To accommodate various needs we travelled in two groups – one on Swiss Airlines one on KLM. Zurich bound was uneventful but delayed by fog so there was the usual rush to join the connecting flight. Flight wonderfully Swissly uneventful.
Joined up with the rest after a day hanging around in Shanghai and having lunch with friends. Dinner introduced those on their first trip to some new delicacies of a particular fragrance. Then rush off to the train station for the overnight train to Huangshan.
Hard sleepers only….if you have been to China over the last thirty years, the words “hard sleeper” strike a particular fear. However, things have moved on from the days of prison style bunks with horse hair blankets. Now there are snowy sheets and duvets.
More Anna Karenina than 20 Years in Siberia. Pass around the single malt and snacks then everyone climbs into bunks and off to sleep. Anyone in the top bunk (of three) is not allowed to have nightmares or fall out.
Quite wonderful being lulled to sleep with occasional rise to consciousness as the train stops at stations with lights and noise then off again rumbling along.
Wake up as we pull in to penultimate station. Going to be freezing so base layers on, pack up and onto the next mode of transport. Breakfast on the bus of buns, baked sweet potatoes, hot soya milk and fried devils.
We dump our main luggage at Old Street Hotel where we will stay after the mountain. An old fashioned place it looks like the perfect location for a bar brawl with “Hey you, so you think you’re a tough guy” as an opening line. Or maybe, “So, let’s find out what the old fox has taught you…” Will have to check out what’s in my phrase book under “Going out”.
Then up to mountains.