Possiblers! Exploration – ah the sweet wonder and excitement that comes with visiting new places. For us recently, a lot of you will know, was the exploration of the huge landscape mass of China. A place of incredible culture spanning thousands of years, geography that defies my descriptive ability to articulate and experiences like no other.
We’ve posted pictures of our most memorable experiences and it’s safe to say we could sit here and write several thousand words of explanation and barely scratch the surface of our experiences. Indeed – in getting back to work, I’ve spoken of little else to colleagues! So here’s a couple of our highlights as well as TWO of our Itineraries that you can download in word format! (so you can edit and tweak as you please)
They have locations, descriptions and most importantly – costs and timeframes required to explore and see these extraordinary places. If that’s what you’re chasing then here are the Download links to:
1 – 10 Day China Express Itinerary AIP (The whole China Plan)
2 – Mt-Huashan-Itinerary (This NEEDED it’s own dedicated plan of attack it paid off big time. In fact, we would have come a bit unstuck without this bad boy in at least two ways on the way there).
Firstly – Insects are not too commonly eaten 🙂 It’s mostly a gimmick used on pliable tourists like us. That said, there ARE a lot of stalls at food markets that sell assortments of spiders, starfish, centipedes, maggots and scorpions. Did we try anything?……..Grin…..you bet! We ate the biggest spider they had! Deep fried. So deep fried it just tasted like fried chicken (seriously). But we did have a couple of legs and a big bite out of the body each – check out the pics for the size of this beastie! The hardest part was getting the thing near your face without thinking it might come alive and latch onto your face! aarrgghhhh….
The Great Wall
But not JUST the Great Wall. We saw a section that is maintained and rebuilt often, which is super impressive. BUT! We also trekked way up the mountains to see a section that is not maintained and what is called “Wild Wall”. This section essentially hasn’t been touched for hundreds of years maintenance wise. And for us, on our cold (3 degrees Celsius), misty day it was hauntingly beautiful.
So many amazing aspects to this – but the one I want to touch on is the realism. Now this I didn’t know going in (and we researched a lot into this trip), was that every individual face is different. They are actually done from portraits of the Emperor’s warriors. So what you are looking at are statues of real people. Now these are SO real that when I uploaded the photos to Facebook, it asked me to TAG the people in the photo…..just think on that. It’s essentially looking through a time-window to people long gone, but that actually existed!
The Plank-Walk! But more than that – apart from the height (800m down to cloud level, then 400m down to the rocks below) and the thrill – the scenery was just beyond description. Truly humbling to be in such a location and just stare. The word “Awesome” truly covers it. I had no words at the time. Could only look, stare, breathe. As far as you can see, in every direction…..a cloud ocean, with mountains rising up out of them. You couldn’t see the land below. It was like traversing a heavenly world along narrow staircases, steep rises and sheer drops……if you can…..GO HERE!
This place is a geological wonder. There are rock “spires” every couple of kilometres in every direction – for hundreds of kilometres. The local towns are nestled protectively in the embrace of these monoliths and surrounded by them. Having done some research into this – these mountains used to be an underwater seascape in the Triassic Era and to keep it short, as the tectonic plates rearranged themselves through history, the water has drained and the land has been eroded steadily each monsoon season with heavy rains and water flows. What is left is the hardest of the limestone yet to be eroded. This is also why the spires are so shear and steep.
So that’s the REALLY short summary of our trip. We did so many different things, from meals in farmer’s houses, cooking classes, Tai Chi lessons, bike rides, back street explorations, local markets.
If I had to give one piece of advice?
Go off the beaten track – explore everywhere. Talk to the locals, be friendly, they will tell and show you more than you could ever hope to find out on your own. This way you will see the TRUE local flavours and currents of wherever it is you are visiting.
Good luck on all your future adventures! We’d love to hear about any that you guys want to share! Please throw us a line or a comment so we can check out your stories!
Much love – A.I.P – Pete and Jodes