A slow stroll down a long alley
Whilst visiting Sichuan Province our friend Peter took Jon and I to a famous alleyway called Kuanzhai Xiangzi which consists of a wide alley (Kuan Xiangzi) and a narrow alley (Zhai Xiangzi). There are actually three parallel ancient city alleyways and forty-five courtyards along them and I am sure most Sichuanese were out on the same day as us [it was a Sunday so it is lovely to see everyone out and about]. But boy oh boy; so many people!!There was plenty to see along the way including lovely entry ways to courtyards and shops and beautiful large wooden doors with brass knockers…And of course ‘interesting’ figures. But I feel this one made some sense [much more than others I have seen] as the province of Sichuan is known for its spicy chilli dishes and the figure was outside a shop grinding fresh chillies…One thing that the alley has is plenty of food stores selling all sorts of wonderful hot and cold dishes to eat like beautifully displayed tofu with lots of chilli, sweet fried balls and bread along with cold rice and noodle dishes.
The history of the alley way is dated back to the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD). At that time, the area was a city called Mancheng City or Shaocheng City where its residents were troops. As with most places left unrestored, the city decayed but in 2003 renovations began and the alley way opened in 2008. It has small restaurants/souvenir shops created to look like those from the Qing Dynasty and of course tea rooms selling delicious Chinese tea.
I really enjoyed seeing the local drinks and desserts as they are very different to what we enjoy here in Australia. Pretty drinks with what looked like hot ice coming out of the top of a very large plastic cup.And all flavours and colours of ice cream (some more interesting than others), ice blocks, small rice cups, cups full of cream and fruit and of course watermelon.We walked one length of the alley on the right hand side and then turned around and walked up the other way to make sure we saw all the shops…a lovely afternoon out even though most of Chengdu was with us!!