Tag Archives: Wenzhou

WELCOME!

img_0698a1Welcome to my blog!

I am a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

Thanks to all of my blog followers for your continued interest!

I’m happy to say I’ve been on the road again after a busy winter taking care of a few personal things and extra workloads. Look for future posts on Gulf Shores, AL and Florida’s Emerald Coast; from my upcoming trip to St. Maarten and the small Dutch Caribbean islands of Saba and St. Eustatius; and my following trip to the comeback city of Detroit and Michigan’s dreamy Mackinac Island!

My most recent post is from two stories published from two trips last year to Italy and Romania.

In the meantime, previous posts are from last fall’s trip to China, including Shanghai, Wenzhou and Guilin, and posts from my assignment on this year’s 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation, visiting  Wittenberg, Halle, Leipzig, Erfurt, Schmalkalden, Eisenach, Eisleben and Mansfeld.

Great reflection, Wittenberg Market Square

In Wittenberg, Germany. Great reflection off sphere in Market Square.

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Richard in China, near Guilin’s twin pagodas.

(Header image is my photo from St. Barth, view from the Colombier Lookout.)

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My novel of international intrigue, Warming Up to Murder, is available as an ebook, and in Kindle and Nook formats.  It’s about a TV reporter who finds himself chasing the “big story” spanning two continents.  See the links below.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/richard-varr

http://www.amazon.com/Warming-Up-Murder-Richard-Varr/dp/141344976X

Wenzhou and China’s Spectacular Yandang Mountain World Geological Park

 

Pagoda on Jiangxin Islet, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

Pagoda on Jiangxin Islet, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

A boat ride across the Oujiang River brings us to Jiangxin Islet, the historic heart of Wenzhou, a coastal city about an hour’s plane ride south of Shanghai in the Zhejiang Provence.  Flanked by two pagoda towers on either end of this elongated island, Jiangxin is the so-called “Island of Poetry,” where poets have for successive dynasties written about the island’s tranquil riverside and lakeside gardens now dotted with camphor and maple trees and tiny potted pine trees.

Jiangxin Islet. Photo by Richard Varr

Jiangxin Islet. Photo by Richard Varr

“The poets liked to come here to enjoy the scenery and write poems, so all together there have been more than 800 poems written by renowned poets from all over the country,” says Hu Nianwang with the Wenzhou Tourism Administration Bureau.  Also on the island sits Jiangxin Temple, rebuilt in 1789 with a Buddha, and other pavilions.   The two towers are called East Pagoda and West Pagoda, dating back to 869 and 969 respectively.  “When there was no light at night, the fishermen would look for the two pagodas to steer their boats,” says Hu.

The "Five Horses" shopping street, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

The “Five Horses” shopping street, Wenzhou. Photo by Richard Varr

In the afternoon, I visit Wuma Street or “Five Horses” Street, the city’s main pedestrian shopping thoroughfare.  To one side is a statue of five charging horse leading a chariot of sorts, highlighting how the street got its name when a magistrate first rode through in a carriage.  Today, salespeople lure shoppers into brightly lit stores selling jewelry, clothing, shoes and more.  “Wenzhou is regarded as a shoe capital in China,” says Hu, as we pass both Adidas and Skechers shoe outlets.

Nantang River at night. Photo by Richard Varr

Nantang River at night. Photo by Richard Varr

Artist in the Wenzhou Cultural Heritage Hall. Photo by Richard Varr

Artist in the Wenzhou Cultural Heritage Hall. Photo by Richard Varr

In the evening, I take a boat ride on the Nantang River flanking yet another pedestrian area along adjacent Nantang Street.  It’s a popular spot for locals with restaurants, cafes and stores.  Arched pedestrian bridges cross the waterways, with strings of lights along storefronts reflecting off the water.  The Wenzhou Cultural Heritage Hall showcases the area’s art forms including traditional puppets, stretch drums, marble carvings and bamboo filament lanterns, to name only a few.

I visited Wenzhou in October for the Society of American Travel Writers’ (SATW) 2016 Annual Convention where our hosts, the city’s municipal and tourism staff, had arranged sightseeing tours and impressive cultural presentations and performances during our evening dinner events.

Yandang Mountain World Geological Park

Artist capturing the hazy image of the Two Bamboo Peak rock formations. Photo by Richard Varr

Artist capturing the hazy image of the Two Bamboo Peak rock formations. Photo by Richard Varr

Wenzhou is a great base to explore the imposing peaks, deep valley views and spouting waterfalls of the Yandang Mountain World Geological Park.  Jagged, steep mountains dusted with green vegetation feature huge cracks in their faces, looking like the giant mastiffs could seemingly break apart with a seismic jolt.

Buddist Temple in Lingfeng Mountain. Photo by Richard Varr

Buddist Temple in Lingfeng Mountain. Photo by Richard Varr

Our group hiked up more than 400 steps to reach Guanyin Temple, a Buddist shrine dating back to 265 AD within a hillside cave in Lingfeng Peak.  Inside, a central golden Buddha is flanked by smaller such figurines placed on rocky ledges.

Big Dragon Waterfall. Photo by Richard Varr

Big Dragon Waterfall pool. Photo by Richard Varr

Big Dragon Waterfall. Photo by Richard Varr

Big Dragon Waterfall. Photo by Richard Varr

We make another stop to see the so-called Big Dragon Waterfall, with water spewing down 197 meters into a pool at the base of a mountain.  “The view looks like a dragon drinking from the valley,” reads an informational tablet, noting that the waterfall is one of the four most famous such natural wonders in China.

The Two Bamboo Peak rock formations reflect off a peaceful stream in the valley, where I see artists trying to capture the two slabs against a backdrop of morning haze.  In the afternoon, we stop to see the so-called “Flying Man” acrobat suspended from a cable traipse down the mountainside.

Lingfeng Peak, Yandang Mountain World Geological Park. Photo by Richard Varr

Lingfeng Peak, Yandang Mountain World Geological Park. Photo by Richard Varr