Hi - we're back from the Berkshire Mountains. Glad to be home, but with some lovely memories. I can highly recommend Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. Incredibly good, with music from the various cultures along the way. The Silk Road was, for hundreds of years, the main trade route between China and Russia, Turkey and points west. Huge camel caravans would leave China loaded with tea, silk and other goods and arrive anywhere from a year to 18 months later in eastern Russia. A similar tea came to be known as Russian Caravan, although I am sure what we drink today by that name is much more refined - less camel and not as much smokey campfire.
We also had the opportunity to view an exhibit of Chinese wares and a tomb from the Silk Road era, on exhibit in the Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA. Some of the grave objects were exquisite - a thousand years later. One was a charming bull, complete with long curving horns. It's hard to imagine that much time for such things to survive.
We had lovely food, but not much tea, except for a good cup of what is often called "Chinese Restaurant Tea" in the Spicey Dragon in Pittsfield. It was quite good, and the food was superb. Well, the appetizers, which is all we ate, were wonderful, all 5 of them.
However, I did go to the Tea Trekker's new store in Northampton, MA. It is small but mighty in its tea selection. I bought many teas and had a nice chat with Mary Lou Heiss, who is a lovely warm person, so knowledgeable about tea. She gave me a sample of her favorite tea, a most wonderful smelling Oolong. You will be hearing about these soon.
The cats welcomed us home with the usual pathos and/or disregard. "No one fed me, no one petted me, I was a prisoner for 7 days, how could you do this to me!" Meow, meow, meow! Only my sweet Ernie was glad to see me and followed my every step, waiting for the opportunity to cuddle.