A view from the limestone hills
Zhaoqing is not one of those typical places that you would visit when you travel to China. It is situated in Guangdong province, formerly known as Canton and it normally attracts more local visitors from nearby Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other cities. I had my personal agenda and we could say that it was a bit of a social affair. The plan was to bring my friends and myself together. Back in the summer Marianna and I decided to venture out to China and meet up with Tomasz, who has been living there for more than a year now. A stop at Zhaoqing on route to Hainan Island was our mini school reunion.
Once we left Hong Kong behind our adventure in the southern part of China commenced. As soon as we stepped outside Zhaoqing train station all eyes were on us. Everyone was staring! The stories I heard from my friends were true and it was only the beginning… How lucky that I was not on my own!
Tomasz works at the Zhaoqing University so we were treated to a tour around the campus. It was truly impressive with many apartment buildings, research facilities, several canteens, an artificial lake and the surrounding hills. It was also enormous! Just outside the campus we were able to find a nice place to enjoy tasty food in a nice company of other teachers, friends of Tomasz.
Zhaoqing, located the southern side of Tropic of Cancer, is famous for its subtropical scenery with the Star Lake and the Seven Star Crags Park being the jewel in the crown of the city. The seven limestone crags are naturally arranged in the same formation as the seven stars of the Big Dipper constellation so hence the name of the park.
I highly recommend visiting this incredible place. You can buy a ticket (around $13) at one of the gates and you will need to devote at least a couple of hours to explore its vastness. Nicole, Tomek’s friend was our great guide that day and we were glad that she did not mind walking with us for hours. Her stories and local perspective were invaluable.
Our day was busy and we were tired but climbing the crags was a must. It was the best way to overlook the Star Lake and the city. Since I have been hanging out with teachers I will say: Top marks from me!