第三天，我们去了洛阳郊外举世闻名的龙门石窟。洛阳有着4000多年城市史，是丝绸之路的东方起点。在中国，洛阳被归为一个中等规模的城市 – 人口只有7.1百万！龙门石窟是由一系列的洞穴组成的。在洞穴里，有石刻的佛像。根据专家所说的，龙门石窟是石窟寺，也就是说信任去龙门石窟祈祷，崇拜大佛了。龙门石窟给了我留下很深刻的印象因为亲眼看到的石窟比我想象中的壮观得多。
Last weekend, I travelled to Luoyang, Shaolin Temple and Kaifeng on a shoestring. After a busy week in Beijing, I was very excited to escape the Capital and explore some places I had never been to before. After finishing class, we went to the station to board the so-called fast train (actually China’s slowest train) to Henan.
Train attendants sell all sorts of products on Chinese trains. From Inner Mongolian milk pills (I personally still think milk is better as a liquid), to train souvenirs, they sell it all. That day’s specialty was preserved Xinjiang fruit. One passenger bought some and gave us some to try. They were pretty good. We chatted with the other passengers for a bit, and then decided to get some sleep because we had an early start in the morning.
Our first destination was Shaolin Temple. Shaolin Temple has a long history and is known far and wide. Shaolin Temple is the ancestral temple for Chinese Chan Buddhism and is the birthplace of Kung Fu. I’ve been interested in Kung Fu since I was little, so being able to go to Shaolin Temple really was a dream come true! Perhaps the most famous part of Shaolin temple is the Forest of Pagodas. There are stone brick burial pagodas from the Tang, Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties as well as from the modern era. The most unforgettable experience was seeing the Shaolin Monk Kung Fu show. They invited some members of the audience up onto the stage to copy the monks’ movements. They obviously were not able to copy the monks’ movements successfully, but everybody supported them and cheered them on! On the next day, we went to Kaifeng to do some sightseeing. I had heard that Kaifeng had lots of delicious food. My favourite was their Xiaolongbao (a sort of dumpling with a soup-like liquid in them). Just thinking about them makes my mouth water!
On the third day, we went to the world famous Longmen Grottos on the outskirts of Luoyang. Luoyang is a city with over 4000 years of history and was the eastern starting point of the Silk Roads. In China, Luoyang is classified as a medium scale city – its population is ‘only’ 7.1 million people! The Longmen Grottos are made up of a series of caves. In the caves, there are stone carvings of the Buddha. According to experts, the Longmen Grottos are “grotto temples”, which means believers went to the Longmen Grottos to pray and worship the Buddha. The Longmen Grottos left a deep impression on me as seeing the Grottos with my own eyes was even more spectacular than I had imagined!
I really love budget travelling. When I’m in Europe, I like to go travelling with my friends. One time we bought return flights to Sweden for just £2. We could not believe it! But apart from being cheaper, budget travelling also has other advantages. The most important of these is that it gives us more opportunities to come into contact with local people. As a language student, these chance encounters are really valuable opportunities, as each encounter provides opportunities to improve my language level and practise speaking Chinese. This is really important as it is only through continuous practise that we can master a language. After all, practise really does make perfect!