Without thinking much about it I joined the walk on our first day in the beautiful geo-park a few miles outside Guilin.
This involved a steep flight of hundreds of deep steps with vertiginous drops on either side of a chain hand rail and mid air views of the extraordinary rock formations as well as visit to a little temple high on the hillside. Even without completing the last few hundred more steps, my legs were shaking well before the descent (equally taxing) and the result is that whilst we are mostly comfortable on our bikes. . . (and the last couple of days have been big, energetic rides), off them, many of us are still hobbling, with exquisitely tender calf muscles.
The footplate style of loo is thus the subject of much groaning and laughter as we compare notes about descents and rising and the degrees of pain and daring required
The scenery is just wonderful though. . Misty bamboo-clad and steeply terraced hills. People carrying, tilling, enduring, producing in very basic conditions and yet with ever ready smiles and a kind of gentle curiosity.
Road subsidence or the effects of land slide is a regular feature on new and old roads alike. . .vast mounds of deep orange clay and rocks piled into the road. The night before last a strange roar disturbed me momentarily in my sleep. . a huge landslide had engulfed the road on the opposite side of the river and the traffic at each end was just calmly turning around. The hotel standing adjacent was lucky not to have been swept into the river.
Today a small rock bounced down from a nearby promontory . . I was spinning along in time to miss it and then around the next bend had to brake in order to negotiate deep mud and earth that was part of another slide.
The food is simply brilliant! Great daily banquets and a well earned beer at the end of each ride.
So much to see it is impossible to cover it all, but in the company of a lovely group I feel so lucky to be seeing rural China as she has been for many ages and to be in such outstanding landscapes.
comparing China to krgyzstan? lets say, China as being more like the south hams while krgyzstan is more like the wild spaces of Scotland. . .then multiply the scale by loads, if you see what I mean?
In other words we are doing some very ‘cheeky little climbs’. .
I am just about managing to keep going on the smashing bike that is on loan. Mr.Tang (one of our lovely guides and mechanics) is completely devoted to Jenny 2 so I would say all is very well. Sadly I can only load photos from my phone, but may be able to get a shot of one or 2 sketches, later.
Xie xie. .