London or Shandong? The Western style architecture is a big feature of Yantai in Shandong province in this picture taken on 9/20/09. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]
On my first morning in Yantai, I was lucky enough to meet several Yantai residents, including the current director of tourism for Yantai. Three months into his new job and he is talking enthusiastically about his department’s plans to make Yantai an international tourist resort. It certainly has all the necessary ingredients.
Wonderful scenery, warm, friendly locals, fantastic cuisine (the signature sea food was a joy at dinner) and a steady local industry. The wine industry of Yantai is globally regarded. The city has been dubbed the “International Grape and Wine City” by the International Grape and Wine Bureau, and the residents are rightly very proud of their delicious local tipple.
In the afternoon it was off to Yantai mountain. A truly idyllic experience in itself, after a scenic drive along the city’s impressive promenade. The mountain is home to the former legation quarters of various embassies who occupied Yantai at one time or another in its past, a fact best forgotten by local residents but one that left intrinsic marks on the culture of the coastal city. The architecture is so reminiscent of 20th century Europe and America you could easily be forgiven for thinking these pictures were taken in London, Madrid or Washington! Regardless of how they got here they are surely as characteristic of Yantai as its wine or seafood.
After a long, but thoroughly enjoyable day, it’s time for some sleep before tomorrow’s trip to the legendary Penglai pavilion.