Monday 12th August 2013
Yesterday we had been given the schedule for today so I already knew what I wanted to do: visit Fairy Mountain and the Three Natural Bridges at Wu Long. They had a Tai Chi class at 6 am which I had wanted to attend but try as I might I am just not a morning person and I have accepted this. I did however make it for breakfast which was a buffet so I managed to avoid items I had been eating for the last week and had a plate of fresh fruit followed by a fry up!
At 7:30 am I collected my boarding pass and boarded the coach. It would take about 2.5 hours to get to Fairy Mountain. We were told the story of the mountain but it was a little confusing … something about a man killing a boy who loved a girl (who happened to be a fairy) – sounds like a typical romance story to me! Then the girl/fairy killed the man and turned into a mountain (as you do!?) Yes, it makes no sense at all but I guess it is only a story. The best thing about going to Fairy Mountain is that it is supposed to give you good luck – who wouldn’t want that?
When we arrived there we had to get a little train which took you through a pasture full of cattle. It was basically a National Forest Park. Now although it was nice scenery it wasn’t all that spectacular at this point. Living in England means I have seen plenty of pastures and cattle. However, what was interesting was seeing how the Chinese reacted to it. They were amazed by it and were taking pictures posing on the grass. Some had picnics and one family had even brought a tent. I guess it is a type of landscape they didn’t have especially if they live in a big city like nearby Chongqing. It also reminded me to be grateful for what I do have back in England – sometimes I am so desperate to travel away from England and see the world, that I forget to travel in England and recognise the beauty of my own country.
As we got back off the train and then walked around the corner we were faced by smoked dog! It was just lying out in the Sun having been gutted then smoked but still very much intact and looking like dog. It wasn’t what I had expected to see, especially being in a beautiful green pasture. At the same time I wasn’t surprised as it was something I had heard was eaten by some people. It’s not the case in the UK but part of travel is accepting the differences in the cultures you visit. There was an American woman (the first we had seen all holiday) who informed anyone who would listen that her daughter was now traumatised and shouldn’t have to see this. On the one hand I appreciate her daughter’s distress but at the same time if you are going to visit a culture so different from your own then you may come across things that you are not entirely used to or happy about.
Back in the coach and we were off again to the Three Natural Bridges. These are natural karst bridges and include: Tianlong, Qinglong and Heilong Bridge which constitutes the largest natural bridge cluster in Asia. On arrival we had to get a lift down the first 80 m. That’s right, they had built an elevator shaft on to the side of the cliff. You then walked down steps for the rest of the way until you reached the floor of the 12 mile gorge. The walk was absolutely amazing – exactly the kind of thing I enjoy doing. The scenery was superb, with towering cliffs and the natural bridges above streams and waterfalls. Kathy was ‘hunting’ for elves or so we joked. At the end of the walk an electric golf buggy drove us back up to the car park so we could get our coach back to the boat.
As we got closer to the place where the boat had docked the rain got faster and faster – like a monsoon. At one point we saw it running down a set of stairs like something out of a disaster movie. Understatement of the trip from John our guide: “It’s raining quite heavily.” When we got to the boat we were told to remain on the coach and it turned out it was because the staff were bringing us ponchos to wear. They even stood out in the rain to help us down what was now a very muddy bank – they had put towels out for us to step on so we wouldn’t slip.
After a much needed shower and a buffet tea we headed up to the bar on deck 5 to the Captain’s Welcome Party. We played cards but the captain did come and make a speech followed by a random mix of dancing and music including: a waltz, the birdy song, the macarena and “I’ve gotta feeling” by the Black-eyed peas.
Photos from Yangtze River: Wu Long – Day 10
This tour is a 20 day tour provided by Exodus and you can click on the China link in the menu to read more about my adventure. If you are interested in or already booked on this trip and would like to know more than please feel free to contact me directly.