expedition to qing xiu shan {part 2}

Saturday, September 6:   After leaving the Martyr Monument to Guangxi Student Army in Anti-Japanese War at Qing Xiu Shan Tourist Attraction, we head downhill, where we find Champion Court and Number One Scholar Spring Cultural Park.

Champion Court

Champion Court

Scholars at the park

Scholars at the park

Studious scholars

Studious scholars

Lush vegetation

Lush vegetation

We continue on, looking for Xiangsi Lake, which we’ve seen on several signposts.  We find a Japanese man walking alone and we ask him if he knows where the lake is.  He points in a direction opposite to what the sign says, and makes an X gesture with his hand over the arrow pointing to the lake.  He tells us the sign is a mistake and that we should follow him.  We do, and we end up in the Cycad Garden, lying west of the Phoenix Ridge of Qing Xiu Mountain.

walkway through the Cycad Garden

walkway through the Cycad Garden

The garden is the biggest ex-situ conservation population of cycads, seed plants typically characterized by a stout and woody trunk with a crown of large, hard and stiff, evergreen leaves. They usually have feather-like, or pinnate, leaves. The individual plants are either all male or all female. Cycads vary in size from having trunks only a few centimeters to several meters tall. They typically grow very slowly and live very long, with some specimens known to be as much as 1,000 years old. Because of their superficial resemblance, they are sometimes confused with and mistaken for palms or ferns, but are only distantly related to either (Wikipedia: Cycad).

Cycad Garden

Cycad Garden

Cycad

Cycad

Cycad Garden

Cycad Garden

Here at the Cycad Garden of Qing Xiu Shan are more than 30 cycas pectinata aged over one thousand years and the oldest “Cycas King” is 1350 years old now. Most of the iron trees here bloom and fruit from May to November annually.

The Cycas King, over 1350 years old

The Cycas King, over 1350 years old

Cycads are found across much of the subtropics and tropical parts of the world. Though they are a minor component of the plant kingdom today, during the Jurassic period, they were extremely common. They have changed little since the Jurassic, compared to some major evolutionary changes in other plant divisions.  Maybe that’s why we see some dinosaur statues in the garden.

Dinosaurs in the Cycad Garden

Dinosaurs in the Cycad Garden

Dinosaur in the Cycad Garden

Dinosaur in the Cycad Garden

After enjoying the shade of the Cycad Garden, we end up at a little store by Sky Pond, where we each buy a bottle of water and a vanilla ice cream bar.  We sit at a picnic table under an umbrella and savor every refreshing bite of that ice cream bar.  We’ve been walking for so long in the hot sun, we’re soaked with sweat.  That ice cream is the perfect antidote for our weary bodies.

As soon as we finish our ice cream and leave the shop, we can see the Water-moon Nunnery to our right and Sky Pond to our left.

Water-moon Nunnery

Water-moon Nunnery

Sky Pond is an artificial lake named such because it is the place of highest altitude in Nanning (according to a sign in the  park).

View of Sky Pond with Longxiang Tower on the hillside

View of Sky Pond with Longxiang Tower on the hillside

Little bridge to an island in Sky Pond

Little bridge to an island in Sky Pond

When we walk along the shore of Sky Pond, we see people feeding koi in the pond.  Koi are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens.

Feeding the koi

Feeding the koi

Koi varieties are distinguished by coloration, patterning, and scalation. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream.  It’s fun to watch them churning about in the water.

Koi in Sky Pond

Koi in Sky Pond

The lake is very pretty and a welcome sight after traipsing up and down the mountain.  What is it about water that just seeing it makes you feel refreshed?

We  walk across a little bridge to an island, where we see a couple of pavilions.  Standing in one of them, we have some lovely views of the lake and find more people feeding the Koi.

pavilion on the island

pavilion on the island

Koi in Sky Pond

Koi in Sky Pond

Jilinge Restaurant

Jilinge Restaurant

more pavilions

more pavilions

Colorful boats for hire

Colorful boats for hire

the bridge to the island from the opposite side

the bridge to the island viewed from the opposite side

view of Sky Pond, boats, pavilion and Jilinge Restaurant

view of Sky Pond, boats, pavilion and Jilinge Restaurant

We wonder about the sign that says Sky Pond is the place of highest altitude in Nanning, because right beside the pond, we can see steps going further uphill to Longxiang Tower, commonly known as Qingshan Tower.

Steps to Longxiang Tower

Steps through the Buyun Archway to Longxiang Tower

Sign on the steps leading to the tower

Sign on the steps leading to the tower

Yuntian Court: we go under this on the way up to the tower

Yuntian Court: we go under this on the way up to the tower

another pavilion beside the tower

another pavilion beside the tower

The tower is named from the proverb:  “Dragon ranks first in strength among all the water animals while elephant tops in all the land animals.”  Longxiang (dragon and elephant) Tower was initially built in the Wanli Period of the Chinese Ming Dynasty.  It is an eight-square double-eaved nine-floored structure with a height of 51.35m. It is the landmark of Qing Xiu Mountain and the perfect end to our expedition.

Longxiang Tower

Longxiang Tower

Climbing to the top of the tower, we can see the Yongjiang River, distant mountains and hills and urban and rural landscapes within ten miles.  I make a stop at every level where I can find panoramic views.

view over Qing Xiu Shan

view over Qing Xiu Shan

Nanning and the Yongjiang River

Nanning and the Yongjiang River

Nanning and the Yongjiang River

Nanning and the Yongjiang River

Urban landscapes

Urban landscapes

We see the pretty Lotus Pond from above. It sits right beside Sky Pond, but we didn’t see this when we were on the ground.  We’ll have to visit this next time we come.

view of Lotus Pond next door to Sky Pond

view of Lotus Pond next door to Sky Pond

Jilinge Restaurant from above

Jilinge Restaurant from above

Nanning & Yongjiang River

Nanning & Yongjiang River

Yongjiang River looking east

Yongjiang River looking east

Looking to the south, we see a sprawling area of new construction.

New construction to the south

New construction to the south

to the south, some kind of performing arts center? Or sports area?

to the south, some kind of performing arts center? Or sports area?

After enjoying the breezes and the views for quite some time at the top of the tower, we descend the tower and the hill to catch the bus to the park entrance.  It’s been a great first outing in Nanning, but we’re hot, tired and exhausted.  This mountain is way too much to see in one day.

a monument near Longxiang Tower

a monument near Longxiang Tower

As we make our way back by taxi to the university, we pass a lot of hustle and bustle on the city streets, but I’ve put my camera away and don’t feel like digging it out again.  We can see poor housing areas juxtaposed against upscale ones.  Here’s one shot I take with some interesting old houses nestled in among the tall newer buildings.  It’s not great because I was a little late in taking out my camera.

old houses and new

old houses and new

This day was great fun, and I’m so happy to have found a fellow adventurous spirit in Caleb. 🙂

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Categories: Asia, Champion Court, China, Cycad Garden, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Jilinge Restaurant, Koi, Longxiang Tower, Nanning, Number One Scholar Spring Cultural Park, Qing Xiu Shan, Sky Pond, Water-moon Nunnery, Yongjiang River | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “expedition to qing xiu shan {part 2}

  1. Another incredible blog. It’s a beautiful place and if ever I go to Nanning I will go there and take lots of pictures and videos. But one thing is that I would never have your stamina.

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    • I was surprised I had that much stamina myself, Dai! I can tell you I was utterly exhausted after; I think I put on my pajamas right after a shower at 4 p.m.! I was sore for a couple of days after too. I think you’d like that mountain. I have to go back to see the rest. I hope I can find more things to do in Nanning. I don’t want to spend my time shopping just to have something interesting to do!

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  2. I love these photos and the park looks so restful. The first photo of the koi is fabulous!

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  3. This post looks exactly how I picture China but it’s just one facet, isn’t it? Fascinating times ahead, Cathy! I need a little sit down now. 🙂 You’ll have to do me a ‘walk on the Chinese side’. 🙂

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    • Ok, Jo, I’ll have to a “walk on the Chinese side” for your Monday walk. I have one from this morning I can post later. I wish I could find more of traditional China, so far most of what I’ve seen is modern. I hope the country doesn’t destroy its tradition in its rush to modernization. 🙂

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  4. Lovely pond and pavillions. You must be exhausted now; I AM!

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    • I was totally wiped out, Jude, that’s why I called it an expedition. It certainly felt like one. At least you could participate from the comfort of your temperature controlled home. 🙂

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