the path of 18 bends (or my version, the Ascension of Death!)
Anyway, after that calamity, the 17th we decided to go to the town of Qufu (home of Confucius, some important Chinese philosopher). After a quick bus ride, we arrived and headed for Confucius Temple, which was ok but nothing special. We then wondered past the Bell and Drum Towers before entering the Confucius Mansions (where he used to live) which were pretty cool. Passing by the Yan Temple (closed) we headed towards Confucius Forest and the cemetery where he is buried. We past through a number of gates, including the North Gate, the Eternal Spring Archway, the Forest Gates and the Erlin Gates before entering the Forest. We eventually found Confucius' Tomb (just a mound really) and then wondered around the forest seeing other tombs and gravestones. We then head back to the bus station, walking along side the city walls and down some alleyways.
Today (18th), we had a well needed lie in before checking out of the hotel and catching the high speed train to Nanjing, where we have 3 days to look around.
Hope everyone is well and see you all soon(ish)