After a sumptuous banquet lunch, while Her Mother and Aunts socialized and rested, one of Her Jinan Uncles took us on what could only be termed as a whirlwind tour of Jinan. We made several stops, including Spring City Square.
Our favorite stop by far was Daming Lake Park (大明湖公园).
At the center of the huge park is Daming Lake, a natural lake formed by several springs. Jinan is often called the "City of Springs" due to the number of artesian springs in the city. The park has been expanded and renovated recently, and admission to the park is free.
There are numerous islands, pavilions, and temples, including the largest Taoist temple in Jinan.
There are also a number of gardens, which made one of the Missus's uncles exclaim, "you don't need to go to Suzhou, our gardens here are beautiful enough!"
Considering Jinan's size and population (over 6 million), I was fascinated when the Missus's Uncle pointed out the old city wall. Daming Lake is pretty much in the center of Jinan.... to think that Jinan was once this small....
Jinan has its own local beer, Baotuquan, which the locals claim is much richer and better tasting than Tsingtao (of course again). Since the temperatures were hitting the mid-nineties, this made for a perfect stop.
When we asked if we could take photos, the woman running the stand gave us an approving nod, telling the Missus, "oh yes, it's free advertising!" The second time we heard this on our trip. I really enjoyed the straightforward wholesomeness of the folks in Shandong. They always seemed to have time for a good laugh.
After a nice mug of beer, we got some beer in a bag to go, and headed off to the Missus's Grandmother's Sister's place. We drove along, holding a bag of beer aloft in the car.......
If you've ever wondered what those nails pounded into the side of tables are for....... well, it's there to hang your bag of beer of course! And the Missus's Uncles are pros at pouring beer from a bag into a glass.
We noticed that everyone in the family drank their beer from unrefrigerated bottles. When the Missus asked why, we were told that drinking beer cold was not healthy, it made one cough.... room temperature beer was more healthy!
While having our beer we could smell wonderful fragrances coming from the kitchen, the two "cooks" in the family were hard at work, and we were about to have a fantastic meal! Stay tuned for that post.