Monday 2 May 2011

Datong – 2nd May 2011

We left Pengyang early this morning for Datong stopping off on the way to see the Hanging Temple and then on to the Yungang Grottoes. The Grottoes are a real hidden gem. Petra was on “my bucket list”, but not anymore.

The story goes that one of the Emperors (can’t remember which one) had ordered that all Buddhist temples should be destroyed. The country had then fallen on hard times and he began to worry that it was because he had been so treacherous. To make amends he ordered monks to carve the caves and statues out of the mountainside. The work continued for several hundred years resulting in the most amazing complex of 48 caves containing 51,000 Buddha statues carved out of the rock face, the tallest being 17 mts high and the smallest 2 cm. It doesn’t sound much but trust me, you had to be there. And all within a beautiful park with superb visitor facilities.

We finally arrived in Datong at nearly 7 pm, absolutely dog tired, convinced that this time the accommodation wouldn’t be up to much, only to find that we were staying in the 4* Hotel Datong Hotel. After suffering the deprivations of Eastern Europe, Russia and Mongolia this place was heaven. We even had BBC World Service on TV! How about that for luxury?
Gary had organised it that anyone with an ounce of energy left could visit to a local restaurant with him. Despite being exhausted I decided to stretch myself and was I glad that I made the effort. It turned out to be first class and one of the most memorable meals of my life.

There were 11 of us and the place was heaving. Apart from excellent food, this restaurant had a USP. The waiters are on roller skates! I thought “they won’t be best pleased with us just turning up like this”, especially as it was a holiday weekend in China, but it just didn’t faze them. They even organised a private room for us. The only way I can only describe the meal is that it was a fondue Chinese style. We cooked out own food in soup on individual hot plates! Again, you had to be there! And the bill only came to just over £4 each.

1 comment:

RNSANE said...

Sounds like you lucked out with a really nice hotel and special meal....deservedly so after days of less desirable acccomodations!