So I’m back from my summer holidays, and like always it went by so fast. (How can people even stand a week-long holiday? That must be over in a blink.)
I was in the small village of Yangshuo in Guangxi which is in southern China, studying Chinese. I’ll write another post about what it is like to go to a month-long intensive Chinese course soon, but first I wanted to share some pictures.
Yangshuo is beautiful. I first went there almost seven years ago during my first winter holiday in China. I stayed for a few days and moved on and I had great memories. But being there for a month gave me an opportunity to really explore the karst peaks, the scret spots of the river, and tiny ancient villages in the countryside. Except for the jagged karst mountains shooting up everywhere, the land is flat and is perfect for biking adventures.
So before I delve into the reason I went there, the studying, here are some pictures I wanted to share of some amazing sights I saw this past month.
Yangshuo is famous for the karst peaks that take over the landscape. Some are climbable, and getting up high gives you an amazing view.
This was the view from my hostel room. I loved waking up to these mountains and some rainy mornings they were covered by a wispy, thin clouds that twisted and curled around them like a traditional Chinese painting.
One weekend the school had a trip to Gudong waterfall, a place where you actually hike up in the middle of the river. You had to wear safety helmets that seemed more harmful then helpful to be honest.
We had to wear these traditional woven style shoes that again, kept slipping off and sometimes made walking more difficult than it would be with bare feet. But I never slipped so I guessed they worked.
Me climbing one of the many waterfalls!
There was a lot of tourists at the beginning, but as you can see from this pic, soon everyone spread out and it didn’t feel very crowded.
But it wasn’t all waterfalls, Yangshuo is a small village (for China) and the surrounding countryside has even smaller and more ancient villages.
In one village I left my friends behind and wandered around on my own. Some had their ancient houses open to the public (like this one in this picture) but when I looked into the doorway of an old couples house, the old man waved me in and showed me his clearly ancient (though also dilapidated) house. It had some very old woodwork in it, but he was only speaking local language, not Mandarin, and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I thought it was a scam, that he was gonna ask me for money or try to sell me something but he just let me look around and said goodbye. It was very nice.
With the sparkling clean Li River running right outside town, swimming was a common activity in the summer heat. While there were many popular places to swim, my friends and I chose instead to find the quiet places with no other tourists. That’s the benefits of living in a place for a few weeks. We could explore!
Watching the sun rise is a must-do.
The summer is quite hot and humid, but the nights are a little cooler and in the morning, if you wake early enough, you can see the karst peaks shrouded in clouds. By the time the sun gets too high, they are already burned off.
Most weekends were filled with a lot of activities and 30km bike trips. But one day me and a few friends just swam for hours, then had a quiet lunch together in the countryside before heading back home, weary but happy. It was one of my favorite days in Yangshuo. Just one of those lazy summer days.
So it was a great summer. It wasn’t as active as my summer trips usually are, but it was very peaceful and quiet. Yangshuo is a big tourust center, but it’s not a city and there are more bikes than cars on the street, which is always a nice change from the big city life of Xiamen. But my purpose there was to study Chinese, and in my next post I’ll talk about what that was like!