Destinations Magazine

Category Is... Changsha, China!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Changsha was about to turn the heat up, I wanted to speak to the manager! Those temperatures were no joke! Hunan's Provincial Museum was buzzing but I remembered the history that was served to me! I saw another statue of Mr. Mao Ze Dong because he's a local Changsha boy. Oh, the Yuelu Academy saw me climb to new heights, I was not ready for Zhangjiajie! Hectic, much? 

Category Is... Changsha, China!

Meeting my guide and the driver for the day bright and early the next morning had to be done, I had just enough time to swing by KFC for some breakfast before we left for my Changsha tour. Those scorching Hunan temperatures mirrored Wuhan's furnace-like heat, I needed that sun to wake up late! I had three primary stops during that day tour, the following day would see me heading to Zhangjiajie, I was ready for that August day out in Changsha. Rocking up to 'Hunan Museum' allowed me to witness a pure frenzy at the ticket gate. I am no 'Karen' but certain elements of that 'entry experience' had me wanting to lodge a recommendation to customer services. Moving away from that unfortunate display, I learned that the museum was packed because of the 'Aztec' exhibition that was being displayed. With travel to Mexico being a serious luxury long haul travel choice, the brightly presented 'Aztec' exhibits opened that part of the world for the masses without them needing to travel out of the city. It was complete madness!

Mawangdui? Yes, I wasn't ready for that information overload because 'King Ma's Tomb' commanded my attention for sure! My tour guide did the most, his knowledge was exceptional because I had to rely on him to translate most of the museum exhibits within that part of the overflowing 'house of knowledge'. Shaped like a saddle? I thought those double mounds looked like a pair of 'Bristol's!' No lie, those double peaked treasures harboured three mummified bodies of a king, his wife and their boy child. First excavated from 1972 through 1974, word on the street was that the haul found from the tombs was major! Moving through the exhibits within that everlasting 'Mawangdui' part of the museum schooled me that many items such as ceramics and papyrus like scrolls had been found during the works. Witnessing one of the supposed mummies from the former tomb turned my stomach upside down! Aside from the maddening crowd, I felt content with what I saw and learnt. Oh, Changsha was doing the most! 

Category Is... Changsha, China!

Crossing the 'Xiangjiang River' for the first time took me to my next destination, I knew that the day had only just started! The sanctuary of that air conditioned car was the one, I actually didn't want to leave it! Making my way closer to 'Yuelu Academy' allowed me to clock 'Hunan University' with a minute or two to spare. I was getting major 'Wuhan University' vibes with the red brick and concrete characteristics. I loved taking a few moments to take in this second 'house of knowledge'. I was surprised to know that Hunan University was one of the few educational institutions in China to allow non-students to access the gardens. I loved that fact but the itinerary didn't allow for a gander around that higher education facility. Embracing the positives, I loved taking my photos of that Changsha based university nevertheless! I felt like returning to Changsha with the tour present afforded me to see much more of the city, 2016 gave me fuel for 2023! Even the Changsha Metro had been extended to my next destination, thanks! 

Another statue of 'Mao Ze Dong?' Yes, Dongfanghong Square served me a second Changsha based statue of that former leader of the People's Republic of China. Was 'Mr. Mao' following me? I don't think he was but I thought to myself, did that upstanding statue have anything to do with the close proximity of the university? I wanted to know! If truth be told, I knew nothing about that statue and to be honest I still don't but I paid attention to it. People were loving their lives, taking their photos of and with the towering 'Mao' figure. I guess, whatever floats your boat? Definitely! Those crowds were building, I tried to keep my cool but the weather had me feeling beyond hot and bothered. Waving Mao goodbye, that Changsha located statue reminded me of the Mao statue that I saw in China's Shenyang City. That Northwest based 'Zedong' figure served 'flag me a taxi' energy with Mr. Mao's left hand in the air. Moving on and up, you already know that my passport would be needed to access the next spot. Was I sweating? Yes, drenched! 

Category Is... Changsha, China!

Founded in 976, Changsha's 'Yuelu Academy' started to educated those who craved to know the ways of Confucianism. Stretching back over 1047 years previous to that 2023 moment, I was ready to sop all of that fascinating knowledge and history. The many gates impressed me much with their design and collective history, I had to keep my ears open because the rate of information from my tour guide was plentiful. I loved the 'Lecutre Hall', there was a fair few stories to be told from that structure. It was a trifle difficult to keep up with all of the facts, I focused on the aesthetics. I loved the huge hanging script, those two facing chairs allowed me to visualise the thinkers that this former university had welcomed. Moving towards the '爱晚亭/Love Dusk Pavilion' with its red and green design, sure I fell in love with that structure and the formation of bamboo. I was feeling adventourous, I wanted to see what was further up the 'Yuelu Mountain'. Let me just say, that was a choice for sure! CS, Yuelu Academy impressed me! 

Had I become delirious? I had envisaged seeing a stone-looking structure at the entrance of Changsha'a Yuelu Academy. Did I see that? No, I did not! Fearing that, I suggested that we start the climb up to the top of the mountain, everything was shaded and that lulled me into false sense of security. The hill got steeper, those stone steps grew ever narrow, there was no way I was going to turn back! The rainforest like views had me wondering whether I had stepped into the jungle? Honestly, those cocktails from the evening before started to haunt me, I was not in a good way as the path up kept on getting more intense! Finding a can of beer near the top was a blessing, I needed to keep my ish together during that Yuelu moment! Getting to the top forced me to face what was actually in front of me, well just at the top of a few steps. No banister was present, for that I said 'no more' because I needed something to steady myself. A little confusion my guide did meet, he wasn't from Changsha but that wasn't relevant in that moment. Not this! 

Category Is... Changsha, China!

Descending from that mountain situation had me feeling relieved, I was hungry for something to eat because lunch didn't occur that day! I first bought a breakfast-like egg wrap but that was destined for the bin, that hasty purchase wasn't the one! My guide went over to get some local Changsha noodles, I ended up getting some for myself to try. I really enjoyed those Hunan style noodles, the peanuts were a great addition. I was done with the day and thankfully the itinerary had finished for the day. Walking along that crazy food street really cemented that I was in a tourist honey pot, I felt glad that my time spent at Changsha's Yuelu Academy had come to an end. I had enjoyed my day but you know that the air conditioning in the car hit different, Changsha had served what it was supposed to serve. From the pandemonium of the museum to the history served at the academy, that Hunan city showed me everything and more. My mountain experience wouldn't come close to what I was about to experience the next day! Done!

Looking forward to some downtime was the one, getting back to my hotel was a relief because the heat became too much for me to handle. I honestly felt disgusting after the days activities but all of them had been worth it, yes it had been worth all of the sweat! Grim! I focused on getting my clothes washed because I had found out that the hotel operated a free guest laundry service. Making the most of that room had to be done, I got down to completing another blog post from my time in Beijing. Pressing pause on my already nonstop summer holiday within China was duly noted, I just wanted to have a quiet evening without any cocktails involved. I headed downstairs just after nightfall to find that the same guy was there making fried rice. I kept my tea simple, that similar portion of fried rice tasted the same, no complaints found. Sleeping like a baby, I would need to be ready for my high speed train the next day from Changsha Railway Station to Zhangjiajie West Railway Station. Leaving Changsha behind me, I felt accomplished. 

Hunan She Better Don't! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure

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