but that didn’t stop us pulling up a big hill to survey the tips of the wonderful karsts from a high ridge above the river Li.
We almost swam to our beautiful accommodation . . the Outside Inn has been tastefully restored to its former beauty. Mud brick dwellings around a little courtyard with a night watchman, lovely bamboo fittings old wooden floors and romantic mosquito nets hanging over the beds.
In the surrounding dwellings, night soil is still taken out in big buckets, slung over bamboo poles and then deposited in huts to be used for fertiliser. Rural life is still so much a continuum with the outside, even in the bitterly cold Winters, when doors and windows don’t really shut.
The impeccable small holdings and gardens seem to contrast greatly with the apparent confusion of indoor life. Such neat rows of seedlings, plants, trees, it is really awe inspiring, especially as it is almost all done by hand.
A big rat dashed through the torrents between bikes and trucks as we made a sopping muscular dash for the last 10 km
The open fireplace became our comforting centre for drying off and was quickly ringed by countless pairs of sodden shoes while we collapsed into armchairs.
The hot chocolate cake and reviving coffee were never more welcome. .
Tomorrow, unbelievably, is our final day of riding.