Confucious Forest: Green and Quiet

Qufu can boast not only the Confucius Mansions, which may well be China's answer to the Labyrinth of Cyprus. It also lays claim to the Confucian forest, north of the city and worth not only a visit but a picnic. Sitdown amongst the pleasant paths in the dark geen canopy. Each tree is aid to have been planted by a disciplie; tombs of the Kong Family are llocated here and many temples commemorate the visit or burial sites of other emperors. Its probably too much for the average westerner, since we cannot share the wisdom written on the stones and temple gates. I found the large forest a most pleasant complement to the hilly and often forested regions of China I had cycled through. The great age of the trees, and sense of calm, almost brooding, they conveyed stood in balance to the managed and busy forests one finds outside the Confucius gates.

Confucius' tomb is quite modest although the path leading to it is impressive. The two guradians of stone stand in echo of the two trees in front of the small temple; surprisingly bright and airy in contrast to the forest canopy.

The entire forest is quite large and best seen, in fact, on a bicycle! This is one of the few 'sights' I actually could bicycle around and through. I made sure I enjoyed the several paths which wound up a modest hill in the rear of the forest.

The entire park is surrounded by a high wall or mound of earth. Passing by it again on the way to Tai'an I was reminded of the sense of great age which the park makes you feel. China is an old country, with thousands of years of history to its credit. But much of the countryside is new as, in a frenzy, the communist planners and now the capitalist engineers sramble to meet the challenge of the 21st century.

You know when I got back and showed this picture to friends they liked it more than just about ANY of my China photos. It answered a question that I, as a traveler, had overlooked. "What does the typical chinese town and commercial area look like?" What do the people look like as they go about their business; how do they dress, get around, shop. Here they were not 'posing:' i just turned while i as riding and snapped this photo of Qufu city.

It was a rainy and dreary day as I departed Qufu, surprising chilly and raw as took this photo across the river at some other parts of the park. I am always amazed at just how chilly and sniffly ya can get on a trip when the weather turns foul.