Man made mountain
There is a mountain behind our apartment. It is not very big as far as mountains go, but it is tall enough to be a descent climb and offer a gorgeous view of the city. We've climbed it three times now, the first time we climbed it was shortly after we arrived in Jinan. Nate and I set out on an exploration of town, with our main goal to scale the two closest mountains. As we climbed the first one we discussed what it must have been like a thousand, two thousand, three thousand years ago: what the city that is now Jinan would have looked like back then. We had examined the rock formation, and though it looked odd, but hadn't thought much more of it.
The second time we climbed it was with our friend Amy, her boyfriend Paul, and his brother. According to the boys the mountain is actually a man made tomb! Buried under it are the bodies of those who died in the second world war when Japan attacked China. I am trying to do some more research to find out the true story, but have found it difficult to find information on. Will keep searching!
Fresh water Jelly Fish
We visited a second mountain during our hike when we first arrived in Jinan. According to one of the Chinese teachers at my school this mountain roughly translates into "Swallow's Wing Mountain" as it is supposed to be shaped like a swallows wing. We didn't know where we were going so we just weaved our way through the streets. Luckily the mountain was easy to see wherever we were. We came to a back ally market, mostly filled with food. There was construction going on down the road towards the mountain. A crane was being used to lift chunks of pavement. None of the workers were wearing helmets and the area was not sectioned off at all. The road was smelly and dirty, but we continued to follow it, knowing the mountain wouldn't be far.
We began to follow a narrow path up the mountain, but down below we could see a large spring! There were two dozen or so people swimming in it, and we were dying of heat, so we climbed down the steep incline to join them. To our surprise we saw something that looked like small jelly fish swimming in the water! Fresh water jelly fish are not something one expects to stumble on after wandering through dirty back allies! They are extremely rare, and can only survive in the most ideal conditions, and yet here they were, unprotected and largely unnoticed (almost every local we've talked to has seemed surprised to find out there are jelly fish in Jinan). The coolest thing is they don't sting, so you can swim with them no problem!
Most don't know about the jelly fish, but for some they are a every day occurrence. We met a man one day by the spring who says he swims there every day, even during the winter. There are caves carved into the rocks that look as if they may be turned into saunas, and we plan to return and check them out!
We also had an old man tell us once that there used to be a dragon that lived where the lake is now. When it left it left behind the lake and the mountains! Now there's science for you :)
Thousand Buddha Mountain
A mountain just outside of Jinan containing well over one thousand Buddhas. The photo connected to this post is of the largest Buddha statue that resides there. The statues were works of art, each buddha had it's own face and expression. The most epic part about the mountain was the slide back down! That's right a slide that takes you down the mountain.
The barbecue is cooked on the streets in a long charcoal trough, and you eat perched on tiny little stools in front of tables set up on the sidewalk. I've loved everything I've tried so far there, including crayfish, clams, peanuts, and lamb, pork, chicken, and beaf skewers. Apparently Jinan has one of the best BBQs and people travel to the city solely to indulge in charcoal cooked meat! The best thing is there's one just around the corner from out apartment!