Although it’s often usual to have a preference, I don’t like to have to choose, on my trips, between what cities have to offer and the enjoyment to found in nature. I generally want a small piece of it all; culture, history, art, adrenaline pumping activities, stunning landscapes, nights out etc…
For this reason, I combined my trip to Shanghai with a visit to Huangshan (translated as yellow mountain). We took the overnight train from Shanghai to Huangshan City, or Tunxi as it is also known – much to our initial confusion. Huangshan is arguably the most scenic mountain in China. With it’s many granite peaks towering up out of the clouds, it is famous for both its sunsets and pine trees. For hundreds of years Huangshan has been a source of inspiration for a multitude of Chinese poets and painters. Yet, unfortunately, we were to see none of this. Before disembarking our train, another pair of climbers told us that the weather was no good at the moment and we would be better waiting a couple of days in the city before climbing the mountain. This wasn’t an option for us, we had a hotel room booked at the top for that night so decided to hope for the best in regards to Huangshan’s reputably changeable weather.
We opted to take the cable car up, given that there would still be a couple hours of climbing in order to reach our accommodation for the night. On the way up we saw nothing but a wall of white fog (very disconcerting as you are left with no concept of how high up you are). Once we got off the cable car, we saw snow. Then we saw a fair bit of rain. But we were dry under our ridiculous ponchos and were able to see the funny side of it. It was still an adventure and the fog even gave the mountain a kind of ethereal charm.
When we reached our hotel, Pikkei asked the receptionist about whether the weather would have cleared up enough by morning to view the sunrise. She was simply told ‘no sunrise’. I have never seen her look so dejected. However, with the heating on in our room, some pot noodle and a few hot chocolates later, our spirits were back on the up.
The next morning, with the views still non-existent, we didn’t stick around on the mountain but instead climbed down to spend our afternoon exploring Huangshan city’s historic town centre, and to eat some real food.
There may be a reason that mopeds are generally favoured in places with warmer climates, but In Tunxi they do it their way!
You can’t help but smile when there is a teddy bear in your coffee!