We arrived in Lijiang quite late so found a hostel and went straight to bed. The next morning we woke up to light rain which we didn't really mind but it was freezing, it felt as though the rain could be hail and that it was about to snow, so we decided we needed to go on a shopping spree while looking around the old town.
I'v got to say that we thought Dali was beautiful but Lijiang was even better, the same roofs and narrow streets, but it was a lot bigger, less crowded and had the hills in the background. We fell in love with the place straight away, but as it was raining we decided to head somewhere for breakfast hoping that it would warm up a bit. We had a Naxi Sandwich that was awesome. Naxi food originates from Tibet and is therefore quite stogy...just what we like. The sandwich was Naxi bread that was gorgeous with omelette, salad and goats cheese inside. Obviously the goats cheese was a major selling point for me, it was also huge so it meant that we didn't need lunch, which left us more time to shop. We decided that we both needed walking socks, i needed some new walking boots as i was slipping all over the place when the ground was wet and that Matthew needed a waterproof coat and we both needed another jumper and maybe hats. This was also in preperation for New Zealand. Matthew ended up with a coat with a detachable fleece, we both bought a hat each, i got some really good walking boots, a jumper, socks and a bag all for 80 quid, bargain!
Once we had finished with the shopping we had some tea and as it was still raining we went back to the hostel hoping for a better day the day after. This is when the bed decided to break on us and all we were doing was sleeping! It was on Matthews side so i blamed him....when we looked at it though it had obviously collapsed before and someone had tried to fix it. It took Matthew a while to fix it and for the next 4 nights we didn't dare move, quite funny really.
The next morning was a better day, still cold but no rain so we decided to have a proper look at the old town and take some photos. We then decided to take a walk to black dragon pool park for a wonder and ended up climbing Elephant hill that was supposed to be 200 metres up, more like 2000 metres, it was hard going but onmce we made it to the top the views of snow mountain were really good (or so we thought at the time). Once back down at the bottom the sun was out so the coats and hats came off and we found a really nice restaurant that did Tibetan food for dirt cheap. We had Tibetan noodles, a potato dish and momo's ( a bit like big pieceis of ravioli with a chilli sauce to dip it in.) It was gorgeous, we are loving Lijiang for the food. we had a few more drinks and then left the restaurant as the sun was setting. As we walked out of the restaurant and down the street we couldn't believe our eyes, we could see Snow Mountain from the old town even clearer than when we had walked up a million steps! Matthew ran back to the park to try and get some clearer photos as it was amazing.
The next day we took a trip to Tiger Leaping Gorge, ideally we wanted to stay there and walk the gorge, but due to both lack of time and lack of fitness we thought we would just go for the day. It was a Chinese tour guide, and full of Chinese so like in India we couldn't understand a word that was being said but the views on the way their were enough to keep us occupied. At one point we turned a corner and Snow Mountain was in our sights once again but even clearer than before. Spectacular. We carried on to the first bend of the yangzte river for another photo opportunity, as you know the Chinese love their photo's. Next stop was lunch and it is unbelievable at how quickly the Chinese eat, they don't seem to eat for enjoyment but because they have to(maybe thats why they are all so thin). We were sat around the table just getting stuck in to our meal and the rest of the Chinese were practically leaving, no table manners. They didn't even have a drink. We are not sure if this is normal practice of if its because we were sat on the same table. We didn't mind though, it meant more food and drink for us. Once lunch was finished we went to the gorge, and walked about 2.5 kilometres to the look out. The gorge was bloody big, i'm glad we didn't decide to walk it, i would have definitely struggled. It was great though, especially with the mountains in the background. We really enjoyed the day and the scenery in China is beautiful, so different wherever you look. Once back we went for a nice Italian and then back to the hostel to pack ready for our flight to Kunming to connect to Hong Kong then Singapore and then Perth. In total we will be doing 4 flights it 48 hours including spending a night in Singapore airport!
So our first 6 months has passed and we have had a fantastic time in every county we have been to with some very different experiences, China has deffinitely been the most beautiful especially Lijiang (out favourite town so far). There are a few things that we will not miss though:
1) Squat toilets, not so good for the old knees!
2) Men/Women and children staring at my chest
3) Matthew banging his head. He must have done this at least 100 times, with some bad gashed too. This has involved low door frames, low pipes, corners of car boots and even street signs they are so low in some places.
4) Everyone clearing their nose and throat and just spitting it wherever they feel like it.
5) People just throwing rubbish on the ground when there is a bin nearby, this was especially the case in India and China.
6) Men just weeing wherever they feel like it!
Apart from those 6 things we have had a great time but are really looking forward to seeing something different in Australia.