Hi, everyone! So, I am not throwing up these Chongqing posts quite as quickly as I promised. Fortunately, there has been a bit of a lull in the action in our Chengdu adventure anyway. Yer not missing much. We’re in a routine; we work a lot, we eat yummy food, we drink watery beer, and we hang out in the apartment a lot. We’ve been watching a lot of American TV. Homesick, still. I’m on a July countdown because after July I have a good feeling I’m going to get my China spunk back. I think I may have been saying that for a few posts now, but I’m confident. I’ll go back to my regular work schedule, Kevin and I will have more time to spend together on his days off, we’ll be able to do fun things, and we’ll be much closer to all the excitement that fall will bring! Until then, I’m not sad to reminisce about our last trip (almost a month ago- eek!) while I count down until our next one.
So, I left you with hotpot and Dazu carvings. That pretty much wrapped up Day 1 of our Chongqing vacation, although I should give a shout out to our hostel because we really enjoyed it. Next time. Day 2 we had a train to catch at 6pm, so we got up bright and early to try to explore as much of the city as we could.
Our hostel was located downtown, walking distance from where the Jialing River joins the Yangtze, so we first wanted to walk up and have a look at Chongqing’s defining geographical feature. The rivers seem pretty central to the way Chongqing has developed, from its layout, to its weather, to its economy, to its tourism. I would be lying if I said it was the most scenic landscape I have seen, though…
From there we decided to have a look at the city planning museum. That turned out to be more than a little on the boring side (mostly, probably, because it was all in Chinese) but an invaluable stop due to some emergency tummy issues on both of our parts. Wouldn’t recommend the entrance fee for the exhibits, unless you read Chinese and/or have a serious interest in city development, but would recommend for the clean, sit down toilet. TMI? I knew we liked Chengdu hotpot better than Chongqing’s..
Anywho, after that little hiccup we were back on the move! Another geographical feature that sets Chongqing apart from other cities (read: Chengdu in all its spread out, never ending flatness) is that it’s hilly. The downtown area where we stayed was covered in little backstreets and staircases going up and down the city. They weren’t well lit, which made for some confusion and anxiety when trying to navigate around the night before. But armed with daylight and our camera, we were excited to try again. There is a preserved blend of old and new/rotting and well maintained buildings for which the city is known. We did think there was a lot of character that we don’t see in Chengdu, maybe because Chengdu had better city planning, or a head start on modernizing. I’m not sure. But, Chongqing does live up to it’s reputation for being hectic, chaotic, and dirty.
After bumming around for awhile we decided to head to Pipa Mountain Park, which is supposedly the highest point in the city. Figuring we wouldn’t have time to explore the whole city, we might as well get a look at it. Besides, I love a park in a city. We should have know, given the smog/fog situation, that the views would be less than stellar, but it was nice nonetheless. And it wasn’t too far out of the way because Chongqing has a pretty expansive metro system. Unlike Chengdu *ahem.
From there we decided to head to what we considered the main attraction. The Art District. A big motivator for even coming to this city. We hopped back on the metro, and then a bus for a few stops. I wondered if we’d know/recognize when it was time to get off… But then we saw this:
Bingo! But first, we had to find some lunch. Quick diversion down a side street to a row of mom and pop restaurants.
Truly tasty lunch. That pot was packed full of all kinds of different stuff. Lots of surprises, but none of the bad kind (ie organs).
Back on track. We followed the colors and the graffiti around for awhile which led us to the art school. Campus was gorgeous, covered in sculptures, naturally. We were hoping to go to some museums but realized it was a holiday and they were closed. No problem, though, I feel like we got our art fix!
At this point we figured that we’d better head back to the train station, especially given our track record with missing trains/planes. We got back on the subway and were delivered right to the train station. Chongqing really wasn’t so bad to navigate. From there we made our short and sweet 2 hour bullet train ride back to Chengdu, in time to meet our friends out for drinks (it was a Friday night!). I snapped some pictures that don’t do the countryside justice; it’s beautiful. I love the train. Especially the fast ones.
There was a lot more we wished we could have seen. Chongqing is a ginormous city. One of the biggest in China. Plus, it has a lot of historical importance, which we didn’t really get a chance to dig into. But, we only had the time we had and so we were glad we got to go at all.
The next day we went to Big Love music festival. Posts about that, and the hostel we stayed in coming up soon! Xo.