Qufu to Taishan

This was an exciting day. We began our Confucius tour with a visit to the main gate of the temple where at 8.00am actors and actresses performed ritual dances showing the elements of Confucianism.


We then walked inside the gate and began to have an understanding of the immense size of the temple and its grounds. There were 9 courtyards and many different sections. With the old trees dotting the courtyards and the tablets with chinese engravings these gave a feeling of the sacredness of the site. However the highlight of the temple visit was seeing a group of similarly clad young men and women presenting arrangements of flowers in a ceremony to Confucius. Unlike the actors and actresses at the start of the morning, these were everyday people who were solemnly acknowledging Confucius.  I was deeply moved.

Later, we met one of the women and she explained that she worked in a finance company and once a year they come with others from the company to present gifts to Confucius. How amazing and touching that we were there to see this.

Following the temple visit we walked to the Mansion which was the home of Confucius descendants for 74 generations. It was interesting to see the architecture style and hear an explanation of where the wives all lived. However I felt it a little sad that we were not able to walk into the buildings and had to view most of them through the windows.

Returning to our cars we began our journey to Taishan  mountain. This was a drive of about 90 minutes and we arrived early afternoon. Ian and I caught the local bus, tourist bus and then cable car to get to the top of the mountain. As it has been a Taoist and Confucius place of worship for 5,000 years it was wonderful to see the temples scattered over the mountain all in use. Incense was lit and it was an active place of worship.

On the way back to the hotel we left the local bus to seek out the night market that we had read about in the Lonely Planet guide. This was set up by the river in the town and there were games, animals to buy and win, goods of all sorts to buy and then many local food and drink stalls. We chose a dish…and as I couldn’t find anyone to tell me what it was called in English I will have to describe it. Cold noodles were placed together on a hotplate and flattened and cooked. An egg was cracked on the top of this and it was then flipped so cooked on both sides. Here is the interesting part…onions,herbs and several other concoctions and sauces were added including a small hotdog. The egg/noodle was rolled with the ingredients inside and then cut into slices and served. For this delicacy we paid only 5 RMB each. It was wonderful !

Posted in Vulcan on Tour

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Wine and More Wine – OleBilbao OLD and NEW Monday dawned sunny and warm and we headed down to the Guggenheim Museum, even though it is closed we wanted to relish the slick titanium skin, contrasted against the smooth pale limestone blocks. Everything glistened in the bright morning sun, reflections of the curved surfaces bounced off the water surrounding the metal walls and the metallic sculptures in the forecourts around the Guggenheim. Did you know that every surface in the building is curved and there are no straight lines thus emphasising the organic flowing lines of this magnificent Frank Gehry masterpiece Tomorrow we’ll visit this amazing museum along with our Silk Road companions Pat and David who we are travelling with around Spain and Portugal in our trusty MGs. Hop on and off buses have always been a favourite and quick way of acquainting ourselves with a city. We cruised around the narrow streets enjoying the views from the top deck. We were diverted by police a few times into the back streets because of a rally of thousands of people marching along the main thoroughfare of the city. Red, white and Green flags and banners waving, fire crackers exploding, releasing clouds of smoke. How We hopped off a The Mercado de la Ribera one of the largest fresh food markets in Europe and we arrived just in time for some Pintxos which we enjoyed with a beer and Sangria. So many delicious sweet and savoury munchies to choose from – what a treat!

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