Gaiety. Harmony. Serenity.
These are three words that come to mind when I reflect on the Echo-sponsored trip to Fuyang last Saturday. It was a day full of mirth and laughter - from sharing stories and talent on the bus in the morning, to carefree dancing after dinner in the evening.
We first stopped to explore Longmen Ancient Town, quiet and tranquil in the misty morning. I could not help but feel that I had been transported to another era, allowing myself to be caught in the history and the atmosphere of the village. There was an intrinsic charm to the way the people warmly interacted with one another and the way their meticulous self-expression came to life in their craft. I was particularly enchanted by an intricately designed wooden musical carousel, its melody tinkling through the air as we made our way down the street.
We arrived at Guotai Restaurant for lunch just as the crisp Autumn morning was giving way to a mild, sunny afternoon. It was a time of delicious food, lively socializing, and general enjoyment. Spirits were high as we walked down to the Fuchun River afterward and took several group photos, some of us even making crowns of leaves to pose in.
The personal highlight for me was at Wang Zhou Ting Yuan, where we took part in afternoon tea and other activities. The balcony of the house offered a most picturesque view of the countryside and several of us lingered there, watching in amusement as some of our colleagues ran around the yard below, merrily chasing chickens. Soon, we all gathered upstairs as one of our hosts treated us to customized calligraphy samples – each of us taking turns to describe the words and phrases we wanted written on our sample.
The atmosphere of the entire afternoon was very relaxed, concluding with a stroll around Dong Zi Guan, another ancient village with its own ethereal quality about it. The entire day, in fact, was like being in a snapshot of time where hardly anything else existed outside of those moments, and those hours. It was wonderful.
We departed for Hangzhou later that evening, happily stuffed with chow mein and good memories, satisfied with the beauty of Fuyang, the lively company, and the incredible experiences of the day. From start to finish, we were well taken care of by Echo staff. I can certainly say I look forward to more trips like this in the future.