Pingyao is one of the 4 cities in China with a wall around it. On arrival last night we already had the idea of stepping back in time and this feeling remains when we walk out of the hotel. The narrow streets with old traditional houses are a sight itself. Most of the old houses have red lanterns hanging outside giving the place an even more special feeling. Next to the hotel a butcher is sharpening his knife and across the street we notice an old barbershop. An old man on a bicycle passes and with a big smile he greets us in Chinese. Ni hao! Yes, this is China at it¡¯s best!
We walk around the narrow streets and browse around in the few touristy shops. Fortunately, Pingyao hasn¡¯t become seriously touristy yet but has the comforts wanted. In the afternoon we find a nice cafe where we update the site and enjoy a banana pancake and later some dinner.
The hotel we stay in is located in a traditional house which has a beautiful courtyard. The rooms surround the courtyard and have traditional beds in it. The bed are (extremely) thin matrasses on a concrete blok of half a meter high. A bit too hard if you ask us but nice for a change. The bathroom is westernstyle but has a typical chinese toilet in it (we won¡¯t describe the sight).
Our bodies can use a massage after the long drives. We find a (true) massage parlour across the street and can choose either between a foot cleaning massage or a full body massage. We opt for the full body massage. The Chinese massage technique aims at the area around the spinalcord. The force they use and the pain it¡¯s causing is probably good for something. But luckily we notice a head massage is included as well. We like headmassages as they give you a fuzzy feeling in the head. We enjoy the fuzzy feeling untill the point where two fingers are placed deep into our ears (!) and they start pulling hard. Within a split second we are forced back to reality and are happy to have cleaned our ears earlier that day! Relaxing the massage eventually is and with a smile on our face we return to our room….