Nanjing Sights: Confucius Temple & Qinhuai River (#南京夫子庙和秦淮河)- Part Two

Dragons on Qinhuai River

Dragons on Qinhuai River

The second morning I was in Nanjing, ten days before the Year of Dragon came to an end, I was woken up by wafts of fragrant smells in the air, tantalizing my senses, making my appetite immediately alert with hunger – Home cooking by Mr Zhang.

“Today’s treat,” he said, as I sat down by the breakfast table, joined by Mrs Zhang and their niece, “is something very simple but special.”

“Wait for it,” Mrs Zhang continued with a smile, “It’s not something he does regularly, but he does it perfectly.”

The short but sweet suspense was soon revealed. Apart from the usual Chinese New Year treat of Tang Yuan, I had the honour to enjoy Mr Zhang’s Steamed Eggs!

Breakfast at Zhangs

“Wow,” I was delighted. “I do not remember the last time I had these. I used to love them, as a kid. Thank you!”

Qinhuai River 秦淮河

Qinhuai River 秦淮河

With a traditional Chinese breakfast happily tucked in my happy tommy, we were on our way to the final destination of my Nanjing visit – the Confucius Temple(Fuzimiao) by the famed Qinhuai_River.

My memories of Fuzimiao was distant and vague, not a place I frequented as a student without easy access to transport nor a great deal of leisure time. What came to my mind was scattered images of the river, the ancient-looking, pagoda-like roofed buildings on the river banks. I had learnt stories about the women who used to live in these houses, serving rich men with their sweet songs and sexy dances. Legends had it that these beautiful women, despite their rock-bottom social status as prostitutes and courtesans, were fiercely patriotic. They have been written into books by various scholars and writers, the most recent being made into a film called The_Flowers_of_War, directed by famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou and starring Christian Bale.

金陵十三钗

金陵十三钗

On arriving at Confucius Temple, we were immediately greeted by red lanterns and beautiful decorations. “We’ve picked a good time to visit. It’s morning and days before the Chinese New Year. It would be packed on the 1st day, and especially the 15th day of the Spring Festival.” My hosts repeated for emphasis.

Imperial Examination Hall

Imperial Examination Hall

Yes, I had no doubt that they were right. Everywhere I went in China, especially popular tourists attractions like this one, they were always packed, using a Chinese cliche 水泄不通 (even water cannot pass through) – The most striking image of today’s China in my mind had been ‘the ever-flowing human river’ which is constantly rushing forward, not stopping for anyone or anything.

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Sauntering along the streets, which appeared wet and shiny, perhaps melting from the night frost and morning dew, my hosts and I took turns to pose and shoot photos of the sights and street scenes.  With its long history and reputation, you could find a great deal of goods in Fuzimiao’s markets, from antiques, artifacts, to household pets and Yuhua Shi (Rain Flower Pebble, a unique Nanjing souvenir). Vendors of all kinds would tempt you to try whatever they had in their possession, from folk handicrafts to a variety of delicious snacks. A perfect combination of trade with tourism, a mixture of catering and culture, and sense of fun!

Food on Offer at Fuzimiao

Food on Offer at Fuzimiao

Although still full from my ample breakfast, my hosts had in mind to treat me with the local Qinhuai selection of tasty dishes. My final hour in Nanjing was well spent in a restaurant which offered just that. Minutes after we took our seats, our table was filled with various small saucers and  bowls, containing around 25 different local specialities, some tofu based, others included steamed dim sums, tea eggs, salad vegetables and dark-boned chicken soups.

秦淮小吃

秦淮小吃

With these fabulous pictures of Qinhuai delicious offerings, I conclude today’s post. Hopefully I would have tempted you to pay a visit to Nanjing in your future China tour. Although my impressions of Nanjing are by no means comprehensive, I hope that I have given you a few highlights of this wonderful Southern Capital of China, and her hospitable people.

The Zhangs with their Niece - she has a date in Fuzimiao on the day :)

The Zhangs with their Niece – she has a date in Fuzimiao on the day :)

Goodbye, Year of Dragon! Welcome, Year of Snake :)  送旧迎新

Goodbye, Year of Dragon! Welcome, Year of Snake :) 送旧迎新

About Junying Kirk

I came to Britain from China in 1988. I have worked as an academic, administrator, researcher, teacher and cultural consultant. When not travelling to Courts & Police stations as a professional interpreter, I enjoy reading & writing books, travelling the world and blogging about my adventures :). My 'Journey to the West' trilogy - 'The Same Moon', 'Trials of Life' and 'Land of Hope' - have been published on Amazon (both on Kindle and paperbacks), Smashwords and iBook. I live in Birmingham, UK with my husband.
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6 Responses to Nanjing Sights: Confucius Temple & Qinhuai River (#南京夫子庙和秦淮河)- Part Two

  1. Jane Isaac says:

    What a fabulous post, Junying. The food looks amazing and I love the photos and hearing about your travelling experiences. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I travel vicariously with you Junying….thank you for sharing. The food and sights are sooooo interesting…my husband and I watch all the Travel Shows available on TV but usually they don’t tell the tale as personally as you do. Handsome family…by the way.

  3. Jean Brown says:

    Junying, your travels sound so fascinating. Your personal experiences does motivate me to visit your homeland, and it also makes me very hungry. Thanks for sharing.

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