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Jinan Travel Blog

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For lunch we went to a restaurant in Tai'an city center, the not very originally named TaiShan Restaurant, and had the special Tofu feast there. Well, you wouldn't think you can have a whole feast of 19 dishes out of which 16 were made with tofu? Anyway, some of these dishes were really good, unfortunately I did not take any photos. The one called "Hundred fortunes on top of meat" was made with square cut tofu checkered with pork, it looked real pretty and tasted equally good. Another dish called "Four happiness with tofu flowers" was made with real tender tofu (sometimes called "tofu brains" in Chinese) and I really enjoyed it too. The "Three beauties of Tai'an" were made with tofu, cabbage and spring water, simple and delicious. We even had dumplings made with tofu stuffings. This was a fun and good lunch.

Next stop was the Tai'an scientific exhibit hall. This official sounding and looking place was where they exhibit and sell freshwater pearls raised using the spring waters from the Black Dragon Pool on Mt Tai. If we had hiked up the mountain, we would have walked past the pool. This was a new industry they had started in the last 10-20 years, using knowledge of freshwater pearl farming from the Yangtze river area. They had many pearls for good prices, mostly necklaces, but also pearl powders and creams for applying to faces and hands. The Chinese have always believed in the beautification powers of pearls, even putting some pearl powders in tea, as the last Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi (or Cixi) of the Ching dynasty had done.

We headed  back to Jinan, but since it was later than originally planned, we only went to visit Daming Lake, and putting off the visit to the springs til tomorrow.

Daming Lake was in the center of Jinan, it had willows along the lake, and several small islands in the lake you could take a boat to. Along one side of the lake was sort of an amusement park with several rides, a real tall ferris wheel, and even some seal show. We just walked along the lake and enjoyed the scenery. It was not too crowded.

Next morning, before leaving Jinan, we stopped first thing in the morning (8am) at the most famous springs inside the city. Bao Tu Spring Park. Jinan has always been famous for its springs throughout history. The spring water is supposed to make real good tea. The park has more than 40 springs of various sizes, but the biggest one in the middle had 3 springs together bubbling up surrounded by pavillions and bridges. In some ancient times, it used to spring up a lot higher. Anyway, it was a very nice park, almost like a classical Chinese garden in Suzhou, with waterways, springs, man-made rock mountains, willows. There was also a memorial building here for the famous Chinese woman poet Lee Chin Chow, with several rooms showing wax figures depicting stories of her life. We spent about 1 hour in the park.
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photo by: portia