And onto Nanjing, one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China (Part 1)

After a couple of lovely days in Hong Kong, the Hubs and I got on a flight to Nanjing, China for a friend’s wedding. We flew with Dragon Air, which I thought might be a low cost airline but they turned out to be a full service airline and a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. The flight was surprisingly pleasant with plenty of legroom and I was impressed with their up-to-date entertainment system, despite the fact that we flew economy.

Excellent entertainment system - I spent the whole flight catching up on season 3 of Veep

Excellent entertainment system – I spent the whole flight catching up on season 3 of Veep. It was SO GOOD, it was like food for my soul!

After checking in at the hotel, we started on the touristy stuff in the afternoon by tackling the Confucius Temple. Being a lot further north than Hong Kong, it was proper winter in Nanjing compared to the more spring-like Hong Kong and we went armed with coats, hats and gloves.

The Confucius Temple and the area surrounding it was lovely, they had either maintained the old buildings and architecture very well or had built new buildings in keeping with the old style. It was very lively with lots of restaurants and shops which were colourfully lit and there were loads of tourists despite freezing temperatures.

Entering the area around the Confucious Temple

Entering the area around the Confucius Temple

Colourful boats and decoration across from the Temple

Colourful boats on the Qinhuai River and decoration across from the Temple

Shops and restaurants around the Temple

Shops and restaurants around the Temple

Although there were loads of tourists outside the Temple, inside was very quiet, almost eerie.

Entrance to the Temple

Entrance to the Temple

Stone figurines line the walkway up to the main building as soon as you walk through the gate

Stone figurines line the walkway up to the main building as soon as you walk through the gate. At the top of the walkway is the largest figurine of… you guessed it, Confucius

A large bell within the template, covered with red packets that have people's wishes and dreams written inside

A large bell within the Temple, covered with red packets that have people’s wishes and dreams written inside

Night view of the Qinhuai River

Night view of the Qinhuai River

It was lovely to walk around and soak up the atmosphere. After a good look around, the Hubs and I decided to grab some dinner. We found a nice looking restaurant around the Temple and walked in. It was at that point we quickly realised that this was not Hong Kong – people of Nanjing spoke very little or no English. I tried to use my super basic Mandarin to get ourselves some food and the pictures below show what we got. Whilst I could figure out what on the menu was chicken, or beef, or lamb etc., I couldn’t figure out which parts of the animal it was or how it was cooked, which made for a very interesting dinner…

Smoked or dried? chicken

Smoked or dried? chicken

The dumplings were great (so glad I remembered the word for them!). The dish was the left was chicken... but it was a mystery which part of the chicken the meat was from... all I can tell you is that it didn't taste like chicken. I stuck to the veg on this one

The dumplings were great (so glad I remembered the word for them!). The dish was the left was chicken… but it was a mystery which part of the chicken it was… all I can tell you is that it didn’t taste like chicken. I stuck to the veg and peanuts on this one

After much confusion and struggle with the ordering of the food, we finally started eating our dinner. That was when the staff started the turn the lights off and get ready to shut the place down for the night. We were really confused as we thought perhaps it was a lot later than we thought it was.. but no, it was only half 8. Anyway, we hurriedly ate what we could and bundled ourselves out of there.

After all the travelling and walking around in the cold, we were absolutely knackered (as we had underestimated the distances on the map and thought what would be an easy 15 minute walk turned out to be a brisk trot for about an hour), we took a taxi to the hotel and I brushed up on my food-related Mandarin vocab in an attempt to feed ourselves better the next day.

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