Our Intro to Chengdu

2020 has been a year for the books. Any other year at this time, we are home, in Canada, catching up with friends and family. This year, a trip home is impossible. With China’s boarders closed to foreigners, if we leave, we can’t get back in. We have 3 cats here and our lives are still very much in Suzhou, so sadly, we couldn’t make our yearly trip to Manitoba happen this summer.

This sweet boy and 2 others rely on us. They’re family and I wouldn’t dream of leaving them behind. For now… We’re staying in China where luckily, it’s pretty safe.

As always, we’ve tried to make the best of things. International travel isn’t in the cards this summer, but we could still travel within the country. That’s how we’ve found ourselves in a part of China that I have always wanted to see but until now, hadn’t: Sichuan province.

Sichuan is in red.  I’ve also labeled the cities where I’ve lived for reference. 

Sichuan has always appealed to both Dave and I.  The food.  The scenery.  The pandas.  There’s so much to see and do here!  6 days won’t come close to being enough, but it’s a start!

Pandas are the city mascot. You see them everywhere!

We arrived in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital city, in early afternoon.  We didn’t have a full day but we had some time and wanted to make the most of it.  First stop, of course, was food!

Twice cooked pork: one of my favourite Chinese dishes!!!

After a delicious (and cheap) lunch, we hit up one of the most commonly visited tourist attractions in Chengdu: Kuanzhai Alley.

This little area is full of shops, Cafe’s, entertainment and, of course, every kitsch thing a tourist could want to do.

They even have Starbucks

There was plenty to see down in Kuanzhai Alley. Food, of course, was the main attraction, with plenty of smoked meats and spicy treats to go around!

This made me feel like I was back in Guiyang!
Street food in Chengdu is significantly better than in Suzhou!
Chinese pancakes are delish!
A giant pot of chili soup! Hot pot is a ‘must try” for Chinese cuisine, and Sichuan hot pot is among the most famous. It’ll set your mouth on fire, and cure you of any illness you might be fighting!

Of course, there were some weird things to see as well (I mean… We are still in China!!).

Pig face
Pig snout
Rabbit head…. These were everywhere. In China, pretty much every part of the animal is eaten. It makes for some interesting displays!

In addition to food offerings, we saw some beautiful architecture as well. Between the streets themselves and the shops along them… There is plenty to appreciate!

And of course, China never fails to impress me with its beautiful carvings!!

This was the entrance to a restaurant

We did a bit of exploring around our hotel as well. As you walk down any given street in Chengdu, you’ll get whiffs of Sichuan pepper corn and you’ll see locals cleaning and stemming the chilis they’ll be using for that night’s dinner. I love that there are benches every where you can stop and rest. Chengdu is quite old, and you can see a lot of tradition here. It feels “warmer” than Suzhou in a lot of ways.

One set of benches near our hotel

So far, our stay in Chengdu has been great! Can’t wait to see what else we find in this gorgeous part of China! Check back soon!!

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