Continue Friday 30th October - ARRIVED IN LIJIANG
Took about 3 hours to get to Lijiang and although it was dark when we arrived, I instantly knew we was going to enjoy our stay here, it had so much charm, with cute little pebbled streets, surrounded by neat rows of little Chinese buildings, all lit up with little lanterns, such a cute place. They knew of a really good guesthouse called Mama's, it took them about 20mins to find it, but on arrival Mama was so pleased to see them and even more pleased that they brought people with them. We were given a nice double room at a good price and joined the others for a delicious dinner - chicken fried rice and a cuppa to chill for five minutes. Chatted into the night then finally went to bed - A long but brilliant day.
Saturday 31st October - HOME COOKED FOOD, ONE OF THE BEST
Went for the muesli and yoghurt for brekky, it was a good price and such a massive portion we could happily share one bowl mmmmmm, nice healthy start to the day. Thought we'd quickly do some washing by hand before going out for the day. QUICKLY being the operative word, didn't happen, we had about a week's worth to do and it took ages.
Finally got out and went for a wander around the little cobbled streets, it was so pleasant, but getting busier and busier by the minute. Lots of Chinese tourists everywhere, it's a bit like a holiday destination for them here. Much prefer the people to traffic though, more fresh air. Took a stroll up what they call Lions Hill, it's full of little shops, cafes, etc, really nice area to get lost in. The view below is gorgeous, you find yourself looking out over the rooftops of the tiny Chinese buildings below and the maze of streets below look like a jigsaw puzzle, so sweet.
Considered going into the park at the top of the hill, but they were charging a fairly hefty fee to get in. Just outside we spotted a praying mantas and Ad picked it up to have a closer look, for ages it just stayed still and looked at us, didn't seem bothered about being picked up. Watched it for a while before we let it go and it toddled off to the bushes nearby, seem really tame. Was called many times on the way back, to come into bars, cafes etc, but chose to head back to the hostel for Mama's evening home cooked dinners, heard they were the best.
You all pay a small fee, just over £1 I think and Mama's sits you together with other guests and brings out a huge buffet of food. Wasn't expecting quite as much food as we received and the selection of different dishes to try was brilliant. There was probably about 6 people per table and although pretty much every plate was cleared, there was defiantly enough for all. Very tasty food, we were most certainly going to repeat this in the next couple of days. Some of the best food we've had in China and that's really saying something. Plus you get to speak to other guests and ended up meeting some really nice people.
Spent a good chunk of the evening on skype, managed to chat to my Niece Becky to say Happy Birthday and hear all about what she got up to. Spoke to my brothers, sister in laws and parents, was wicked managing to catch them all, but after hogging the comp for ages, other guests were beginning to get a little frustrated, so had to get off, it would be so much easier if we had our own computer.
Out on the town we realized it was Halloween, but only because we saw some people dressed up. Really wanted to celebrate in some of the bars, as it was a real Ibiza style party town, but it turned out to be way too expensive, so just enjoyed watching all the Chinese tourists getting a wee bit merry, smacking some hand held clappers against tables etc and generally going crazy. Was fun to see, then headed back for the night.
Sunday 1st November - OUR FIRST NIGHT BUS EXPERIENCE
As Ad was checking the footy scores a guy approached him to talk about it and probably not what Ad wanted to hear, the whole game was shown on a big screen just around the corner NO FAIR, poor Ad, he's spent a while yesterday trying to screen it on the computer OH WELL.
Got out nice and early today to make the most of the quiet streets before the tourists arrived, it was wicked, hardly anyone in sight, we got many pictures. Even picked up and omelet style local dish for brekky from a stall in one of the little cobbled streets, figured it must be nice, as there was a small queue of people waiting to be served and yes our assumptions were spot on DELICIOUS !!
Took a walk the other direction in town to the Dragon Pool Park, someone had said you can just walk in, but as we did following a local lady and child, the guards called out to us, we possibly could have got away with it if we had kept walking and ignored them, as they stayed sitting in their seats and didn't seem to be ready to chase us or anything, but I guess our conscious got in the way and we stopped to see what they wanted, knowing full well that they were going to charge us. The fee was ridiculously high, so we left it, shame, it's supposed to be a nice place, even though it is on the touristy side, but we have to be strict with our money and if you look at the difference of £5 for 2 days trekking the gorge to the £8 for a small park, it really starts to put things into perspective. Instead had a look around some of the other areas, a little park area near the old town and back to hostel.
Mama was so cute, when I was feeling a little under the weather, she offered me some tablets, I'm sure they were fine but didn't take them just in case, but still she was a proper mum type figure and made us feel right at home. Just before we left, we had yet another gorgeous meal and sat chatting to some nice people we'd met at dinner. Mama and Papa both come over to say goodbye, they gave us a big hug and wished us luck, while also passing us a good luck charm each for safe travels and a bag with a couple of apples in each. Felt very sad to leave, they'd made it feel very much like home for us. Would recommend this place to others.
Quick transfer to bus station and we were on our first night bus ever. So serial having beds on a bus and kind of exciting. It looked lovely and clean and very comfortable. They make you take your shoes off before getting onto the bus, which I really liked, keeps the nice wooden floors sparkling, very nice. At first I opted to use my sleeping bag cos didn't wanna use the covers they provided even though they looked perfectly clean, but my sleeping bag was sliding all over the place and I nearly fell out of bed more than once, finally gave in and used the covers they provided. Watched a bit of ipod then sleep. There is something truly soothing about watching the stars out the window while you are preparing to sleep.