The Road to Everest

Great Tour of China Day 4
May 5, 2006,

Although we mainly used the Expressway in order to get us to Xi’an today, it was not without its pleasures. In particular, we marveled at the bravery of the Expressway roadsweeps, who stand in the central reservation, traffic hurtling towards them, patiently sweeping dust and detritus from the highway.

Furthermore, we passed a number of beautiful river valleys, low-lying hills and small villages. Here the farmers are predominantly growing corn on the cob, although sunflowers seem to be harvested too.

Due to the industrial and manufacturing developments in this area, many of the roads are in the process of being significantly upgraded, if not completely reconstructed.

A quick detour from the Expressway brought us to Linfen, where we enjoyed a great lunch – with some of us plucking up the courage to try the pig’s trotters on the menu!

Before reaching Xi’an, we passed the Taiyue Shan mountains, the highest of which is Huo Shan (2,347m), and Hua Shan (Flower Mountain – 2,620m), which we could see in the distance – even though it was some 130km away. Hua Shan is one of the five sacred Taoist mountains and is likened by the Chinese to a lotus blossom in its character.

We all arrived safely at the wonderful Shangri-La Hotel with plenty of time to enjoy the many facilities the hotel had on offer – including swimming pool and sauna.

© Copyright

Day 30: Thursday 25 May 2006
Zhaoqing – Splendid China, Shenzhen

On this our final day of the Great Tour of China 2006, we made a short journey mainly on expressway from Zhaoqing to the Splendid China Cultural Park in Shenzhen for the ceremonial finish.

May 26, 2006
Day 29: Wednesday 24 May 2006
Guilin - Zhaoqing

We left Gulin on smooth fast roads with wonderful views of the ‘eggbox’ type hills. These are hills of limestone which have eroded into shape over centuries covered in native vegetation and resembling very large teeth.

May 25, 2006
Day 28: Tuesday 23 May 2006
Kaili - Guilin

The agenda today was another long driving day to Guilin along a mixture of road surfaces: smooth main roads, bumpy secondary roads and some roads still under construction.

May 24, 2006
Day 27: Monday 22 May 2006
Huangguoshu Falls - Kaili

Before negotiating another day on the road, everyone spent a couple of hours today visiting China’s most scenic falls at Huangguoshu. Set against lush, local vegetation, the falls make up in beauty for what they lack in size.

May 23, 2006
Day 26: Sunday 21 May 2006
Kunming – Huangguoshu Falls

This morning we took the northern road from Kunming on a mix of main highway, dual carriageway and back roads. The first town we passed through was Quiyang en route to Honggu, a large town with coal mining and steel production as it’s main industries.

May 23, 2006