Golden Week

Here we are at the end of September already and celebrating the first Golden Week which doubles as our much needed half term break. But what a glorious name for an October holiday with overtones of yellowing leaves and ‘mellow fruitfulness’.

Monday in fact marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the a People’s Republic of China and to mark the occasion there is a 7 day national holiday.

Everywhere is bedecked with lanterns & the red flag, even our humble apartment block gets one

All factories and offices are closed and there is a mass migration of people as many head home to see family or the more affluent travel abroad. We are used in the west to choosing our holiday weeks but not here. It’s everyone altogether and as such the hotels, transport and attractions are heaving! Sardine time. The Chinese I have come to realize have little concept of personal space and no ability to queue! This image is of The Bund in Shanghai and one of the reasons why we headed out of the city and flew 2.5 hours west to Chengdu.

Here we have encountered old China in the alleys around our hotel.

The alleys were a maze of courtyards and shops topped with the iconic rooflines of traditional buildings and although there were plenty of people around we felt a sense of calm and could imagine the inhabitants wandering around in flowing silk robes.

Shops were filled with eye catching displays to tempt the crowds in. These bamboo sticks had messages on a little like the key gates in Europe.

People wore traditional dress and the tiny alleyways reverberated with soft chiming music amidst the unusual vendors.

These buildings were once the home one wealthy ruling class and you can see how important they occupants were from the height of the thresholds. (Kevin shown here for comparison)

Our favorite was the dragon place. We weren’t entirely sure if was the entrance to a restaurant, tea house or shop! It was simply splendid whatever it was

Interspersed between courtyards and leading to retail spaces were many moon gates. I love the shape of these as they remind me of a warren of hobbit holes

We walked for hours just soaking up the atmosphere. It’s so different from the ultra modern Shanghai

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