Our accommodation on this trip has to be the most stunning place that I have ever stayed in. (Thanks go to Leping for finding it). Way off the beaten track in an old village we are staying in a 200 year old guest house.
Given that most houses in ancient China were constructed from wood very few have survived both fires and the cultural revolution. This is a real gem.
You cannot get there by car. Instead we walked over planks across a stream, down cobbled streets and over a huge threshold. Our luggage had to go separately by a little cart.
This house received a special mention from the Emperor because they had 7 generations under this roof in 1842. There were 100 people plus servants living here. This is quite an achievement.
Littered with little alcoves that make relaxing tea ceremony places and unique outdoor courtyard spaces, this place is very calming. Just what the souls needs after a busy stressful start to the year.
The whole house is made from natural materials and there are no televisions in the rooms (wifi is slow.) This is a place to get away from the world and find some inner peace.
Immediately you come in there is a central courtyard. Open to the sky at the top cooling air circulates naturally. Birds fly in and out and it was the perfect place for our early morning Qi Gong training.
We exercised to the sound of the cock crowing and breathed air tinged with sweet scented wood smoke as the kitchens fired up.
There is so much symbolism in this house. Full of delightful books and crannies there is always something unexpected around the next corner. Every room is different just like the Tao (universe) and there are pros and cons in each space.
My room for instance has no outside window, only a skylight. I got a chair and not a sofa but the woodwork is exquisite. Like life where we have to accept what we are given and make the best of it. Round the next corner of our lives unexpected surprises are waiting.
This morning I practiced Xing Yi, some walking exercises based on the 5 elements.
The stone flags of this inner courtyard are worn and uneven so sometimes when I balance on one leg I was very strong and stable but other times I wobbled and had to work hard to steady myself. Just like our journey through this life.