Posts Tagged With: Gulin

Yangshou….can’t we stay here longer?

Our stopping point, at the end of the Li River cruise, was Yangshou. It was very busy getting off the boat and then walking up West Street, where they sell lots of tourist tat and rip off goods in the back room. However, all of this soon disappeared as we then got in our van and the driver took us along the rural lanes to our guest house for the night.
We were staying at the Tea Cosy Guest house 15mins outside Yangshou itself and we’d been looking forward to this. We knew it would be a totally different experience to the ‘could be anywhere’ hotels we’d been staying in so far.
This place is indeed a ’boutique hotel’ and it was absolutely lovely and as a result we felt like we’d arrived in heaven. It is in the middle of the countryside surrounded by the farmers fields and rice paddies and then the amazing pinnacles of the karst scenery all around us as well. It is run by really friendly, smiley people who speak really good English.
I think there are only 7 rooms and ours were on the 4th floor with just the rooftop bar and restaurant above us. The rooms are really beautiful and such a contrast to all the other bland ones. Our room was filled with lovely old furniture, antiques and art but also full of the modern amenities such as fab rainshower, Wifi, AC etc. We had a lovely balcony overlooking the scenery to the front where we sat and enjoyed a cold beer and enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine until we got too hot.
Our room also had a deep bamboo bath which had views through an open window to the rice paddies. I loved the touch of the stone lily pad steps to get into the bath!
We immediately began to wind down and we sat in the garden as the sun set and ate a lovely tasty meal made with their fresh, organic veg and some of the best tasting sweet and sour chicken we’d ever had. Whilst we were now back on the Chinese food, we couldn’t resist trying their apple crumble and ice cream. It was delicious and definitely the best meal we’ve eaten here in China.
After dinner we were collected again and taken to the Liu Sanjie light show back in Yangshou. This had been recommended by friends Phil and Maureen, back in the UK. We joined the throng of 2000 people to see the show on the river where this performance is put on twice every night! The show is just over an hour long and is spectacular. The Director of this show subsequently went on to direct the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He certainly knew how to make the most of the dramatic scenery with lights and emotive music. It was pretty awesome and we all felt like we had just witnessed our own Olympic ceremony.
The next day we had a relaxed start and enjoyed a good breakfast at the Tea Cosy. None of the buffet style breakfast here for once. We then decided to go for a little walk from the hotel and ventured out along the road. It was nice to stroll through the peaceful village and past the farmers in their fields saying ‘Zaoshang Hao’ to people who were all very friendly back.
Enid had been wondering why lots of coaches seemed to drive down this lane and we soon realised why as we came across a stretch of river where there were hundreds of bamboo rafts which could be hired and used to punt up the river. It was a lovely colourful scene even if it did rather spoil the peace!
We watched this activity for a while before it was time to leave. We’d spent less than 24 hours in Yangshou and yet is had completely transformed us as we all felt totally relaxed. We all wished we could stay another night as there is plenty to do around here such as cycling, painting, learning Tai Chi or cookery. Shame…
However, we had to return to the Hotel Anywhere in Guilin for our last night. It took two hours (of course) to drive back and we had a quick stop at the colourful Reed Flute Caves which were impressively big and didn’t smell.
That night we went back to the restaurant the girls had been to without me before- McFounds. This is like a Chinese ‘Harvester’ only without the salad bar. The menu here is in English but they don’t speak very good English. I suspect they don’t like foreigners coming in as they all try to avoid serving us and then it takes about 3 of them to serve us as they all try to work out what it is we are going on about..’we’d like two portions of plain rice please’ Enid shouted..how hard can it be?
Anyway, the speciality of this Harvester is erm…donkey. Donkey in all its usual guises. We had a table of donkey eaters next to us. They are easy to spot as they are fatter than your average Chinese person and also they tend to be rather shouty and rude.
I think they’d ordered the spicy donkey as well as donkey jelly (like the jelly you get in a pork pie but without the benefit of the pie) and a particular delicacy…donkey tendons.
We on the other hand stuck with things we knew like cabbage and pork, greens, pancakes filled with spring onions and pork (but the pork seemed to have run out) and also beef and coriander wraps. All of this was really rather good.
Right…next stop Shanghai!

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