Today began with a special excursion to the Hutong village organized by our Tour Director. Hutong means “alley” in English and the village is a network of alleyways lined with very old houses that families have lived in for generations. The area we visited is in the city center, just behind the Forbidden City that we visited on our first day.
We started out by hopping on rickshaws and drove through the maze of a village with the help of our skilled driver—it was definitely the best way to see the small streets and neighborhoods of the area.
We visited a family who have lived in their 360-year-old hutong house for four generations. I liked that we got to see inside their home and ask questions to gain insight into their way of life. Their home was modest but well-designed—at 600 square feet, it provided them with all the essentials, plus a shared courtyard space and a nice art studio for the owner, who is a painter.
He showed us some of his artwork, which hangs in local galleries in Beijing. His work beautifully mixes the traditional Chinese brushwork with his own modern take. I was very tempted to take one home with me—and several people in our group did.
Next, we fly to Yichung then board our boat for a four-day Yangtze River cruise! I’m excited to see China from the water.
Read more about Christine’s adventures through China by following along on her live blog page.