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Written & Photos by (作者, 图片来源): Summer Xia 夏益

 

Sitting in the Chongqing Monorail, gliding through the mountains high above the streets below, I looked out over this expansive city: mountains encircled a bustling metropolis with high-rises dotting the landscape. Another train passed by us. We shuttled from one station to the next, the city pulsing below our feet. I felt the people of Chongqing must be very brave to take this roller coaster ride to and from work each day! We alighted and found ourselves in an urban area, surrounded by sights, sounds, and smells. The scent of Chongqing hotpot, arguably the spiciest hotpot in China, filled the air with its delicious aroma. We had arrived in an amazing place.

Our first stop was the People’s Liberation Monument, the modern symbol of Chongqing. Built during the height of WWII and on the anniversary of Sun Yat-sen’s death in 1940, the monument is a towering octagon with a smooth white surface. Even if it is dwarfed by the Jiefangbei CBD which has gradually surrounded the monument, it is still a testament to the strength of the city. Near the monument is the entrance to Xinhua Road and the Yangtze River Cableway, spanning the river and connecting Yuzhong and Nan’an District. We recommend going to Nan’an District by bus and then taking the cable car back to Xinhua Road. It is not only fast, but it’s a great way to see the city and Yangtze River from above. Looking at the lights across the river through the misty evening, we were enchanted by the scene. Chongqing is definitely worthy of the nickname “Mini Hong Kong.”

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Ten minutes or so from Jiefangbei CBD is the wonderland of Hongyadong. Approaching the place, I saw skyscrapers in the distance. We walked and walked and suddenly it was upon us: a towering amalgamation of traditional Chinese architecture 11 stories high, its eclectic nature like something out of one of Miyazaki’s classic animations. Each floor has distinctive shops, performance areas, food stalls, cafés, viewing decks and more. Hongyadong lights up in the evening, enhancing its fairytale status, as mysterious as the bath house in Spirited Away.

Another stop on our list was Ciqikou, Chongqing’s famous old street. Like Beijing’s Wangfujing, Nanjing’s Confucius Temple Area, Xi’an’s Muslim Street, and Ningbo’s Nantang Old Street, Ciqikou is the place to go for a taste of “old” Chongqing. Once an important ferry terminal for the Jialing River, today it is serves tourists and travelers from all across China. The narrow stone streets are lined with tiny shops and food stalls and great views of the river. There are many tea houses as well, from which you can sit and enjoy the scenes taking place upon the flowing water. Unfortunately, the street was packed for the holidays, and we had to hurry along to other places close by: Zhongshan 4th Road, the Residence of Zhou, Democratic Parties History Museum, Sweetscented Osmanthus Garden, Bayu Cultural Hall, and the Kuomintang Government Site. All of these sites, though heavy in history, gave us a different perspective of Chongqing, which, mixed with the fresh air, helped us enjoy our stay more.

Since our time was limited, we never got the chance to see the Three Natural Bridges of Wulong County and the Dazu Rock Carvings, two highly recommended sites outside the city center. All the more reason to return for more stories and adventures in this beautiful central city. Chongqing is a magnificent city, and we hope to return soon to this amazing metropolis.

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“空降”山城,在沿着陡峭岩壁间飞快行驶的轻轨车厢里,我默默打量着这个奇特的城市:山中有城,城中有山,高楼拔山地而起,楼外轻轨飞驰。我们穿梭在楼与楼之间,脚下是孤零零的单轨,全然不见任何防护措施。我想,重庆人民一定有很强大的心脏,才能每日都似坐着云霄飞车往来上下班的路。下了轻轨,走进城区,视觉嗅觉都是不一样的感官刺激。道路高低起伏,上坡下坎,在这里脚踩高跟鞋绝对算是种技能。空气中弥漫着浓郁的火锅底料味,重庆火锅闻名天下,麻辣鲜香,还没吃已能想象舌尖上炸裂的模样。

解放碑是重庆的地标,是这个城市历史的浓缩与见证,它是全中国仅有的一座纪念抗战胜利的国家纪念碑,当然是游重庆的首站之选。解放碑修建于孙中山先生逝世纪念日,久经岁月,碑塔呈八角形,碑体通白,纵然周围的高楼大厦早已将他湮没,但他是这个陪都永恒的“精神堡垒”。解放碑附近有长江索道的新华路入口,连通重庆的渝中区和南岸区,建议在节假日先坐公交到南岸区入口再乘坐索道回新华路,可以节省一半的等候时间。老式的索道,像极了一节旧时公交车厢。发黄的车厢门,斑驳的油漆,在滚滚长江边诉说着无尽的情怀。《周渔的火车》、《疯狂的石头》都曾在这里取景,这些带有浓郁独特风格的电影确实和这里很搭,穿过重重迷雾,遥望对岸灯火阑珊。重庆不愧小香港的美称,夜景让人沉醉。

从解放碑步行十来分钟即可到洪崖洞,又是一处神奇之地。一路找寻,当路标指示洪崖洞近在前方,而我视野所及之处并无高楼,正百思不解时,猛然醒悟原来不经意间我已身处洪崖洞的顶层。洪崖洞从最底的沿江路到顶端的沧白路足有11 层,上下临街,依山沿江而建,层层叠叠,是巴渝传统式的木质吊脚楼。咖啡馆、live表演、异国美食风情街、特色小店、观景平台……每一层都别有洞天。当你在沿江路欣赏两江汇流,蓦然回首仰望夜色中的洪崖洞时,一定会感慨千与千寻中的“不可思议之街”仿若矗立眼前,同样的繁华,同样的斑斓,同样的神秘。所以,夜游洪崖洞,方能领略它别样的美丽。

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去磁器口之前,我对它有很深的期盼,“北京的王府井,南京的夫子庙,西安的回民街,每个城市总有一条古街让人神往”,之于重庆就是磁器口。作为古时嘉陵江边重要的水陆码头,当初繁盛的运货场景已经变成了此刻的商旅川流不息。古街的石板路有些窄,沿街店铺林立,顺着古街走到嘉陵江边,江畔有许多茶庄,坐下品一壶茶,好不惬意。遗憾的是,节假日总是游人如织,深有打扰这片宁静之感,于是半途匆匆逃离。还是喜欢中山四路,周公馆、民主党派博物馆、桂园、戴公馆、国民政府总统府旧址,短短的800 米饱经风霜。抛开历史的沉重,在这个号称重庆最美的街区,看着古朴的建筑和街道两边枝叶繁茂的黄葛树,连呼吸都是清新翠绿的。

时间关系,武隆天生三桥和大足石刻最终没有成行,尤其后者让我心心念念。“北敦煌南大足”,是重庆唯一一处世界文化遗产,那里应该有更多的故事和惊喜等着我们驻足发现。带着遗憾离开重庆,我想,我是喜欢这座大气的城市,后会有期。

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