Tuesday I went with Jessi and the Nanjing International Club that she's a member of to see the plum blossoms on Purple Mountain. Apparently there's a Plum Blossom Festival every March (which I presume is something like the cherry blossom festival). There were no festivities when we went but we walked along the paths and the trees were beautiful and sweet smelling and it was sunny outside, so it was good. We had lunch at a surprisingly not very expensive restaurant on the mountain and then Jessi had to leave for work. But Joanne and a girl named Karen and I went to explore the Xiaoling Mausoleum (tomb of the 1st Ming Dynasty emperor).
|Pretty, pretty plum blossoms|
First, there are apparently 19 mausoleums from the Ming Dynasty in China. They are all huge. For this one, you cross a bridge and go through the first gate, and that area is where the kitchen and wardrobe hall and things once stood. Then there was a second building: Imperial Tablet Hall. It housed an important tablet with some characters that honored the emperor. Beyond that is the Sacrificial Hall, where sacrifices were made to the emperor. Finally you get to the Inner Red Gate. From there you can see the Ming Tower and the enormous wall that surrounds the Treasure Mound where the 1st Ming Emperor and his wife are buried - 500 meters below ground. Standing on top of that wall was surreal. Joanne noticed inscriptions on some of the bricks and Karen said that they were markings by the people who made the bricks. I had seen that before at other places, and I think it's amazing to have that evidence of the work and time to build something so massive.
|Ming Tower and surrounding wall. As an idea of the magnitude of the wall: the little black speck next to the door is me.|
Wednesday I slept very late and spent the afternoon exploring the market by Confucius Temple with Nat. Mostly because I couldn't waste the sunny day inside.
Then it rained. The road I walk to the bus stop was slowly becoming a river this morning. I'll take a picture next time.