Friday, December 15, 2017

Sights to See: SONGPAN Ancient Town in Jin'an Town, Sichuan Province, China


SONGPAN Ancient Town  in Jin'an Town, Songpan County.

main street in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
main street in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


Due to its strategic location, Songpan has functioned as a military base since the Tang Dynasty.  The Min River runs through it, and the town is filled with grand and ancient buildings and considered one of the most interesting historical towns in Sichuan Province.  Songpan was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and so the city gates and protective wall are well-preserved.  The inner city has five gates, and the outer city has two.  The gates are built of flagstone, some of which are embellished with delicate engravings.  The outer city wall is approximately 4 miles long and more than 33 feet high.  It is constructed of giant blue bricks that measure 20 inches long by 10 inches wide by 5 inches thick.  It is interesting to know that the bricks are made of sticky rice, lime, and wood oil, and each weighs 7 pounds.

inner city gate in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
inner city gate in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


At the entrance to one of the gates, the celebrated ancient love story of Princess Wencheng and the Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo is depicted by a giant stone statue of them.

statue of Princess Wencheng and Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
statue of Princess Wencheng and Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


Four ethnic groups are residents here--Tibetan, Qiang, Hui, and Han--giving this ancient town a unique multi-cultural style.  Ancient stores sell precious objects such as silver bracelets and rings, ethnic costumes, and horn combs, but also sell inexpensive and lovely souvenirs (I bought a lovely floral pashmina shawl for under $5).

shopkeeper in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
shopkeeper in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


Unusual regional foods include braised male duck with aweto, fritillaria chicken, crispy yam, dried mushroom, and Jiuzhai mineral water.

street food stands in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
street food stands in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


cakes in bakery in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
cakes in bakery in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


One of my favorite things here was viewing the many unusual and interesting vehicles.

vehicle in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
vehicle in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


vehicle in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
vehicle in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


cozy motorcycle in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China
cozy motorcycle in Songpan Ancient Town in Sichuan Province, China


Each year, the fair of Zharu Temple is held on January 5, and the grand religious ceremony Mazi Fair is held in May.


Introduction to Jiuzhaigou Valley area 

More Jiuzhaigou Valley Area Sights: 

Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park/Jiuzhaigou Ravine   


Zhangzha Town 

Huanglong National Scenic Reserve (Yellow Dragon)/Huanglong Scenic Area 
 

Things to do in nearby Chengdu.

Things to do in China.  

More China items.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sights to See: Huanglong National Scenic Reserve (Yellow Dragon)/Huanglong Scenic Area, Sichuan Province, China


Huanglong National Scenic Reserve (Yellow Dragon)/Huanglong Scenic Area  In Songpan County; www.huanglong.com.  Daily 8am-5pm.  60-200 yuen; tram 80 yuen up, 40 down.  Situated at 10,000 to 14,000 feet, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for spectacular scenery featuring colorful, crystal-clear travertine (calcium carbonate, also called talpatate) ponds and streams.  All 693 ponds (another estimate is 3,400!) are different sizes, shapes, and colors.  The valley’s name translates as “yellow dragon” because the path of golden-colored ponds look like a golden dragon is winding its way through the valley.  A visit begins with an enclosed tram ride to the top of a mountain, where an oxygen hut is available, followed by a long walk downhill via a wood boardwalk with thousands of steps.  It can take 4 to 5 hours to do properly.  The park’s most distinctive feature is the terraced limestone pools filled with water in varied hues that cascades from ledge to ledge.  An abandoned Buddhist temple with Tibetan characteristics is one of the sights along the route; another smaller temple can be seen from the outside only.  The virgin forest of this area is home to Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkeys and giant pandas, but they are rarely seen.

rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


snowman at rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
snowman at rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


offering at rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
offering at rest stop on way to Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


map of Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
map of Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


gondola at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
gondola at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


at the top at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
at the top at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


oxygen hut at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
oxygen hut at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


view down at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
view down at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


stairway boardwalk at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
stairway boardwalk at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


rest area at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
rest area at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


taking a selfie in front of temple at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
taking a selfie in front of temple at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


travertine ponds at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
travertine ponds at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China






travertine ponds at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
travertine ponds at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


travertine ponds at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China
travertine ponds at Huanglong National Scenic Reserve in Sichuan Province, China


Introduction to Jiuzhaigou Valley area 


More Jiuzhaigou Valley Area Sights:

Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park/Jiuzhaigou Ravine   

Zhangzha Town 



Songpan Ancient Town
 

Things to do in nearby Chengdu.

Things to do in China.  

More China items.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images and video ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, December 8, 2017

Good Eats: Patsy’s Pizzeria, NYC


Patsy’s Pizzeria  206 E 60th St./2nd Ave., Upper East Side, (212) 688-9707.  L-D daily; $$.  Across the street from Dylan’s and Serendipity and close to  Bloomies, this popular family-friendly spot has been around since 1933 and was New York’s first pizzeria restaurant.  It seems to be situated inside a repurposed residence, which makes for many different seating areas both upstairs and downstairs.  Crispy thin-crust, coal-oven pizza is the specialty.  The arugula version is particularly good, as is the house salad.  You can split up a pizza into two sections, so for one pie we ordered half a margherita pizza and half a white pizza with roasted peppers and broccoli as toppings.  Don’t be in a hurry--service can be a tad slow.

main floor of Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC
main floor of Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC


top floor of Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC
top floor of Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC


pizza oven at Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC
pizza oven at Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC


house salad at Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC
house salad at Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC

   
arugula pizza at Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC
arugula pizza at Patsy’s Pizzeria in NYC

 Patsy's Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


More things to do in NYC.  

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.


images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Great Sleeps+Things to Do: Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China


Zhangzha Town  In Aba Autonomous Prefecture, Jiuzhaigou.  Located at the exit of the valley and nearby Songpan County, this town features an ever-increasing number of hotels.  It is important to know that a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck here on August 9, 2017, killing 19 people and injured 247.  

Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou  (+86) 837-7777777.  4 stars.  968 rooms; 3,000+yuen.  Pool; fitness center.  Featuring a gargantuan lobby and entry, this comfortable contemporary hotel has shiny marble floors and dramatic high ceilings throughout. 

lobby of Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
lobby of Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China

bonsai at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
bonsai at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China

guest room at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
guest room at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China

bathroom at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
bathroom at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China

The hotel's Riviera Coffee Shop serves an expansive breakfast and dinner buffet with local Sichuan and Tibetan dishes, including yak butter tea. 

marinated pig's ear with chili oil at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
marinated pig's ear with chili oil at Howard Johnson Tianyuan Resort Jiuzhaigou in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China


After dinner, my group walked next door to the Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park to see the  Romantic Show.  A don’t-miss performance that reveals the culture of the Zang and Qiang peoples, it has been described as “Cirque de Soliel meets Broadway meets opera with a little ’Miss Saigon’ thrown in for good measure.”  The auditorium is surprisingly immense, and creative staging includes performers rappelling down and walking sideways along the walls to the stage.  During an earthquake enactment, the seats actually shake.  When Tibetan prayer flags appear dramatically overhead at the end, the Chinese audience stands with hands over heart in prayer position to honor their ancestors.

entrance to Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
entrance to Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China

Monkey Man at Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
Monkey Man at Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China

Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China

show finale at Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
show finale at Jiuzhai Songcheng Romance Park in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China


Minjianghaoting International Hotel (also listed under Minjiangyuan)  This pleasant lower-end hotel has only a shower available, no bath tubs.  The dining room is bare and the food minimal, plus the floor in the dining area was super slippery--I think from steam. 


exterior of Minjianghaoting International Hotel in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
exterior of Minjianghaoting International Hotel in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China


street in front of Minjianghaoting International Hotel in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
street in front of Minjianghaoting International Hotel in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China


guest room at Minjianghaoting International Hotel in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China
guest room at Minjianghaoting International Hotel in Zhangzha Town, Sichuan Province, China


Introduction to Jiuzhaigou Valley area 


More Jiuzhaigou Valley Area Sights:

Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park/Jiuzhaigou Ravine  

Huanglong National Scenic Reserve (Yellow Dragon)/Huanglong Scenic Area 

Songpan Ancient Town
 


Things to do in nearby Chengdu.

Things to do in China.  

More China items.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sights to See: National Wild Turkey Center, Edgefield, South Carolina


National Wild Turkey Center  770 Augusta Rd., in Edgefield, (803) 637-3106.  When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.5 million wild turkeys in North America.  Now, after decades of efforts, the wild turkey has been brought back from near extinction and there are almost 7 million.  This organization is dedicated to wildlife habitat conservation in North America and to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of the country’s hunting heritage. 

exterior of National Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
exterior of National Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center  This is the only museum in the world dedicated to the wild turkey.  It displays the five species of wild turkey--Eastern Wild Turkey, Osceola Wild Turkey, Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Merriam’s Wild Turkey, Gould’s Wild Turkey, Ocellated Turkey--along with related items, including a great collection of turkey calls.  Interesting facts about the wild turkey include that it was once touted by Benjamin Franklin as a candidate for the national bird but lost out to the bald eagle, and that all male turkeys have a beard growing out of their chest.

How many kinds of wild turkeys have you seen?

taxidermied wild turkey at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
taxidermied wild turkey at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


taxidermied flying Gould's Wild Turkey at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
taxidermied flying Gould's Wild Turkey at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


taxidermied flying Gould's wild turkey--seen from below--at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
taxidermied flying Gould's wild turkey--seen from below--at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


taxidermied Ocellated Wild Turkey at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
taxidermied Ocellated Wild Turkey at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


taxidermied wild turkey hen with poults at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
taxidermied wild turkey hen with poults at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


turkey calls at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
turkey calls at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
 
 
wild turkey feather kachina doll at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
wild turkey feather kachina doll at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


ceramic turkey salt and pepper shakers at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina
ceramic turkey salt and pepper shakers at Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, South Carolina


ceramic turkey salt and pepper shakers in the kitchen of travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers
ceramic turkey salt and pepper shakers in the kitchen of travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers



More things to do in Edgefield, South Carolina.

More things to do in South Carolina. 

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers