On Friday afternoon Leo's Agronomist dropped us and 2 of our friends at Taian for the weekend on his way home. Taian is a city with a population of about 5.4 million people and is about a 90 minute drive from the farm. It is at the bottom of Mountain Tai or Tai Shan as it is known here - Shan means Mountain.
When we got to Tai'an we went to check out the famous Sacred Mountain that we would be climbing the next day. For over 3000 years Chinese Emperors have made pilgrimages to Tai Shan - it couldn't be that hard to climb, could it?
Friday night our Chinese friends said we must try the famous Chinese hamburger. It was these gorgeous little steamed buns that you put the meat, shallots and cucumber in. I had to give Leo a gentle kick under the table because I could tell he was just busting to ask the chef where they get their meat from. I think we both have a good ol' steak burger on our wish list as soon as we get back to Australia.
It was decided to get the full experience we would climb up the Mountain until we reached the chair lift and then hop on that to be taken to the top. The air was very bad so I was thinking this might not be a stroll in the park, then I saw the never ending steps and could understand why so many people were taking the option of the bus up to the chair lifts. There were many stalls, temples, calligraphy engraved in to rocks and love lock places to keep our mind off the steps along the way but after 2 and a half hours of constant steps I was starting to wonder if a chopper would be able to come and get me. The thought of the view at the top wasn't keeping me going as I knew with the smog we wouldn't be able to see far so I started telling myself things like, "You will be able to cross climb a mountain off your bucket list" to spur myself on but that didn't work as I didn't have climb a mountain on my bucket list. Anyway somehow I made it to the chair lift.
If we weren't so glad to be on the chair lift we may have been scared but we were quickly taken to the top where there is a Hotel, more shops, Restaurants and Temples. We spent a bit of time looking around and as expected with the smog you couldn't see much so then headed back down on the chair lift and then took a bus back to the foot of the Mountain. The bus ride goes down in history as one of the scariest rides I have ever been on but we have lived to tell the story.
Saturday night we treated ourselves to our favourite - Peking Duck.
Sunday we went to the Dai Temple, I don't want to give you a history lesson but it is one of the four most famous architectural complexes in China. It was built in 206BC - 220 so it is ancient and covers 24 acres. We strolled around, there were many lovely bonsai trees and everything was so old and with so much history.