Ancient Pingyao

Leaving the bustling streets of Beijing we headed back south to the smaller city of Pingyao. We had heard about Pingyao from a couple we had met in Shanghai and they described it as a more "untouched" view of China. The old area of Pingyao is surrounded by a 12 meter tall wall and retains much of it's original ancient architecture. We stayed inside the walls in an beautiful old renovated courtyard house that was built in 1736.

Yi De Hotel

Yi De Courtyard

Door to the Past

Courtyard Night

Night Passage

Unfortunately the weather in Pingyao was very chilly, it only got above freezing for our last day and we took advantage of that with a run around the inside of the wall. With the cold temps we kept our sightseeing to short trips around the city and then returning to our cozy room. The Yi De Hotel was definitely an oasis and one of favorite accommodations so far with a giant Kang style bed the width of the room.

The Oasis

Even with the weather we got out and spent our time walking along the wall and wondering the quiet streets visiting some of the ancient temples. Walking through Pingyao was like walking into the past. So much so that you see piles of coal lining the streets which are used to to heat the buildings. There is a strong odor in the air of the burning coal and a film of black covers just about everything. While it seems to add to the authenticity of the city you can't help but feel a sadness for what it's doing to the environment or people's health.

Quiet Pingyao

Pingyao Fuel

Horse-drawn Coal

Pingyao Cycle

Pingyao Wall Walk

City Wall Dinner

Observing the Battle

Temple of the City God I

Ancient & Ornate

We chose to spend an extra day in Pingyao so we wouldn't celebrate New Year's Eve on an overnight train to Xi'an. We had a nice dinner and enjoyed some Great Wall red to round off an amazing year.

New Year 2011!

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