After the opening there was time to do some sight seeing, together with guest Ton Kraayeveld. We started with a day trip to Gulangyu, the small island next to Xiamen you can see clearly from its coast. I had already visited it shortly in April, when CEAC took us to a party but then it had been dark and without time to look around. Now we left early in the morning to go to the ferry.

Some info: Gulangyu is a mix of late 19th/beginning 20th century colonial architecture, set in a sub-tropical landscape. Most of the buildings are former consulates, offices and housing of Europeans, who in that period were not allowed to live on the main land. Now it’s a mayor tourist attraction, even more so since last year it was declared World-Heritage by the United Nations.

It starts with the boats that bring you there. They’re a funny mix of contemporary technique and materials with neo classical adornments.

ferry to Gulangyu



Fisher’s boats in front of Xiamen’s skyline



Gulangyu, where we were heading, has no high rise at all.


After arrival it was a bit of a shock to meet with the enormous amount of tourists, almost all Chinese, that had decided to visit Gulangyu also on this regular Monday. A second observation made me happier: banyans, my favourite trees. The first ones – near the ferry – function as shade providers for the people, of whom some also observed the trees with admiration. Chinese in general admire trees more than Europeans, I think.

Róng shù tree near the ferry


Sometimes they even worship them. During the whole day I made photos of the sexy bearded trees for my banyan project.

Some photo’s of the banyan project


There was at least one habitant of Gulangyu who liked the trees a lot too 😉

Fellow tree lover


Every summer typhoons first pass through Gulangyu before they reach Xiamen and the main land; most of them light, but once every while heavy ones, and the typhoon from 1999 hurt and even destroyed many buildings here. Most of the villas are restored, others are still in decay.



And as in Xiamen, rocks are abundant.



In the time the villas were built, natural patterns and shapes were popular and some rocks seem to have been shaped by people.

Sculpted rocks


And since all is highly romantic – as if I hadn’t seen enough of them at Xiamen’s beaches – there were bridal couples and their photographers and stylists all over the place.

Photo shoots of bridal couples


Some tourists also seemed to have dressed specially for theme park Gunlangyu. The obvious theme here: nostalgia.



The only counterweight was offered by some curious shellfish. Like in Xiamen, there were many small plastic tubs and buckets with all kinds of interesting sea animals, living there until they are chosen to be eaten. I noticed some species I hadn’t seen before.

Sea creatures living in plastic tubs


Sword crabs


There were also a few large ponds where fish swum about freely, obviously there to admire and not to eat. One was next to the piano museum.

Fish pond next to piano museum


Lots of pianos. And some other interesting and curious items.

piano museum


But what I liked best was a little plate on the stairs that perfectly represented my feeling at the end of the day: