On July 26:th I took the bus to Tunxi (“Huangshan city”) in Anhui province. The trip took less time than I expected, there was apparently a nice highway between the two cities. The landscape soon became very pleasant after Hangzhou, with some forested hilly terrain. In Tunxi I had some trouble finding my hostel. I got a ride from the bus station on a motorcycle to the street where the hostel were supposed to be at number one. Problem was, there was no number one. I started walking up the street. There was a noticeable absence of english signs and almost nobody spoke English. After a while I had to call the manager of the hostel, Stephen, and after handing over the phone to a somewhat surprised randomly chosen shop owner, Stephen could locate where I was and sent a taxi to pick me up. Stephen thought it better for me to stay at another hostel, close to the train station. It was a bit cheaper and I didn’t mind. Nobody at the hostel spoke English though, we had to rely on gestures. I then walked down to the the city center and the “ancient street”. When looking for a map of the region I now was in I got some help from a nice female employee at a book store who showed me to another book store, but they didn’t have any English maps there either. I spent some time looking for a decent place to eat in the center of town, only to discover the best place was just outside my hostel, where there were lots of small restaurants, shops and street food vendors. Later I decided to go to Qiyunshan (some mountains 45 minutes west of Tunxi) the next day.
In Qiyunshan it rained almost all day, so the views were not the best but there were some nice Taoist temples and shrines. I bought incense at one of the shrines and did my best to please the gods and “monsters” that was lined up at different places. One of the temples was built under a rock wall and I got some nice photos of another temple when the fog lifted somewhat. Getting back home to Tunxi worked out fine when a mini-bus drove up beside me on the road, I said “Tunxi? Xi (7) yuan?” and they picked me up, then after a while put me on another bus that was driving to Tunxi. I put both the fan and the air-con on to dry my clothes for the next day up to the spectacular Huangshan mountains.
Bus to Tangkou the next day. I was dropped off at some restaurant and got confusing directions (in Chinese) where to go for the next bus to the cable car/trail head but found my way eventually. More rain at Huangshan. And fog. Because of this I took the cable car up, I wouldn’t be able to see much on a hike anyway. In spite of the weather at the top there were lots of people, taking photos of what I do not know. But I got some nice views when the fog occasionally lifted. I had booked a dorm bed at one of the hotels but I upgraded to a standard room at arrival. Had the most expensive dinner at a small eatery beside the hotel. Explained to some of the guests that came to chat with me that Roger Federer was Swiss, not Swedish. Ping pong player “Whauldeneer” was Swedish though. The second day on Huangshan it rained the whole day, not much fun happened. It was a pleasure to watch all the people going up the steep mountain though, as I was heading down.
The day after I went to the villages of Xidi, Hongcun and Lucun about an hours drive from Tunxi. A glimpse of the old China. The weather was initially nice but there were some showers in the afternoon. Booked a hostel in Nanjing and then had a chat with Stephen and some other travelers from Germany. I learned that Stephen had seen the solar eclipse in very good weather in Tunxi and he described the event very vividly.
Bus to Nanjing the next day. The landscape was very nice in the beginning. Then we stopped in some industrial cities by the Yangtse river that didn’t look so nice. I had an interesting chat with an engineer from Tianjin that sat beside me. He had lived in Nanjing for a couple of years. I managed to find my way to the hostel in Nanjing (Sunflower youth hostel) and decided to order pizza at the cozy top floor bar/restaurant. Was surprised to find signs for locally brewed ale – from “Oktoberfest” brewery in Nanjing. But when I asked for it they didn’t have it. Too bad. Next day I visited the “Purple Mountain” where many sights are located. The Mausoleum of Sun Yatsen and a pagoda were my main targets but it took the whole day to wander around the place, I eventually found out the smartest thing was to take a bus between different areas. Then I visited the city wall and one of the city gates before I went back to Hangzhou again. I liked Nanjing and should really have stayed there one more night but I had already booked train tickets and hostel in Hangzhou.
Back in Hangzhou I went to the south side of the lake one day and to the north side the last day. Wasn’t really that inspired, I mostly waited for my flight home. Bought some nice chopsticks for myself. The Air Asia flight from Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur was more comfortable than I expected, slept most of the time. I had a few hours of waiting time in KL and then a 13 hour flight to London with Malaysia Airlines. No problem when you can watch movies, tv-shows and play games! A few more hours of waiting on Heathrow then a Scandinavian Airlines flight to Gothenburg.