31.07.2015 36 °C
For our next adventure in Jinan we decided to visit Quancheng Square, Baotu springs and the Five Dragon Pool, three of Jinan's main landmarks.
To get there, we decided to take the bus again and it was an easy ride straight into the city centre where the landmarks are located. I know we mentioned that we would be posting a video of our journey on here but after a closer look Traveller's Point require you to upload videos through either YouTube or Vimeo, both of which are blocked in China. So, it looks like we won't be sharing it with you, sorry!
Quancheng Square is the central square of the city and is immediately recognisable by its large blue statue and fountains. As we arrived, the fountains had come to life, putting on a pretty impressive show. They were accompanied by opera and then the Titanic theme, which did make it all seem a little overblown. Still, it made for quite the sight! Wandering through the square towards the statue, we were suddenly stopped by a group of what looked like university students with microphones and a television camera. One of the guys leapt straight into his interview full of confidence, until he realised he couldn't speak English! It took an awkward few minutes of him looking desperately to his friends and trying to translate what he wanted to say on his phone before, luckily, one of the girls in his group came to the rescue. She managed to explain that they wanted to find out if we knew of any 'big news or hot events'. Sadly we didn't, so they instead asked us to repeat some phrase in Chinese with them to the camera and we were on our way. It was all a little surreal and no doubt the first guys going to struggle to live it all down! We made our way to the statue next, which isn't as big as it looks in any pictures you see of it. Still, I thought it looked pretty cool. Kathy, however, wasn't impressed.
Jinan is known as the city of springs, having over seventy of them. Baotu spring is probably the most famous and was really easy to find, it just across the road from the square. The main spring is well hidden in what feels like a labyrinth of paths, pavilions and pools. It was an extremely hot day and the whole place was filled with parents and children. Most of the children had water pistols but they were surprisingly well behaved though, and we avoided getting wet. We came across a number of areas that had been deliberately flooded, with stepping stones through the water. It was here where most of the crowds were and a lot of families were enjoying the water and the shade. After a wander, we finally found the main spring. It looks like a large pool, with an ornate pavilion and we couldn't see anything that gave it away to be a spring. It was still pretty impressive though and well worth a visit.
As usual, we spent most of the time being stared at and we had barely stepped past the entrance before a girl was asking to have her picture taken with us. That was fine, but we did notice a few people trying to take sneaky shots of us. One guy even walked ahead of his wife to try and get a picture of us in the background with her! Still, since we've been here we've only seen a couple of other westerners so its understandable that people are going to be curious.
To round off our trip, we visited the Five Dragon Pool which, again, isn't far from the Quancheng Square. It only cost 50p to get in and as soon as you enter you come across the five dragons standing over a large pool. The rest of the area is similar to Baotu Spring, but on a smaller scale, with pools and pavilions.
Well, that;s it for today's post. Our next adventure is to Jinan Zoo tomorrow in search of giant pandas so check back soon for that. Also, take a look at our new instagram page https://instagram.com/whtkathyandgavin/ for more pictures of our travels. Be sure to follow us on there and subscribe to our blog!