Monday, May 5, 2014

Guilin, China

Over the Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping holiday we visited Guilin, China.  It was SO worth the trip!  Gorgeous mountains and scenery everywhere.  According to the locals, the mountains are at their best when it is overcast and foggy.  I have to admit they did look pretty spectacular.  The mountain range is huge, everywhere you looked you saw these amazing "piles" of mountains.  Our guide picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the Li River where we took a bamboo boat ride and got an up close look at the mountains.
All along the Li river are breathtaking views of mountains, waterfalls, and bamboo.  Like most, we took one of the smaller boats down the river, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the views.  As we went along our guide pointed our certain mountains and the names the locals have given them.  As he spoke no English, it was kind of like an impromptu vocabulary quiz.  At the end of our boat ride we got to view the scene painted on the back of the 20RMB.   It was hard to get a good family picture as the dock was very crowded with both locals and tourists both coming and going.

 After our boat ride we got to see a local village by bicycle.  Charlie absolutely loved the bike ride, especially sitting in front and ringing the bell, telling me to go faster, faster!  Easy for him to say, thank God for spin class!  With Lucas and Lily sharing a tandem bike it was a great way to see the area and get a bit of exercise.  At least until we got to the mud road.  We all hoped off the bikes, and Andy our guide, carried the kids across while Lucas and I tippy toed our way carefully across.  I had a vision of us falling face first, ah la Lucile Ball, into the mud.
On our last day we visited Elephant Hill, which has a huge park and elephant carvings everywhere.  We all had a lot of fun posing with the elephant statues along with some of the more unique ones in the park.  We headed to Fubo Hill next, and climbed... a lot of stairs to get to the top.  It did give us a great view of the river and city, so it was worth the climb.  After an amazing lunch at a local restaurant we made a stop at a silk factory.  The kids got to see how the silk worm cocoon is taken and stretched and then turned into silk comforters and other things like scarfs and dresses. Unable to resist the the temptation, and I will admit, it was on my list of things to bring home from China, we got a comforter and two silk covers.  Warm in the winter, cool in the summer, silk doesn't bunch up and will way out last cotton.  Now that we'd spent lots of money, it was on to the Reed Flute Cave.  The cave is huge and has amazing stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over the Milena.  The government put in a tiled floor, steps, and lighting to make it easily accessible.  They even show a movie on the wall to explain how they cave came to be.  We took a ton of pictures, but they don't come close to showing you the awe inspiring beauty of the cave.  Such a great weekend!

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