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When is lavender not lavender!!!

fullsizeoutput_3bbBefore heading to China last month I read about places around Beijing that had the top lavender gardens.  I love brightly coloured fields so took down the details of the one I thought was the best (Beijing Blues Lavender Manor) and arranged a driver to take us there a couple of days after arriving.  It took us over an hour from our Airbnb and it really was out the back of no-where; a downtrodden old street with huge construction over the road and on each side of the entry gates.

This is what the gardens looked like on the internet …be assured they looked absolutely nothing like this.b41a0db18723d0d497766ee02f981530wKgB4lKe7xSAb6XqAA0Vh04Cj6o22We hesitated as we arrived at the front gate because we were greeted by these two ‘people’…mmm not a great start.fullsizeoutput_3b6But because we had driven so far we decided to pay our 20 RMB ($4 AUD) each to go inside as I really wanted to see the beautiful lavender fields.  We started walking around the paths and the first tree we see is one with fake orange leaves and cheap umbrellas around the trunk.  Second bad sign.fullsizeoutput_3b7And then we were welcomed by some unusual little rope people along the pathway but no lavender yet…fullsizeoutput_3b8Then…in the distance we see a small field of purple but it was not lavender; they were some sort of weed and as we walked alongside we saw a chair in the middle of the field – guess this is in case you get tired and need a rest? But the ‘lavender’ had grown over so we decided not to stop!!fullsizeoutput_3b9fullsizeoutput_3baAs can be seen, this small field looks absolutely nothing like the internet photos but to add to our amusement there were a few other ‘interesting’ garden ornaments.

A lovely swing with artificial flowers…fullsizeoutput_3beAn old stone carriage that was impossible to enter…fullsizeoutput_3c0An interesting structure which I said looked like an outdoor toilet complete with more artificial flowers but no toilet!fullsizeoutput_3bcAnd I have no idea why rope Sponge Bob Square Pants was there but he was as were some unusual signs.fullsizeoutput_3c1fullsizeoutput_3bdNo more ‘lavender’ but a farewell from some more rope people. fullsizeoutput_3c2We haven’t laughed so much and spoke of this experience during the next four weeks travelling around China!  Our next stop was Liaoning Province over north/east China and we caught the fabulous bullet train from Beijing but it was Golden Week (national holidays) which meant all Chinese are on holidays.  Most of them at the train station…fullsizeoutput_3c3fullsizeoutput_3c4What a great experience travelling in business class with huge chairs, complimentary snacks, water, Chinese tea and slippers…fullsizeoutput_3c6fullsizeoutput_3c7fullsizeoutput_3c5fullsizeoutput_3c8And travelling at speeds of over 300km/h checking out the cities and rapeseed fields along the way.fullsizeoutput_3c9fullsizeoutput_3cafullsizeoutput_3cb