Looking down on the farmlands.
On our first trip to a tourist place for the teachers from Australia, we were taken to a place known for its Peach Blossoms. Houshan is not far from Shaoxing.
The bus let us off at the entrance of the tourist place, but the name was in Chinese, so there is some conjecture about its name.
On entering, we found many gardens, and walked through a village and over an ancient stone bridge before starting what was to be a long walk up the mountain. This place was quarried for its stone and as a result there were some amazing rock formations and lakes - it is hard to describe, so I hope the photos give some idea of what it was like.
Certainly as it was the beginning of spring there were lots of flowers blooming - from the many magnolia blooms, to the many blossoms on the peach and other trees in the park. It was a very popular park - and most, like us, climbed the steps onwards and upwards.
The day was somewhat overcast with light rain, and low cloud which did not help the photography - and on a clear day I could imagine many wonderful photographs of the countryside that kept getting further from us as we climbed.
One of the amusements for us were the number of children who came and wanted to speak English with the foreigners and have their photos taken with them. As one who likes to take photos and seldom likes to be the target for any camera, it was quite amusing!
The rock formations and lakes, were fascinating, and the steps upwards were interrupted from time to time with a small building with typical Chinese style roof. In some of these, people were playing cards or just sitting.
There were quite a number of visitors with tour guides and we found ourselves caught up in the midst of the groups from time to time.
I wondered about going so high - I had a cold, and it was cool, and I had several coughing bouts, but apparently there was no choice as our group was to descend on another part of the mountain, and anyway we just had to visit the temple on the top of the mountain, so bravely, cautiously I climbed the steps that in many places had steep drops on the side of the steps and nothing to hang on to.
Onwards and upwards - it seemed never ending.
Halfway up we found ourselves in the midst of a tea plantation - a new experience for me!
Right on the top of the mountain was a very old and large Buddhist temple - and followers were lighting incense and praying before the very large Buddha inside. We wandered around and marveled at the effort of the Chinese who had climbed so high onto the mountain with all their building materials, and the statues of the Buddha and the other amazing things that were on the mountain in and around the temple.
After a while we went down - this time through the midst of many peach trees that were just starting to burst into blossom.
The park was huge and we ventured into another area where there were horse rides, and archery, and other activities for children.
It was a long tiring and fascinating visit to the tourist place - and when we left the park we were taken to a restaurant closer to the city of Shaoxing for a feast of Chinese food at a restaurant on a canal, in quite a fascinating area.
The food was great and kept coming - as it does in Chinese banquets, and afterwards we wandered around the grounds.
A beautiful day - marred a little by the occasional rain showers.