It was Saturday morning, my friendly local guide, Fang Yu Long, had offered to show me around town after breakfast. My plan was to then set out after lunch to see if I could find another ancient town in the afternoon.
Spending the early morning wandering around the ancient village was magical, the morning colours, village sounds, locals market and no tourists (apart from me) was the highlight of the trip so far. If you can stay overnight, this is highly recommended.
My homestay/hotel did not serve breakfast, so I located a nearby restaurant, negotiated a time when breakfast would be available and then went out for a wander.
Back at the restaurant, I noticed it just seemed to be the family, 3 generations and myself. I felt like I was dropping in for their family breakfast. I was served a hot flat round bread, congee (rice porridge) with vegetables and a hard boiled egg. All very fresh and tasty.
After breakfast I continued my walk around town and admired the many buildings, old and new. The wood work on one particular new house was wonderful.
On my breakfast walk by myself, a friendly local struct up a conversation and insisted I come to this nice house for a photo. I assume it was the best in town.
My local guide Fang met me at our arranged time and took me to visit his friends. This is their kitchen, It looked like they completed all their food preparation on the ground in bowls.
We had tea and later walked through town, getting into all the attractions for free because they are locals, this included me! Fang rarely took time out to visit the town’s tourist attractions and he seemed to be enjoying his time showing me around.
My hotel served lunch and Fang and I shared our meal together and said goodbye. I thanked him for all of his kindness and showing me around. I greatly appreciated his efforts to communicate and friendliness.
I hit the road again and soon met a couple of fellow cyclist tourists, they were keen for a photo and a chat. They were heading 1000 island lake way and beyond. I would head in that direction the following year.
You can see from the photo above, the open road is not very clean or isolated. In fact the grime, heat and fatigue was getting to me, during this my first touring ride in China, and I was considering skipping riding for the next section, starting tomorrow. I just needed to work out where to go and how, train, bus? I had never taken a bicycle onto either in China and although I had read up that is was possible, I needed to work out where and how.
I pushed on looking for another ancient town but found no sign, so instead I headed for a large town Lanxi as shown on my map. XinYe to Lanxi was only 28km for the afternoon, but I was more than happy with this. I estimate I had ridden over 300 km now on the trip and I don’t think I was as fit as I hoped I would be, especially with unexpected heat, grit and pollution. I had thought it would be less out of Hangzhou.
As I approached a bridge, I could see an old part of Lanxi on my right.
On my left was mostly modern buildings, high rise apartments, etc. Once over the bridge, I obviously turned right.
I rode around looking for a hotel, initially unsuccessfully, so I then started asking for directions to a sleeping place/hotel, and eventually found a cheap local hotel in the middle of town. I has a shower and ventured out to the local streets and park. In the park a local airline hostess who spoke some English, asked me what I was doing there, I don’t many foreign come to Lanxi, she was even amazed I had chosen the old part of town to stay, she considered it very run down and a bit unsafe. I loved the trees, bustle and even the crazy traffic/roadwork.
I explored more and found where I would be heading for breakfast the next morning, the old part of town with lots of closed up food stalls and market shops.
After a lovely fish for dinner, I discovered the old towers next to the river were actually gatehouses leaving to pedestrian bridges over the river. The river was all illuminated and I discovered a beautiful park over the river. Many locals were exercising and strolling/enjoying the evening. An unexpected lovely evening with a new adventure awaiting the next day.