|The wooden Pagoda|
What a beautiful day. Our route today was towards Taiyuan with a stop to visit the Hanging Monastery and the Wooden Pagoda. Both sites were about 60 kilometers from Datong.
|The Hanging Monastery|
The Hanging Monastery is truly a beautiful site to visit. The road off the main highway took us through some high lands. It was a two way road with many curves. Passing traffic was not an option, and of course there was traffic. After all, it was still the holiday week. We disembarked the bus at the entrance of attraction and our bus was directed to where all the other buses were lined up. It was the most far point in the parking lot.
We were passed quickly through the gates. It was crowded; people were milling about waiting their tickets. We were soon ushered through the gates and found ourselves on the way to the face of the cliff. It was a nice walk. We were in a canyon, and a river moved quietly beneath the foot bridge.
|The crush of people trying to climb up|
to the temples was too much for
We had decided that we would stay two hours here so that we would have time to visit another attraction during the afternoon. Looking at the crowd I calculated that it would take more than two hours to push up and climb down, so I elected to take my photos from below.
|View from below.|
|Greg composing his photograph|
I left Greg with his camera and took a walk along the canyon. It did not allow me to go to far as just to the left of the Hanging Monastery a large concrete dam blocked the way. The sight was awesome.
|In the canyon looking towards the dam|
Once we all grouped up and took the time to visit the rest rooms, we moved to the bus. The day was hot, so we were all looking forward to climbing into an air conditioned bus and relaxing. The bus was at the far end of the parking lot, so the walk was like a forced march. Nevertheless we all arrived a bit worn out.
|Thérèse leading the choir.|
Finally after pushing inch by inch through the gaggle of tourist busses and private cars, we were freed from the gridlock and were happily riding our bus up the winding grade of the road. The stalled vehicle had finally been towed away, and we were free as the wind. My stress meter descended to a level that was livable. It was a great feeling.
|Wendy, Greg and Lili|
Photo by: Anna Tsontakis-Mally
It was now quite late in the day, but Wendy told us that we still had time to visit the Wooden Pagoda. It was located just down the highway about thirty minutes from the monastery. We could see the building as we approached it. Such an impressive structure. The guide books state that the pagoda is the oldest and tallest wooden structure in China. It was build about 1000 years ago and it is supposed to be located in a Buddhist temple. Oddly I did not see any temple, unless the beautiful park that surrounded the pagoda is considered a temple. The locals say that there is an active temple build behind the pagoda, that was constructed in 2001. We wanted to go into the pagoda, but it was under renovation so was closed to the public.
|Photo by: Greg Tsontakis-Mally|
Once again we climbed our bus and proceeded to Taiyuan and a welcomed meal and a comfortable bed.
My only regret with the visit to Datong was that we did not get to visit the Nine dragon wall nor the black pottery factory. There just wasn't enough time. When I travel to Datong in the future I will plan stay three nights and have two full days to visit.