|A view of countryside from the train|
|The old city wall (6km)|
|A courtyard of our guesthouse|
|Bikes and rickshaws rule|
the road here
During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Pingyao became extremely wealthy and was the closest location of banks to the seat of the empire, in Beijing (then Peking). Anyone interested in acquiring a loan would have to travel to Pingyao to meet with the bankers. This stimulated other businesses, such as guesthouses and restaurants. You can visit the original banks and stay in the guesthouses, all located within the old city wall. This part of the city does not allow cars, and the predominant form of transportation is bikes.
|Intricate gargolyes and lattice work|
grace the preserved homes
We spent the days biking around the old town. There were a few temples and museums to visit, and I walked atop the entire 6km of the old wall, which gave me great views of the city and homes. We found the local food delicious and interesting, with lots of mushrooms, potatoes, noodles (potato and oat!) and spices. Preserved beef is common to the cuisine there, but being vegan, I passed on that. I did try some very interesting Sea hawkthorn juice, which was both sweet and tart and the color of mango juice. We also visited shops. Local goods include lacquered boxes and handmade shoes. I didn't indulge in either, but did buy a hand-carved wooden fruit basket and some candies. My mother bought some very good jasmine tea.
|Biking along the old city wall|