INTO THE MOUNTAINS OF CHINA

21 07 2010

Well here is another quick update. The 18 hour train ride from Guilin to Kunming was pleasant, we both got a lot of reading done and it was nice to relax and just watch the country side go by. We where not sure were we where going when we got there but after we got off the train someone was pointing us to a bus to Dali so we said sure let’s go there. The bus turned out to be a shuttle bus which brought us to the bus station where we got on another bus to Dali. All in all we spent 28 hours travelling and it was nice to finally find a hotel and settle in. We met a couple of Americans along the way who speak some Chinese and who have been very helpful. They are just finishing up a year stay here teaching english and are travelling around a bit before they return home. Our first day in Dali wound up being a rain out, but there was something really nice about just wandering the streets and hanging out in a couple of cafes that made it special. We really took the day to just relax, recharge and try to figure out where we are going to go for the next week or so. Yesterday we made up for our lazy day in the rain by visiting a couple of the major sites in the area. We first visited the Three Pagodas Park which is a huge complex of temples, gardens and if you haven’t already guessed “three pagodas”. Everything was built in the past 10 years with the exception of the pagodas which where quite a bit older. It took us over four hours to explore the complex. Overall it was a bit lacking in the spiritual department but there where many nice examples of Chinese architecture and the grounds were very beautiful. Although it was quite crowded in places the old 80/20 rule seemed to apply here as well in that about 20% of the temples where crowded with 80% of the tourists. From the Three Pagodas we headed south of town to a cable car that climbed up into the mountains. We would have much prefered to have hiked but because it already 3PM we decided to take the lift instead. Once on top we discovered a trail that wound its way along the face of the mountains for 11km back to another cable car that would return us back to town. We took the path past some beautiful waterfalls and wonderful vistas overlooking Dali and the lake below. We wound up near the other chairlift around 6PM and decided instead of paying the $5 for the return trip we would walk back down. We finally made it back around 7:30PM after walking for more than 20kms. We grabbed a delicious dinner of Tibetan yak goulash at our guest house and headed to bed. Today we are off to Lijiang and we hope to go trekking in the Tiger Leaping Gorge for the next couple of days depending on the weather. From there we will likely head to Shangri La which may be the next time we have internet access so I hope to write another post then.

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