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A spontaneous trip to Fragrant Hills – Xiangshan Park

In Beijing I tended to let fate decide my adventures, leading to a stance with minimal planning while looking forward to the unexpected. And one day I got an invite from my roommate Jens to join his Honours team on a trip to the Fragrant Hills of Beijing — I didn’t know the team nor the destination but I thought: “why not, and why not say more yes in life than no?”

“why not, and why not say more yes in life than no?”

In contrast to my roommate who was ready to rumble, I had 10 minutes to brush my teeth, wash my face, and put some decent clothes to embark on this adventure. After rushing everything and meeting the team, it became clear that one of their teammates forgot to set the alarm, and there I was all ready to wait “haha”!

We departed one hour later than expected, but the moment I saw the gate and the initial gems of the park, I simply thought; this will be worth the wait! 

(initial gems)

Unlike the majority of attractions in China and especially those in Beijing, Fragrant Hills was far from being crowded. And to many people, China may be huge, dirty, and restless, but ancient destinations like the one of Fragrant Hills demonstrate China’s traditional simplicity, as well as its coexistence with nature, and perhaps in the future as a foundation for sustainable growth.

 

05 Fragrant Hills

 

Before the hike to the top, we thought it would be a nice idea to have “lunch” for some additional energy. But somehow it turned into a meal that was even larger than most of our dinners in Beijing, and although the food was delicious, we were shocked when the last two dishes arrived and thought: “did we really order all of this?”

"did we really order all of this?"

After filling our bellies with as much food as possible, it was time to aim for the top. I was like: the Hills are only 557 meters at its peak, so climbing it should be easy right? Unfortunately I was so wrong, the heat drained my energy as if it was oil, and as a person who cannot sweat I started to overheat - “o boy”. Luckily, Gilian a member of the other Honours team was kind enough to match his pace to my turtle pace, as well as giving me the much needed water to cool off my body. I poured roughly two to three bottles over my body to reach the top, but the view and especially the people justified the effort it took to reach it.

(view during the hike | view at the top)

 

09 Fragrant Hills

 

This panorama simply showed how beautiful the view was, as well as how massive the city truly is.  Interestingly enough is how friends have continuously mentioned that Beijing is a relative boring city compared to Shanghai, but if you like nature, culture, and history then this is the city you have to explore.

 

10 Fragrant Hills

 

As with every beginning there is an ending, and the moment we entered the cable car, it marked the end of our adventure to the Fragrant Hills. This was the moment I was reminiscing the experiences of the day along the single word “yes” that changed my day, as well as the future by meeting a bunch of funny people.

Today was only possible because of my roommate, and therefore I would like to express my gratitude to Jens for making the spontaneous trip to Fragrant Hills a reality.

(additional sceneries at the Fragrant Hills)

JDS

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