For this two-day trip we headed north to Hebei Province to take a look about the ancient walled towns in the area. Being just outside the main line of Ming Dynasty Great Wall, the big walls were needed for protection.
This is one of the few trips we have where we don’t do any hiking. We do a lot of walking, though, exploring the old alleys, lanes, castles, and temples of the towns, and getting an up-close look at what goes on in small towns 280km out of Beijing.
This is also the trip during which we see the Dashuhua performance, where molten iron is flung at the big walls to create a display a little similar to fireworks. But this time we didn’t get any photos of that! What we did get photos of are the ancient architecture and the interesting life of locals – see the photos below!
Homemade smoked tofu, drying in the sun. Yu County is well-known for its tofu!
The gate of the North Castle, where you can see the marks left from where they used to splash the molten iron during performances.
The gate here dates back some 100 years, to the Republic of China period.
“Let’s get this thing moving.”
Sunflowers behind a mudbrick wall, right by the south gate of the North Castle.
Greens growing in a courtyard in the town.
Taking a look at a Ming Dynasty-era tunnel, recently reopened.
Some Nuanquan Town locals sitting streetside.
Homemade moon cakes, ready for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival.
We happened on some stilt-dancers.
Another shot of the men on stilts.
This looks like a very spicy mixture …
Stilt-dancing must be hard work. Time for a cigarette break!
A shot from inside the Pavilion of the Jade Emperor, which used to be a watchtower looking out over the plains.
These two were also visiting.
We saw frescoes painted during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).
The God of Thunder.
Locals outside the general store of a small village.
Birds for sale – a common sight.
Books for sale, too.
Dried fruit, including apricots.