At last the boys could do some serious miles on their bikes today. We hit the road around nine thirty after John and Mark had had breakfast in the Macdonalds across the main square from the hotel and managed to negotiate a way out of this vast and beautiful city towards Yangshuo. Having reached the countryside Sang and Alex had designed a route to take the boys off the main roads and through the countryside and its villages without the large trucks and buses to make life difficult. This was perfect cycling. Almost flat, with bountiful market gardens on either side with rice, vegetables and fruit growing in healthy and large numbers. Along the way the small villages were being added to by new university campuses as Guilin expands. These complexes are possibly no more than a few years old and their infrastructure hasn’t been updated to the on-line maps. This led to issues with navigation as the satnav in the car would say that a road exists to a certain village only to find when we got there that the junction no longer remains. This is no great problem for a car as we can simply drive a mile or two down the road and find a new way in, but it adds to the workload of the cyclists who get a little upset riding up and down a new road waiting for the car to decide the next direction to take!
Lunch was had at about 1230 and as you can see from the image John has started an interest in being bi-lingual!
The afternoon cycling was much the same as the morning, going in and out of hamlets and villages and through rolling countryside surrounded by karst mountains. In the middle of a quiet side street in a small town called Jixiang we could hear music coming from one of the shops and here was a barber having a quiet few minutes playing his two stringed Erhu instrument with a snake skin sound box beside his 100 year old barbers chair. We listened to his perfect performance with wonder and awe. This is what we wanted to see of old China. Perfect.
We arrived in Yangshuo at 7pm and found a hotel overlooking the river as the sun was starting to set. What a perfect day.
You can see the video of the day’s conversations and an erhu being played here!