Gansu Province - echoes of Tibet

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

After 2 days of travelling from Xi'an we arrived in Xiahe (in the Gansu province, west of Xi'an). This small town has many Tibetan monks, lots of Prayer Wheels, monasteries and nunneries and is set in a valley surrounded by mountains. We arrived Monday afternoon in the brilliant sunshine and did 'The Pilgrims' walk past all the prayer wheels and around the Monasteries and shrines. The following day we awoke to find that the temperature had dropped rapidly and it was now snowing!! We braved the cold weather to take a tour around some of the main Monasteries, guided by one of the Tibetan monks although he spoke no english. We spent the rest of the day drinking hot coffee to keep ourselves warm and then had some fabulous Nepalese curry for dinner at the Overseas Tibetan Hotel. Due to the bad weather and our lack of warm clothing we decided to abandon the mountains and head back to Lanzhou on the bus. The snow the day after was even worse and at first the bus refused to start but eventually they got it going and we set off. We only made it about a mile up the road though before it broke down and we limped back to a garage for some repairs. Luckily we got to spend some of the 3hours waiting for it to be fixed in a little room with a stove so we had some heat - and they also had a World Cup 2006 Preview on the tv!! When we finally got going the bus driver kept his foot to the floor and we made it back to Lanzhou in a record 5hrs where we checked into a nice hotel and had - LUXURY! - a hot bath !!! Next marathon journey (all distances in China are huge) is the train to Chengdu where we hope to see some pandas...
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