Hohhot, Inner Mongolia’s 'blue Sky City'
While the Dazhao Temple was a fascinating place to visit, I was intrigued by its surrounding area. There appeared a similarity to Beijing’s historic hutong alleys that dated from the founding of 13th century Yuan Dadu, the "Great Capital" of Kubla Khan. There in older Hohhot I walked through areas of one-story buildings with gray tiled roofs and decorative square window frames. The lanes were vibrant with everyday life - noodle and meat stalls, spice sellers, clouds of steam rising from cooking pots heated over open stoves. Chatting locals sat at outdoor restaurant tables alongside piles of red and green peppers while children emerged from a local elementary school. Bicycles constantly streamed past.