China #12 - Welcome to Pingyao!

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August 25th 2010
Saved: December 5th 2014
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Harmony Guest HouseHarmony Guest HouseHarmony Guest House

We followed the advice of the Lonely Planet Travel Guide and fully agreed that this friendly, economical place was the best hotel in town!
We took the night train from Beijing, and after 14 hours arrived in Pingyao. I won't write too much about this beautiful walled city - I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

I loved wandering the cobbled streets, peeking into doorways, admiring the handicraft of the local shoemakers, tasting the street food of the area. The ancient buildings were mostly greyish-brown, but the fruit and vegatable market in the street and the brightly colored fabrics in the clothing shops seemed dazzling against the drab backdrop.

People were very friendly and helpful, whether they spoke English or not! We loved our guest house - it was actually fun to be among fellow travellers from all over the world after having spend our first two weeks as the only foreigners in sight!

All in all, Pingyao was a pleasant change of pace after the bustle of Beijing. From here we took another night train to Xi'An - home of the Terra Cotta Warriors. That will be my last China blog entry -- really truly -- so stay tuned for the
Our Traditional BedOur Traditional BedOur Traditional Bed

A seven foot wide stone bed that can be heated from below is topped with a thin foam mattress. We slept comfortably on this huge bed.
grand finale. Enjoy Pingyao thru the lens of my camera.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21

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Street SceneStreet Scene
Street Scene

Old town Pingyao is very charming. This picture was taken the first morning we arrived before all the shops opened.
A 4-Star HotelA 4-Star Hotel
A 4-Star Hotel

They use images of coins or gold bars to indicate a hotel's ranking. It's all about wealth!
An Elegant CourtyardAn Elegant Courtyard
An Elegant Courtyard

The ornate original woodwork was lovingly restored. The charm of the ancient architecture made these places seem so welcoming.
Ornate ShopfrontOrnate Shopfront
Ornate Shopfront

Over the doorways you usually see fancy signs like this one.
Courtyard RestaurantCourtyard Restaurant
Courtyard Restaurant

Most all of the guest houses and restaurants were in restored traditional homes, complete with courtyard seating.
Garden RestaurantGarden Restaurant
Garden Restaurant

The central courtyard was always a gathering place, for eating, drinking, chatting. We met lots of interesting fellow travellers in Pingyao.
City Walls with Lookout PostCity Walls with Lookout Post
City Walls with Lookout Post

The crumbling dirt walls belie the age of this ancient village. The wall forms a square, about a mile on each side.
Follow the City WallsFollow the City Walls
Follow the City Walls

A stone walkway stretches along the interior of the original city walls.
Market TowerMarket Tower
Market Tower

Right in the center of the walled city, this tower rises above the low buildings which surround it. Lovely views from the top.
Pingyao RooftopsPingyao Rooftops
Pingyao Rooftops

From the central market tower you can see this jumble of roof tiles, some still with colored glazes.
Old Fashioned Horse CartOld Fashioned Horse Cart
Old Fashioned Horse Cart

Each evening at dusk this guy brings his cart up the main street to pose for tourist photos. I snuck a picture from behind!
Weighing VegetablesWeighing Vegetables
Weighing Vegetables

Using an old-fashioned hand balance scale, this elderly vendor serves his customer.
Squash VendorSquash Vendor
Squash Vendor

The farmers bring their wares to the main street - a spot of color among the brownish-grey buildings.
Sleepy Market VendorSleepy Market Vendor
Sleepy Market Vendor

Wake up and sell me some tomatoes!
Summer School!Summer School!
Summer School!

Walking a side street I happened upon these kids having English class. I paused to give them a lesson in colors (their teacher barely spoke English!)
Old Man in DoorwayOld Man in Doorway
Old Man in Doorway

Lots of old folks have stayed in the village. They sit out on the street and watch the world go by.
Grouchy BarberGrouchy Barber
Grouchy Barber

He tried to charge me money for having taken this photo. Big grump.
Spinning ThreadSpinning Thread
Spinning Thread

This old gal brought out antiques (from her attic?) and kept busy spinning while waiting for customers.
Renovations UnderwayRenovations Underway
Renovations Underway

Many of the old buildings have new woodwork being installed. A lot of the old houses have been converted to guest houses.

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