|22 hour train journey this time but we were living in the land of luzury in 'soft sleeper' as apposed to the previous 'hard sleeper' - this doesn't mean the beds are any softer but you do get a door!
Arrived in Guilin late Friday 25th for an overnight stop before getting on a bus and heading out to the rice terraces at Longhi. Si made lots of firends on the bus as the bus as his broad shoulders provided a comfortable head rest for the locals (see piccies). After a four hour journey we arrived at Longhi village and trekked up the hill to our guesthouse. It was in the most buetiful position with all rooms (except ours) having a panoramic view over the rice terraces - our room looked out onto the pig pen and chicken run! We think our room was built as an after thought - it felt remarkably like a tree house and was in danger of collapsing whenever Simon moved around! When we went to checkin they didn't have enough rooms - maybe they quickly built it whilst we waited. That evening we went for a walk in the terraces to watch the sun go down and next day we had a 5 hour trek to another village. We both agree that we could happily have stayed there for longer as it was so lovley and tranquil.
After two nights in our 'shed' we caught another bus to Choolum which is a gorgous part of the countryside surrounded by very dramatic limestone karst scenery. There we stayed in a little guesthouse which was home to the biggest spiders in the world and very friendly frogs - one jumped on Sis knee whilst he was eating. It was baking hot in Choolum so we went down to the river for a swim which was heavenly and we felt even better when we realised that as it was 4pm that meant it was 9am MOnday morning at home!! Sorry - had to rub it in!
That evening we went to a Chinese cookery school and astounded ourse;ves with our new found skills didn't know we could make carp taste so good.
Next day (Tuesday) caught bus to Yangshou where we checked into the Fawlty towers hotel!!
We then headed out to the Li River for a boat ride - the bus trip was hilarious. It was the start of the national moon festival holiday so everybody was trying to get home to their families and bus travel was carnage.
Yesterday (Wednesday) we hired some bikes and went on a 6 hour ride round the countryside. Felt dead achy when we got back so went for a massage - it was without a doubt the most painful experience ever (the massage not the bike ride) and we can hardly walk today!
This evening we get a sleeper bus to Hong KOng which is the last stop on this tour. We'll be there for a couple of days and on Monday we fly to Bangkok to head off on our own round Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. We've both absol;utly loved China (especially the countryside) and can hardle take in all the great things we've seen.