We woke up at 6am to get ready and make the bus for Tunxi, a 3 hour ride away, at the base of Yellow Mountain (Huang Shan) in Anhui province. Huang Shan is one of the most spectacular scenic areas in China, on the scale of the Grand Canyon in the U.S.
As I mentioned previously I was very concerned about going there without a hotel reservation especially with the 3 kids, and calling ahead I found NOTHING available. Finally I found a Chinese website that had a local phone number. I called and they said to fill out an online registration form and they would call me back. During our bus ride, they called me back telling me they had found us rooms in the town of Tunxi, not far from Yellow Mountain. WHEW! They were "2 star" hotels meaning that you couldn't see the other 3 stars due to all of the grime and grunge, but it was a place to sleep so we overlooked the faults. The stained carpets and traffic noise did not keep us from sleeping, although Sophie did, as usual!
Some of the buildings in this old town are more than 200 years old - however they were adorned with Chinese lanterns emblazoned with the Coca-Cola symbol!
Some of the many treasures and shops we saw...
Sue went crazy over all of the cool art supplies, ready for purchase if you're willing to haggle!
Decorative lighting on every street corner and building. So festive!
Qiu Dan Ling "Anita" and Wu Pei Zhen "Rebecca", two of our friends who are English majors at our university accompanied us on this trip. It was WONDERFUL to have them along as they were so helpful in buying tickets, hiring drivers, helping with Sophie, and making everything run smoothly!
Sophie loved seeing all of the toys to play with that were down at her level...
Sophie found these two HUGE stuffed-animals which are characters invented for the 2008 Beijing Oympics. They are "Bei-Bei" and "Huan-Huan". There are five of these characters in all, "Bei-Bei", "Jing-Jing", "Huan-Huan", and "Ying-Ying" and "Ni-Ni" which form the saying "Beijing Huan Ying Ni" or "Beijing Welcomes You!".
We ate at a local restaurant in old town (3 times because the kids liked it there), and they made a special flat-bread rolled out and fried with chocolate and butter. Delicious!