now browsing by month
I’ve done some travelling in my time, but i’ve always wanted to go to China. I was actually just reading about an ancient bridge that recently got “rediscovered”. It was a granite bridge built during the Ming Dynasty and it reappeared in China’s Lake Poyang. As the lake’s waters receded, they revealed this long-forgotten structure.
The 2,930 meter bridge is said to be the longest built across any lake in the entire country. This is quite fitting, since Lake Poyang is the largest freshwater lake in China.
The bridge is said to have over 1000 spans, or holes in its body, prompting the nickname “Thousand Eye Bridge”. Four hundred years ago, it served as a major commerce and traffic route for those living around this enormous body of water, crucial to daily life in ancient China.
The bridge has, of course, collapsed, but the basic structure is still evident. It is made of granite “planks” that measure about 30 cm wide, by 15 cm thick, by 182 cm long. These heavy planks formed the deck of the bridge, and were placed on solidly set piers, also made of granite.
Poyang Lake, which as covered as much as 4,500 square kilometers of land in the past, has receded over the last few years. Experts say this is due, in part, to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. This, and lower than average rainfall, have reduced the lake to fewer than 1,500 square kilometers. This is also the dry season, so the combination of the three factors has revealed the ancient bridge.
The lake is fed by three rivers that merge into the Yangtze. When the Yangtze changed course in the 400s, it caused the Gan River to back up, forming Lake Poyang.
The Three Gorges Dam holds water in reservoirs for the surrounding populace. However, with the decreased water of the Yangtze, water has been siphoned out of Lake Poyang, making the situation worse.
The falling water levels have proven devastating to the locals, 70% of whom make their livings as fishermen. A fishing ban, enacted in 2002, is still in place.
Not only are fish threatened, but plankton and other organisms have also suffered. This has produced a major threat to migratory birds, as this lake is a major stop on long migratory routs for many species.
The finless porpoise, native to Lake Poyang, is also threatened, and it is feared that it may become extinct as the Yangtze river dolphin before it.
In 2012, the Chinese government ordered a massive drop of shrimp, maize, and millet to feed both the dolphins and the migratory birds.
In the 1300s, Lake Poyang was the site of what is said to be one of the largest battles in naval history. It also has a reputation for being the Chinese version of the Bermuda Triangle, with many ship disappearances reported. The latest disappearance was in 1945, when a Japanese troop ship carrying 20 sailors vanished.
The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644, when it fell to the Mongols. By the end of that time period, known as the Chongzhen period, the Ming Dynasty had built about 1,000 such bridges, according to the Beijing News.
There’s a lot of history to China, and I think it would be a great place to visit. There are few places with such a rich and interesting culture. I think I would like to learn some of the language before I go though, I wouldn’t want to have to rely on translation services on my phone or something similar. Although that could be helpful to translate the interesting food and other stuff that you find at the street vendors. You have to be careful what you eat, it’s not uncommon for street vendors and some of the cheaper restaurants to use something called gutter oil.
Gutter oil is probably one of the nastiest things I have seen, where they scrape the remnants of food waste and animal fat from the sewers, and use it to cook food!
You don’t have to fly abroad to have yourself a good time do you? A lot of people that I know don’t think that holidaying in the UK is the same, but you can most definitely have as much fun. The wondrous areas of the UK can be as different as night and day.
From the woodlands to the beautiful beaches of Cornwall, The Lake District to The Highlands, every area of the UK has a different landscape that is both scenic and beautiful. So why not take advantage of that and holiday in a completely different area of the country? One fantastic place I suggest you visit is Devon. The infinite countryside rolling into the distance is breathtakingly beautiful, as you will see from some of the photos that I post here.
Devon is a county that has the bonus of not only having beautiful countryside and greenery, but also for having amazing beaches and coastline. In some places the coastline and countryside meet, to make some amazing imagery.
So who says England doesn’t have any sights to see? Not only do you have these great areas to explore, there are lots more things to do! When I last went on holiday in the UK, I actually decided on taking on some adventure activities in Devon, I had a fantastic time coasteering and surfing. One of my favourite activities was actually surf rafting. I took on the waves and the rocks in a dingy full of people!
There’s more to do than just that though, you can explore caves along the Devon coastline, jump off cliffs into the sea (not too high of course, but high enough to be scary!) and have a whole lot of fun. There are also chances to go kayaking, surfing and more, this is just with Active Escapes.
If you fancy going further afield there are other companies that do Jet ski’s, speedboats and even pedalos! There’s nothing like drifting through the baby blue sea.
Aswell as activities there are lots of sights to see in Devon, the Valley Of The Rocks being one of them aswell as many nature reserves and historical areas. There are some old railways such as the South Devon Railway, that still has and operating steam train! Have a look online at the different places and activities you can do in Devon, I think you’ll be surprised.
Just make sure if you’re doing sea activities that you go in the late summer, those Atlantic waters can be very cold and take a long time to warm up through the summertime.