The town is well away from the usual foreigner’s path so you will need to use Mandarin or sign language, google translate etc.
This is a small place with the town divided by a river. The bridges create choke points with quite amazing raffic jams.
Getting around by foot or bus is best.
My recommendation is make sure you visit the old Town first before taking on the hike, boat trip on the river etc. The old town is easily the most interesting part of Zhenyuan.
They have, amongst the usual China retail outlets, impressive cake shops with white chef hats etc and many customers. They do beautiful birthday cakes, cakes in the shape of a Ferrari etc etc.
Hike near the town
The old town is crumbling with a few buildings being cared for and many in state of collapse
Play – whole village party & dressing up
Blind Date park – where village boy and village girl meet, hopefully.
Streets, rooftops ….
Chengdu has many attractions that even some locals are not aware of.
Here I look at 2:
- Jinsha archaeological site and museum
- Dufu Poet’s Thatched Cottage park
Both are within the city and accessible via Metro and/or bus.
Jinsha is understood to be where the Sinxangdui people moved after abandoning Sanxingdui. We can only speculate on the reasons for this move.
JInsha is a covered excavation site and museum combined.
5,000+ artefacts were uncovered at this site with some having been reburied, such as ivory, and others on display.
I cover a tiny portion of these artifacts below:
Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage is a 24-acre park and museum in honour of the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu.
I have not taken pictures of the cottage but rather just enjoyed the park built around the reconstructed cottage.
The cottage itself has been rebuilt at least once, possibly more times, so is somewhat like your grandfather’s axe. But worth seeing while enjoying the park.
You will find plenty of information on-line about Sanxingdui, unfortunately a lot of it is supposition as there are few known records of this time and place in China’s history. The culture appears to have vanished.
This means that little is actually certain about the culture that existed at Sanxingdui and Jinsha other than the artefacts themselves of which the bronzes and gold masks are the ‘rock stars’.
The photos below do not cover all the bronzes and to be honest I just ran out of time to see everything.
Getting to Sanxingdui, once you are in Chengdu, is a little awkward but manageable. Most common route seems to be to get to the Panda Park, where you can get a very large dose of cute pandas – recommended.
But even if you don’t want to see the pandas locals seem to still go to the panda park first and then catch a bus to Sanxingdui. The bus will pick you up again after few hours and then drop you back in Chengdu.
A visit to Jinsha is also recommended. Jinsha is an archaeological site covering the culture that followed Sanxingdui.
Another subject for theories – why the move to Jinsha? Earthquake, invasion, flooding, …. pick your theory.
Jinsha has more masks but the piece de resistance is the Golden Sun Bird below.
Jinsha is accessible via the Chengdu Metro.
There are plenty of other spots of interest in Chengdu including the Dufu Poet’s Thatched Cottage which is essentially a nice park in the middle of Chengdu set around the site of the famous poet’s cottage. http://www.philpither.com/china/chengdu-jinsha-dufu-poets-thatched-cottage/
Hobart Farmers Market Christmas Eve – a small girl, fascinated by a busker, and then he makes a fart sound.
She looked around, I imagine, to see if any ‘adults’ had noticed – No – so back to enjoying the music.
A great little market – we had assumed on Christmas eve it would be closed but walked down anyway.
Pleased we did – local produce – honey, cheeses, an enormous variety of sausages, berries, buskers of course ………
Being Christmas Eve we were just before the arrival of the Sydney to Hobart yachts and the massive food & wine market that goes with it.
Highly recommended but no time to enjoy on this trip.
Near Maydena(west of Hobart) on Christmas Day a tree had literally just fallen across the road – a near miss for us – thought this could hold us up for a while as there were few homes visible nearby and it was Christmas Day after all.
A few minutes later, locals appeared with a ‘ute’, chainsaw and eventually a small tractor.
With trapped drivers assisting we were on our way within 45 minutes. Brilliant – Merry Christmas indeed.
Interesting side note – as you can see the women decided it was important to sweep the leaves and sawdust off the road using the tree branches. No idea why.
Anyway a few days later I mentioned this to some women at Lake Pedder and the reply was ‘they had to do something out of frustration, because the boys controlled the chainsaw and the women couldn’t get there hands on to do any sawing’ – there you go there is an explanation for everything.
Back to the trip – we started in Smithton(in the North West) where great friends very generously let us use their house and car.
Our journey was essentially clockwise Smithton, Devonport, Launceston, Swansea, Hobart, Maydena, Lake Pedder, Bronte Park, Strahan, Cradle Mountain and back to Smithton.
Town with a ‘Woollies’ and the important basics but not big on features that would attract many visitors at this stage.
No bus service from Devonport, Burnie, Strahan etc. You need your own bike/car to get there.
However, a great base for us – See Tarkine drives later.
Then heading East …. and clockwise
Stanley & The Nut
Famous spot & nice little tourist town, very pretty cemetery but very light on restaurants mid week.
The Nut is the hill behind the town – has a cable car that runs when the wind is not too strong – the wind is often strong!
You can walk up in any weather.
Rocky Cape National Park
We drove back and forth to Devonport so many times but actually only turned into this park once on a wild day. Need more time to explore.
The tortured bush below emphasises the tough location.
and then seemingly completely out of context, in the open and exposed to the worst of Bass Strait weather was aboriginal art.
For a little more background
Onwards clockwise —
Launceston or ‘Lornie’
Nice town but everyone wanted to see the zoo.
Quite unique – the entrance gate has a large Gorilla perched over the top – looking like King Kong had escaped from a film set, plus an unusual mixture of Lions, a camel(alone in an enclosure with a sheep – ‘mates’ apparently), a concrete stuffed crocodile, a few talkative cockatoos – 1 miaowing(they suspect this Cockatoo spent a lot of time alone in a house with a cat), many Tassie Devils rushing here and there, and a few meerkats (all one sex- cannot remember which) plus a randy wallaby that fell in ‘love’ with a young woman’s leg – ‘ew eeek it won’t let go’ – until it was satisfied of course. Photo coming!
Swansea and Freycinet
To be continued – taking a ‘wee’ break. This means more travels/pictures/website updates/ …..
Cape Freycinet National Park
Not the traditional images you will see, rather a personal take,
I am drawn more to the fallen leaves, branches than to the golden Freycinet beaches & drawn more to the messy darker corners than the sunny highlands.
Click on any image to see more detail.
The Tarkine is is essentially a circular drive covering inland forests and Bass Strait coast in the North West.
Both are equally stunning but different – inland is deep quiet forests and sink holes while coastal route is wild, wind and wave swept
If unusual architecture and photography appeal then this building likely has it all along with a touch of the macabre.
A concrete oddity with ramps and air bridges(27 bridges apparently – I didn’t count them) and bare concrete everywhere.
Seems to also be a very popular spot for young guys to take pictures of young women who in turn actually seem much more interested in their phones than posing but maybe that is as close to ‘posing’ or any sign of interest you will get these days.
If it all gets a bit much – especially if you think you can hear the ghostly lowing of doomed cattle – then head down stairs to the Starbucks(even here) and maybe check out the DJI store for a new drone.
A favourite walk In Singapore – see also Looking for Treetop Walk in Macritchie Reservoir Park
Impressive rain over the week before this visit – the plants were sprouting, the insects devouring and the snakes presumably busy somewhere in the foliage. A few fish leaping in the water and at least 1 fisherman not greatly bothered by No Fishing signs.
The reservoir beats the Botanical Gardens hands down and does not seem that busy. A little more of a trek by bus but well worth it.
A walk around Hong Kong Park, Admiralty looking for ….
An afternoon at Tsz Shan Monastery with a new lens (Fuji 55-200mm)
This was a ‘back to my roots’ trip during which I took a few photos – so not a definitive view of New Zealand’s South Island but hopefully enough to pique your curiosity.
Milford Sound below also happens to be a location used for the movie ‘Alien Covenant’ – you’ll see great views of Fiordland even in the Trailer. Trailer – Alien Covenant