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Published: April 17th 2017
Another alarming fact we read before we left for China was about unreliable air travel. In fact many guide books recommend getting the train over flying, but for budget travellers you have to go with the cheapest option and this meant braving a flight from Beijing to Chongqing.
Having read the horror stories we decided it would be best to overnight in Chongqing before picking up a Yangtze River Cruise, just in case our fight was delayed or worst still, cancelled. Of course our flight was fine so we found ourselves with 24 hours to kill in Chongqing.
After four days of running around Beijing it was lovely to find ourselves in a city without a massive hit list of sights to see. After arriving at our hotel we had a wander out to get some lunch and then went back to the hotel for an afternoon snooze to help recover from the 4.30am start. This in itself was a marvellous treat.
Chongqing has the feel of a big city, with lots of skyscrapers. Many are old, residential places that look like they are ready to tumble down. The city is quite frantic and busy but somehow has
a more laid back feel than Beijing. Even crossing the roads is a breeze, well, relatively!
That evening we set off in search of a restaurant recommended in the Lonely Planet. Chongqing is famous for its spicy food which is not great for me with my bland palate and this place was meant to serve some less spicy food. One of the themes of our time in China is getting lost. We've tried to find about three specific places for food and failed and this was no exception. To be fair, we found the address - which was a small miracle given all the maps were in Mandarin (credit to Paul) - but it had clearly closed down. In the end we found a great people watching spot that was outdoors, which was perfect given the unexpected warm weather.
No English was spoken but the waitress was super friendly and looked after us so well. Every time she brought out a dish she would signal 'ok' to check we were happy with it. Thankfully it was all lovely, and even if it wasn't we would have probably smiled and signalled ok back! We had a really nice evening
eating, drinking and just watching the world go by. We got lots more attention in Chongqing, I'm guessing westerners must be more of a rarity here, most bypassing the city and hopping straight onto a River cruise.
The next day, after buying breakfast at a local bakery and checking out of the hotel we walked to the cable car that takes you across the river - about the only tourist thing to do in the city. It was busy, with Chinese tourists again but the ride was fun and we found ourselves a lovely lunch spot by the river. What a change of pace from Beijing.
After a lovely relaxing day we had the less than simple task of getting ourselves to the port to pick up our Yangtze River Cruise. Rather unhelpfully the e-ticket I'd been given simply said go to the port, but be aware there are nine piers. No information on which pier our boat left from or where we might be able to get that information from.
As it turned out finding the right pier was a doddle. Getting a taxi to take us there, less so. But that tale is for another
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