Saturday, April 09, 2011

Our Itinerary at The Linden Center , Dali China

The Hoehn Party at
The Linden Centre
April, 2011

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”–St. Augustine -

The Linden Centre is happy to welcome the Hoehn party of Bill, Carol, Patricia, Marty, Gary, Jaami, Kendra, Ken, and Deb. Your travels have brought you to an area renowned for its beauty and ethnic diversity. Our footsteps will follow the paths taken by Arab and Tibetan traders as they carried tea, silks and religious beliefs through the verdant mountain valleys. We will explore villages little-changed since the local sojourns of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, and will hear the echoes of Flying Tigers that helped the Dali region survive WWII unscathed.

The Linden Centre, started by Jeanee (Quan) and Brian Linden in 2008, is nestled in the southeast Himalayan foothills of Yunnan-'South of the Clouds'. The Centre offers guests an unprecedented immersion in a timeless China while basking in the comforts of a carefully restored national heritage estate (protected at the same level as the Great Wall).

A leading merchant family in the old Southwest Silk Road town of Xizhou built this famous complex that houses the Centre. It is one of the largest complexes of its kind and, because of its use as a military installation after 1949, has remained in pristine condition, unaffected by the ravages of the Cultural Revolution (the Red Guards were unable to enter due to the military presence).

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of the living." - Miriam Beard

Tour Description and Itinerary:
DAY 1: Today marks your first evening at the Linden Centre. After check-in and coffee, Brian and Jeanee will personally guide you through the Centre complex. The restoration of the Centre has garnered numerous international and national accolades for its attention to detail and sustainability. We will share many of the challenges facing a foreign couple in taking over a national relic. (The Lindens are among the first foreigners to take over a national relic in China).
After dinner, retire to the Linden Centre coffee and wine bar to relax, and to try the local spirits of plum and orchid wine.
Day 2: Every morning at the Linden Centre starts with a fresh Western and Chinese style breakfast. Enjoy a plate of toast made of our home baked bread, or bite into a delicious omelet prepared in front of you.

This morning we will take you on a guided tour of Xizhou, including the Village Square, and the morning market where the famous Xizhou pizza is baked outside on a daily basis. We will then take a short stroll to the village elder’s home as he recalls a lifetime of memories, and reveals his passion for painting and cultural preservation. Some of the old homes still contain Song and Ming Dynasty antiques which often can be purchased directly from the home’s owner.

After lunch at the Centre we will take horse carts to the Tongue of the Lake and surrounding villages to enjoy the scenery and people.
Tonight, a delicious dinner prepared by the Centre’s renowned chefs. To help us digest, we will share tea in the first courtyard while being entertained by Xizhou’s Dongjing music group. This music is considered to be a “Living Fossil” and dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The term Dongjing is an abbreviation of the title of the Taoist scripture Dadong Xianjing- a text that has been the basis of exclusive religious societies oriented around the worship of the Taoist deity Wenchang.

DAY 3: This morning , we will take a short car ride to peak into in a small village kindergarten to observe and interact with the young students. Don't be surprised if you are dragged into a impromptu basketball game or local dance!
For lunch we travel up the foot of the mountain for a selection of local foods in a courtyard setting.

After lunch, we will visit an ancient courtyard in the village of Zhoucheng to trace their renowned tie-dye process. Family guilds have been creating these woven treasures for centuries, and we observe all aspects of this creative tradition. The craftsmen believe that the indigo leaf, which produces the deep blues used in their textiles, is therapeutic, and we will be able to taste some of these teas while trying our hand at the tying process. We will also meander the old stone lanes and visit their famous Dragon Spring Temple and afternoon market (which is nestled beneath two massive, centuries-old Banyan trees). Dinner is back at the Centre and can be followed by a movie in a screening room or board games with the rest of the Linden team in the cafe.

Day 4: After a filling breakfast, we will travel north to the Peach Ferry Port and board a 100 ft boat for a journey across Lake Er to the sleepy fishing village of Shuanglang. This village clings to the rocky shores and has become the second home for many famous Chinese entertainers and artists.

A local lunch will be served along the shores and overlooking Nan Chao Island, with its gleaming white cultural palace and Guan Yin statue.

After returning to the Centre, we will have a Yong Chuan master come and give a talk and demonstration and have tea together to talk about his philosophy and life.

Dinner at the Centre

Day 5: Travel to Dali Old town after breakfast to see this ancient walled city. Dali has wonderful boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and traditional craftsmen. You will have free time to wander the streets to look in the shops, look in on a local craftsmen making fresh tofu. Peruse the English language bookstore, rest in a café or walk on the old wall. Visit the old Catholic Church, in the shape of a tradition temple, that has been serving parishioners for over 170 years.

After lunch at the German Bakery, we will ride the chairlift up the Cangshan Mountain for breathtaking views of the Dali valley. We will take a short walk along the Path of the Clouds, situated at 8500 feet in altitude.

Dinner will be held inside a newly built courtyard that exclusively serves vegetarian dishes.

Day 6: After breakfast we will assist you with check out and also travel arrangements to the Dali airport for your 12:00 o’clock departure to Kunming.