As we move around the world with our kids we have tried to intersperse times in big cities with time in the rural areas of the countries we visit. In the case of China we went from the intensity of Beijing, to the less frenetic city of X’ian and finally after a 19 hour train ride arrived in Guilin. From there we boarded a boat on the Li river to Yangshuo. This is a beautiful area of China. In fact, the back of one of the bills features an ink drawing of some of the karst mountains, formed when limestone and dolomite is eroded.
The Guilin area is known for its ‘better air quality’ but in our experience this was only in contrast to how bad it was elsewhere. The photos all benefited from the “dehaze” filter in the photo processing software (Adobe Lightroom.) It was certainly better than in Beijing and even Xian especially during a late afternoon hike in a light rain.
We spent several days at the Giggling Tree Guest House, an old farmhouse converted into a guest house by a Dutch couple. Last August I was standing in the dusty bar at Distrikt during Burning Man talking to a French TV producer who worked for National Geographic and had been a traveling producer for the TV show The Amazing Race. I mentioned that we were headed to China and she said one of her favorite places in Asia was the Giggling Tree Guest House, so we added it to our list. It was, indeed, a special place.
Amongst other unique things, they had put together a series of “flip” picture books for a number of hikes and bike rides in the area. We spent several hours wandering in the nearby hills armed only with our camera and a spiral bound collection of pictures indicating where to turn. Above is a picture of Bryce holding one of the pages indicating a left turn up a steep stone path marked by an angled tree!
We wandered through several small villages at a pace that was much slower than our experiences elsewhere in China.