Jinan #2: Five Dragon Pool

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April 19th 2019
Published: December 10th 2019
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After checking out of my hotel, I went on the search for breakfast and coffee. I ended up at Starbucks, where I had a coffee and some kind of breakfast crossiant. Starbucks really is a mecca for foreigners as I saw more in there than I had at the different places I had visited the day before. My breakfast wasn't really substantial enough, so I wandered back up Furong Ancient Street looking at the food options. I ended up at a stall selling duck wraps. It was 18 RMB, not too cheap, but it hit the spot and filled me up nicely.

Yesterday had been a nice sunny day albeit a bit windy. Today was overcast and definitely a lot chillier. I headed to the Five Dragon Head Pools Scenic Area. It is really close to Baotu Springs, just a five minute walk away. The entrance fee was really cheap only about 10 or 15 RMB. I thought that this was the place that I had researched online to visit, but I had, in fact, confused it with another place. I am an idiot at times. After going through the entrance gate, I was immediately greeted by five dragon head statues with water coming from their mouths. This park has 27 springs. Legend has it that a great general, Qin Qiong, lived here. However, on a stormy night his house collapsed and as it fell to the ground a pool was created in which a fairy dragon lived. In later dynasties, people built the Five Dragon Hall and Five Dragon Altar to pray for rain and their wishes were granted.

I started my walk around the park. There were a few people about but most seemed to belocals out enjoying the park in their free time and lunch breaks. I walked along the paths between the long drooping trees next to ponds and streams. It was really beautiful. I soon came to Qin Qiong Temple, which is a rather new temple. I always think of temples as being old, so I was quite shocked at how recently this one was built. The temple was peaceful and spotlessly clean. From there, I continued walking and came to a pavilion which extended out over the water. I relaxed in there with my book for a while and also watched life pass Me by. I had wanted to continue on, but the path was blocked as construction work was going on. I made my way back and then headed right. It was quite busy here with families and there was a raised stone walkway surtounded by a shallow body of water. I think the spring was in the middle and there were some stone sculptures of crabs and frogs. They were quite cute and a nice touch.

In the next place I came to, the water was a pretty turquoise colour. It looked gorgeous. Then I was at the main pond, Five Dragon Pond, in the park. The pond was pretty big and the whole park is surprisingly bigger than it looks on the map. The water was a gorgeous colour and I wonder what made it that colour, the mineral content? The surrounding rocks? There was some kind of museum in the buildings next to the pond, but it was pretty boring, so I only had a quick walk through, before continuing on to the other side of the pond. I wandered into the gardens and took a rest, before heading back to explore the last corner of the park. I came to another pool which had a statue next to it, I was feeling lazy though so ddin't bother to walk over to thd name plate to find out who the person in the statue was. I presume that he was some kind of great teacher as he had a book in hand and there were two small children included in the statue. This spring was called Crescent Spring. I sat on one of the benches for a while and admired the spring, before heading over to the rather smart looking building next to it. This building was, if I remember corectly, the former headquarters of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) of Shandong Province. I really liked the style of the building and although one can walk through the entrance and into the courtyard, the actual building is out of bounds. I wished I could have went inside, as I think the interior would be a great place for a museum. I came across another statue, and, yet again, I have no idea who the people were it was depicting. The last place I came to was Jade Spring. This is a small uprising spring that got its name from the jade white spring water.

I exited the scenic area and headed to the bus stop. I missed a bus by literally seconds. From what I had seen online, this bus didn't come as frequently as others, so I resigned myself to a 20 minute wait. Luckily, the bus came in about 15 minutes, it was rammed however, so I had to stand all the way back to the station. The train station was really busy. There is a separate security/check in area for trains going to Beijing, which my crappy Mandarin skills managed to notice as there was zero English. Then the wait and queuing for the train. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Jinan, I literally picked it due Its proximity to Beijing and was surprised that there seemed to be quite a few things there to do. I really enjoyed the two parks/springs/scenic areas that I visited, Furong Ancient Street not so much. My hotel was in a really good location as the neighbourhood felt veey old school. I hope that I can return to Jinan in the future to see more of the place.

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