In recent times I have decided to dedicate a little more? of attention to little tourist destinations, or as they say in English: off the beaten path.
Visiting the city? famous like London, or iconic places of a nation such as the Eiffel Tower? always interesting but, when I can, I prefer to explore places where tourists are few and the atmosphere? pi? genuine. This year I have been to some remote areas of China and can I say that? it was a great choice. Three places that particularly impressed me were Da Shan Bao, Luoping and Heqing.
I was in Heqing last March and in those days yes? held for the first time a festival attended by several of the Chinese minorities. Not everyone knows that in China there are more? of 50 ethnic groups each with their own language, culture and typical customs. The official name of the Festival? Heqing Qifeng Pear Flower Festival and how can it? guess,? was celebrated in honor of the flowering of the Pear trees. In fact, in the area there are over 20.000 trees that bloom around half a mile. March. This is the equivalent of Sakura flowering in Japan.
In the morning yes? held the actual festival. I got to closely see the Bai minority who? originally from the Heqing area.
The authorities locals set up a stage on which the various minorities took turns performing traditional dances and songs.
Many of the people who attended the festival live in the countryside and haven't seen many foreigners in their life. I was the only one present at the festival and needless to say I was among the main attractions ... The Chinese love to photograph themselves with Westerners and I couldn't escape :)
I was also interviewed by a local TV.
After the festival I went to photograph the blossoms of the trees.
Trees are the main source of livelihood for those who live in those areas. Some are hundreds of years old and one is over 600 years old. The people who live in the surrounding countryside take care of the Pear trees and make sure that the harvest is good. Are pears actually? pi? similar to apples (for shape). The taste, to be honest, doesn't it? exciting. They are rather sour pears and in fact they are dried and eaten after some time.
The festival? It was designed to encourage tourism in an area otherwise cut off from tourists who prefer to visit nearby Dali, Ljiang and Shangri La.
The town of Heqing? also famous for the various artificial bodies of water and for the handcrafted production of silver teapots. The best time to visit this area? spring when you can? to observe the flowering and the climate? mild. In the summer it can? in fact it is very hot and the winters are quite cold.
Getting to Heqing not? difficult. There are two options: the train or the plane.
In China you can move easily with trains that have affordable prices. Is the station right in the city? and if you take a ticket in the sleeper cars the journey will not? too tiring.
If you are too far away and the train hours are long, Heqing? also reachable by plane. The city's airport? Lijiang (one of the main tourist destinations in the region) is located near Heqing. To move around the city? and reach the festival venue (Qifeng)? for? your own vehicle is essential.
Can I say that I participate in the festival? was a good opportunity to learn more about a reality? of which we hear little: China's ethnic minorities.