People travel for all sorts of reasons.
Many of us brave aeroplanes and travel to distant lands, often away for years on end. Others do a regular holiday trip.
Some like camping, some hotels, some long drives along winding roads.
Often it’s for the views, the beauty of nature, the peace and quiet of the woods, or the calming sound of the sea at night.
With the general standard of living rising, more and more people in China are travelling overseas for holidays. The number of domestic travellers, however, is much much more. Sure, there are those who nip down to Sanya to get away from the winter greys, but in general, when people in China travel, they are travelling for history and culture.
Take a walk around Tiananmen Square, and as well as the masses of ‘foreign’ tourists, you’ll find people from all over China, especially during the national holidays. People from the countryside, people from the provinces, come to see their capital city with it’s central altar, The Square of Heavenly Peace.
Suzhou and Hangzhou are two very famous cities in China, that have been tourist destinations for hundreds of years. People come to see the causeway over West Lake, built by the famous poet-governor Su Dongpu almost a millennium ago, in the Song Dynasty. The Suzhou old town, still exhibiting the same grid-like formation as it did 2500 years ago, draws a phenomenal amount of visitors each year who take rickshaws through the old city streets to see the famous classical gardens, stemming from the Ming and Song dynasties.
Shaolin Temple, famous for the amazing gongfu skills of its boy monks, also receives millions of visitors per year. First established around 500 BC, the Shaolin Temple has a long history of cultivating martial arts.
In China, people have been travelling for millennia, recalling times even more distant.
A fine rain comes from the east,
pleasant breezes along with it.
I browse through the tale of the Zhou king
wrote Tao Yuan Ming, one of China’s famous poets. He was born in 365 AD and died in 427 AD, yet was already reminiscing, as he travelled, of the Zhou dynasty ( 1100 – 221 BC !!!)
Du Fu, another famous poet from the Tang Dynasty, wrote
I remember the temple where I travelled before
The bridge I remember as I cross it again
The rivers and mountains like waiting
the flowers and willows have no thoughts of self
Du Fu travelled a lot around China. Maybe the rivers and mountains were waiting for him.
Our ‘travel’ category, ‘rivers and mountains’ is taken from Du Fu’s poem.