Things were much more relaxed in Chengde because all the places we were visiting were quite close to the hotel. I even had time to draw a few pictures.
We went to the “Big Buddha Temple” (Puning Temple) where there was an enormous standing figure of GuanYin about three stories high carved out of five types of wood and polished highly so that it shone like gold. The place was bustling with activity, with monks and people praying and lighting incense.
We then went to a temple which was a replica of the Potala Palace in Tibet (Putuo Zongcheng Temple). It was quite different in style to the other temples we had visited, with its very austere exterior and elaborately decorated inner courtyard. It was quite a climb up to the top, but well worth it for the views.
After this we visited a school for 14-18 year olds where the teachers gave us a demonstration of Chinese painting and an explanation of some Chinese characters. I bought a painting of red and pink blossoms to match my cloisonné plate.
After lunch at the hotel we went to Pule Temple, high on a hill in an agricultural part of Chengde. It was unrestored and not in use as a monastery. This temple was the quietest place we had been – just our group and the people who work there. The place had a quite eerie feeling.
We went to a paper cutting business run by a family (Junfeng Paper Cutting), and the young niece of well-known paper cutter Shi Junfeng showed us how to cut out butterfly shapes. I bought a lovely papercut of two ladies stringing lanterns.
As we arrived back at the hotel our bus and a cyclist had a little collision – I’m not sure whose fault it was. The bus driver was most annoyed that his brand-new bus was scratched.