Anhui Province (4) : Cheng Kan village

Dear readers,

My wonderful journey continues as we drive again through the green lush valleys of Anhui.  The rainy clouds seem to hang just above the landscape of this rural part of China.

I almost enjoy the getting to a destination as much as visiting the destination.   I wish there was more time for long hikes, but unfortunately we are on a tight scedule.

There is not much traffic and we swiftly arrive in Cheng Kan.  Although it is not as famous as Xidi or Hongcun, it is a well known 5 star attraction in China so there were a good amount of visitors on this national holiday.  But nothing like the scenes at Huangshan Mountain.  Busy but not crowded with plenty of deserted streets to discover.

At first i think that the row of white houses with overwelving newyears decorations near the entrance are part of the village, but it’s just the starting point of a pathway on the outskirts of the village.    The square in front if the houses already offers amazing panoramic views of a beautifull small lake and the village behind it.  That must have been some cebration, judging by the remains of what certainly was an impressive fireworks display in a unique setting !

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The pathway leads over a couple of ancient stone bridges and a watermill to the back of the village where you enter through a small portal.   It feels like stepping through a time machine as once again i find myself in a maze of narrow historic streets with their typical architecture and their worn white facades.  I could never get bored of them and i could easily wander around for hours in this idyllic decor.

Cheng Kan is relatively small and visitors are all guided towards the center of the village near a shallow river.  There are numerous charming restaurants here and across a small bridge leading to the other side of the river.  I spot a small place with old wooden furniture and windows overlooking the river and the old village.  More important : they serve a wide variety of dimsum.   I can honoustly never get enough of these savory steamed pastry delights and i will try them anywhere, anytime..  all the time..

But not this time…  its incredibly busy and the restaurant is packed with people all thinking the same thing as me. The poor owners of the restaurant just couldn’t keep up with the orders, not even with the giant bamboo baskets they were using. I managed to get a nice table next to a window but that’s as far as i got.  Fortunately the driver new a fantastic and popular local restaurant nearby that served great local dishes.   You won’t hear me complaining.

From here on its only a small walk next to the river to the parking lot, but there are still a few spots on the way that offer great opportunity for some of the best views of this gorgeous village.

Wow.  This trip is getting better and better.  And the best was yet to come ! Our next destination is Hongcun village. Another UNESCO World Heritage site and famous as a setting for the movie “Crouching tiger, hidden dragon” .   Probably the most beatiful of all Anhui villages and home of the most amazing guesthouse I ever spend the night.

In my next post !



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