Saturday, February 7: Behind Mu’s Mansion, we climb uphill to find ourselves at the entrance to the Lion Hill Scenic Area, where we have to pay another entrance fee. It’s such a beautiful day, and such a lovely forested spot with sweeping views of Lijiang’s traditional rooftops and the surrounding hills and mountains, that we can’t help but to climb all the way to the top.
According to a sign at the park, “the Lion Hill Scenic Area is an indispensable part of the Lijiang Old Town UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The name Lion Hill is given due to the hill’s outline which looks like a crouching lion. Covering an area of 18 hectares, the Scenic Area boasts a verdant landscape with a forest cover of 90%, where visitors can find many birds and especially over 40 cypresses of 800-odd years.”
I always love to read the signs with Chinglish: “Don’t loitering under the tree during thunderstorms.”
The sign at the park entrance continues: “On the top of the Lion Hill stands famous Wangu Pavilion, a five-storied wooden pagoda-styled building with distinctive local features. Known as a landmark in Lijiang, this 33-meter-tall pavilion is sustained by 16 big columns of 22 meters respectively, and each of its stories has independent eaves. It is the most famous wooden pavilion of bucket arches (an ancient Chinese building system in which brackets are inserted between the top of a column and a crossbeam) in China, thanks to its unattached columns stretching from the foot to the top roof of the pavilion.”
A sign on the Lucky Drum says: First beat for progress, Second beat for progress, Third beat for prosperity.
A sign at the Peace Bell says: All sefe (sic), Best wishes, Extra strong. I guess this means that if you ring the bell once, you’re safe, and so on.
We go inside the pavilion and climb to the top. We find colorful and whimsical paintings on the walls and fantastic ceilings, along with vendors selling traditional arts and crafts. It’s a quiet and contemplative atmosphere.
Some of the painted ceilings are amazing.
We’ve now spent so much time at Mu’s Mansion and Lion Hill that it’s quite late in the afternoon. We’re also hungry. As we walk into town to search for a place to eat lunch, we rethink our plan to rent bicycles to ride to Baisha and Shuhe. We might have to find a faster mode of transportation, as today is our last day in Lijiang.:-)