The train to Dali turned out to be different - it was a double- decker train that was fairly new. We got on it and couldn't find our compartment - the ticket said No 3, but somebody quickly turfed us out of berth 3 and also cabin 3. We then found VIP suite 3 which was ours which had a double bed and a single bed at 90degrees to it. We thought the ticket was expensive! We had a good nights sleep apart from the conductor waking us up an hour early and then waking us again to apologise. We then moved on to our hotel with no dramas. The hotel was new and being run by an Australian with his Chinese partner - definitely a cut above the normal places. Tucked in to a good breakfast whilst we waited for our room to be readied.We had time for a quick look round Dali. It is an old walled town with lots of tourist places and seems to have attracted a lot of westerners as well as the local Chinese market. It sits between some mountains that go up to 4200 m and a very large lake. The town itself is an old walled town, with lots of streams running through it, The local population is Bai - different culturally and facially from the majority of Chinese so it plays on that. In the afternoon, we went to the main cultural attraction of the town - the 3 pagodas temple complex. We walked there in drizzle that turned to steady rain when we arrived - we then found it was £11 each to get in - extortionate for China - so we decided we didn't want to see another temple especially in the pouring rain. We didn't do much else after that - apart from getting depressed at the news that it had rained for the last 10 days. The next day started in bright sunshine so we decided to go up into the mountains. There is a walk along the ridge for 11km. We set off towards the chair lift which was supposed to be about a 30 min walk - it was except it was steeply uphill. The chairlift was a bit rickety but it got to the top. As it went up the mountains, we saw lots of tombs as it seems the local custom to bury people on the mountainside. When we got to the top, we met two girls from the hotel who had decided to walk up - they were exhausted - we were glad we used the chair lift.The walk itself was beautiful - especially with the weather. There were fantastic views over the lake and on the mountain side there were many mountain streams with lots of waterfalls. We stopped for lunch at a little place where the locals were preparing 'grandma;' potatoes'. After this we had the energy to walk up to the large waterfall at this point. The end of the walk was a cable car that went across a valley - quite scary but again with great views. We had met the 2 girls again at this point who had decided they could go no further. The cable car took us halfway down the mountain miles from any transport. After walking another 2 km, we managed to get a cab to take us back for a reasonable price.After seeing the lake from the mountain, the next day we went out on to it. It is known as Erhai Lu (Ear shaped lake) and is about 40km long. We opted for the 'short walk' down there - until we got lost when we accepted a ride from a impromptu taxi. When we got to the jetty area, we found that the level of the lake was well up and the car park was flooded. To get to the jetty it was a walk along planks suspended by bricks over about 18" of water. The boats were real rust buckets powered by what seemed like tractor engines. Still it got us across to an island near the other side. We had time to get off and had the same problem - the jetty area was flooded. There was not lots to see - just a locals market and lots of fish stalls. We then went back to the lake shore to go up the sky mirror pagoda - a temple built by the lake with pleasant views. The sights weren't great but it was a pleasant few hours on the lake. We then had a last look around Dali as Fran wanted to buy some things - fortunately limited by weight this was not too expensive.