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A Relaxing Blue Sky & River Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Jilin, Jilin! New York, New York! Jilin is the only city in China that shares the same name as its province but somehow I doubt if it will get a song written after it.

Strangely though, for a city that really doesn’t have much to offer I ended up staying five nights. Maybe it was the heat and the delicious food to be found, or maybe it was the clear blue skies that reminded me of home. Either of which the girls in tiny denim shorts and high heels definitely had something to do with it as Jilin’s female population are some of the most beautiful in all of China.

The city lies in the middle and southern part in Jilin province and in the mountainous area of Changbai Mountain but the city itself is built on the Songliao Plain.

For most, winter is definitely the time to come to the city for the ski slopes at Songhua Lake and also those at the famous Beidahu Ski Area which hosted the 2007 Asian Winter Games. Like Harbin city, but not as famous, in January Jilin also holds its annual Ice Lantern Festival. One other thing winter lovers will get to see that I didn’t is the spectacular and peculiar phenomenon of needle like frost covering the trees along the Songhua River which is caused by steam rising from the waters.

Being a summer man, I’d rather upload a photo from the internet of such things! In Manchurian dialect the city is named 'City Along The River.

Flanked by a waterfront promenade lined with pine and willow trees, the Songhua River cuts through the middle of Jilin making for an easy navigational landmark. For a modern city known to be predominantly industrial, Jilin has a surprising number of large parks, possibly the city's best feature. In spring and summer, pack a picnic lunch and take a walk through Qingnian Park which takes you along the Songhua River and then head south across Jilin Bridge over to Century Square and Jiangnan Park (also the winter location of the Ice Lantern Festival).

Other than that, just eat, eat, eat as even I was surprised as to how many awesome restaurants and street side night BBQ’s this city had to offer and yes given the chance I’d visit here again over many cities I have been to…love this city!

<u>History</u>

Jilin was established as a fort city in 1673 to keep out foreign and domestic invaders. While it was established in the fear of attack, the city remained relatively peaceful until World War II when it suffered heavy damages and was looted by Russian troops. After the Communist victory, Jilin's fortunes improved as the city transformed itself into an industrial powerhouse. Today it specialises in the manufacturing of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and machines, as well as electricity from its hydroelectric power plant.

The city itself has few tourist attractions, but there are a couple odd little gems.

<u>Confucius Temple (Wen Miao)</u>

Temples dedicated to Confucius were built so that the great Sage would bestow good luck on hopefuls taking the Huikao which was the notoriously difficult imperial examinations. This quiet temple, set in three court yards is the largest Confucius temple in Manchuria and supposedly the second largest in the world and was originally built in 1736. It includes an exhibition on the Qing Dynasty imperial examination system along with a glorious Confucius sculpture in front of the main buildings.

<u>Catholic Church </u>

Jilin’s most distinctive building is also its main landmark, built in 1917 in Gothic style it was completely ransacked during the Cultural Revolution and had its doors closed until 1980. It is an active church with a few dedicated nuns and a convent next door and believe me, during the summer months it’s a great place to escape not only the contemporary modern money-oriented city for a time but also the heat. The interior design is similar to that of churches built throughout Scandinavia during the early 20th century.

<u>Beishan Park </u>

Found to the north west of the city Beishan Park is an awesome place to spend the entire day. It is not only leafy but it also has several lakes along with several small mountains where you can easily fill in many hours peacefully walking around and also scattered throughout the park can be found several temples.

<u>Jiangnan Park & Century Square </u>

If you are into skating, then found just south of Jilin Bridge is the place for you and as most usually travel without their skates or skateboard, then luckily there are both for hire. During the summer months you can take a dip in the free riverside swimming pool and for those that care about &#8216;those who love animals’, also visit the tiny animal sanctuary. It really isn’t anything special for most of us but your entry fee (think of it as a donation) goes to keeping it open along with feeding the birds etc.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Cream The album was &#8216;Gold & Greatest Hits’ ____________________________________________________________

A Relaxing Blue Sky Adventure

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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