We have been doing our best to make our weekends count recently. This is the first time in 10 years, that I have had a normal Monday to Friday schedule. It’s a very odd feeling really but it works so well when having a family.
With the fading summer weather we have been taking advantage of our weekends to get out and do as much as we can. In the last month we have been to the Nanjing Museum, Maoshan (a Taoist mountain) and also were able to go to a local vineyard. They have all been small day outings, close to home, but wonderfully different from our usual hustle and bustle of the work week. These have all been family outings and that has been so refreshing for me.
The little guy playing on the benches at the Nanjing Museum
The Nanjing Museum: The Nanjing Museum is a huge complex that has just recently opened its doors to the public. I have been to a lot of museums; this one really blew my mind. It is wonderfully designed but most of the exhibition space is underground. All of the exhibitions are very family oriented, easy to move around in and put together well. Of course for my little man, the best part was the bench structure in the central lobby. In fact all the kids seemed to love that, even more than the history and art and that was ok… that is what family outings are all about.
The huge vistage of Laozi (老子) on the mountain at Maoshan
Maoshan: Visiting a Taoist mountain temple in China is hard to describe. Not only is it a historical, cultural and religious space but all too often these become tourist destinations. My wife visited Maoshan almost every year growing up and she assures me it has changed a lot over the years. There are now tickets at the gates and busses to take you up the mountain, along with a throng of visitors that were never there when she was little. Still, I find it wonderful taking our son to places she visited growing up.
Picking grapes at the vineyard
The Vineyard: There are numerous small vineyards in the outlaying areas around Nanjing. Most of these are simply for raising fruit through a few make wines as well. Our visit was more for grapes (we took home 5 different varieties) though we did get to sample some homemade wine that was surprisingly good. Again, other than a delicious snack, little kids are not overly interested in visiting vineyards. However, when there are geese, ducks and peacocks there as well, it’s a whole different story. We also did this trip with another family who also has a young boy. Watching the two of them run around together was extremely entertaining.
I am hoping that we can sneak in a few more outings before the weather changes. Nanjing is famous for having extremely short spring and autumn seasons (a week each when it comes to weather). We should have another month or so of warm weather before it starts to drop off, so we should be able to get out and visit a few more places. The hot springs are next on our list!