Published: August 8th 2011August 2nd 2011
The Train to Hefei
My new friend for the journey
Tunxi – Relaxation and hiking or as it turned out just relaxation.
After the amazing hike up Mt Hua Shan near Xian I decided I had a taste for more hiking and getting away from the cities for a while. So following a recommendation from a friend at the hostel I decided to head to a large city called Hefei and then onto Tunxi to climb “Yellow Mountain” or as the locals call it Huangshan. After a very entertaining 16 hour train journey followed by a 5 hour bus ride I arrived in Tunxi. The hostel was pretty cool and the city was very relaxed with only one small touristy area to speak off. The train journey was really very comfortable and being with 5 Chinese guys in a small cabin was very entertaining, well it’s fair to say I was the source of entertainment but in a good way. The two younger guys in my cabin and the guy in the cabin next door just wanted to talk and improve their English and learn about my trip, about England and to see what I thought about China. I even managed to get an insight into the feelings of the
younger generation about the current political situation and their aspirations for the future. It was a great train journey and Im very pleased I went for the hard sleeper and not the soft sleeper to allow me to experience this interaction. It's fair to say if the youth of China can generate a big enough voice the future of China will be vastly different from the present day.
Once in Tunxi I had to try the Lonely Planet recommended restaurant, although I don’t normally do this the options were limited and the guide book really praised this place and I can now see why. It was without doubt the most upmarket place I have been in on this trip and it was kind of al a carte but with a Chinese twist. Basically on the first night (yep you’ve guessed it I ate there for 3 nights running) I went with an American guy staying in my dorm and thankfully he spoke Chinese so it made the process very easy. I has so much food of an incredible quality that between the two of us we couldn’t eat it all, not bad when the total bill was £5.80 including
What I could have won.....
drinks. As this proved to be the best food I had had in China I went back on my own the following night and had 6 dishes all to myself, I didn’t eat half of it but I just wanted to try more of the dishes, greedy I know but it had to be done!
After all this food it was time to trek Mt Huangshan the following morning and try and burn some of it off, after a one hour bus journey and reaching the foot of the mountain it started to rain. Now you will be pleased to know I’ve actually learnt a lesson, I waited for 30 minutes and it didn’t clear so I decided I’ve done a lot of treks and have many more to come that I didn't fancy being soaked to the bone again so I got back on the bus and went back to the hostel, well that was after watching the Yellow Poncho army prepare for the summit complete with personal microphones and speakers for tour groups, OH what a pleasure! After my strenuous efforts I decided it was only fair I treated myself to lunch in my favourite restaurant, well
The Train to Hefei
My bed for the next 16 hours....
it would be rude not to.
So in summary I travelled for 20 hours to meet some great people along the way and do absolutely nothing. Having said that I was more than happy with my time in Tunxi it was exactly what I needed. I was fully recharged for my next stop, Shanghai, where I will be for approximately 10 days whilst I sort out my visa for India, I have everything crossed this is processed in a sensible time frame and does not take months like some of the forums are saying, watch this space....... if the next 4 blogs come from Shanghai you will know the outcome.
There are more photos below