We were always on the hunt for new places to travel on the weekends and Jinan came highly recommended by many of our students. It's the capital of our province and many of our students were from there, so they gave us the inside scoop on where to go. We knew we wanted to go to The Thousand Buddha Mountain the first day, and figured we would spend one day exploring the city and take a day to relax at the hotel (may sound like a waste of time...but laying on a mattress and soaking in a tub were luxuries we didn't get at home).
We headed to the mountain our first morning and were so excited by what we saw. A beautiful park with vendors selling all types of foods and trinkets. We walked through winding paths that led us through forests sprinkled with old statues. The kids loved running through the trees and hunting for hidden statues.
We explored the park and then made our way to the main event, the mountain. We road up a cable car to get us to the mountain trail and then began to climb. You could see all types of buildings, stores, temples and shrines at the base of the mountain and long stone stairs that led to the top of the mountain. We walked around the base of the mountain for awhile and bought some juice before we headed up. It was hot outside and we knew the trek up would be long.
Cable car and Mountain Slideshow-
As we walked to the top some areas were harder than others to climb. I struggled to keep my balance and couldn't help but laugh as I noticed Chinese women climbing the mountain in their high heels. It's the most amazing thing, you will see women walking the streets, climbing mountains or trekking the Great Wall of China in heels, i don't know how they do it?!
We finally made it to the top and found a beautiful view. The top of the mountain was covered in red ribbons and locks tied and clipped on to trees, columns and railings. I can't be totally sure what it means, because I couldn't read any of the signs, but red ribbons often refer to longevity and good luck, and locks symbolize eternal promise. So my best guess would be people leave locks representing a promise they make to Buddha in hopes for good luck, but don't quote me on that!
Mountain top Slideshow-
Climbing the mountain took all day and there were so many other parts of the park we didn't get to see, so we decided to go back the next day and explore what we missed.