Gongtan Ancient Town

When we arrived in Chongqing we were told that they wanted to take us into the mountains. I had assumed that the ‘Brilliant Resort and Spa’ excursion had been that trip. Wrong again. On Friday we packed everything up and once again headed for the mountains.

When I imagine China I think of crowds and cities. The green spaces are beautifully lush and the forests are dense with such a variety of vegetation. Alongside the heavily populated cities are vast green spaces. Nestled within the forests you can see the terraced farm gardens growing corn, rice and other crops. At some points during the drive it felt like we were deep into the wilderness of China, then suddenly we come upon another set of massive skyscrapers and big city lights.
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City Lights

At one point in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, we pulled into a rest stop. Inside the rest stop was a collection of restaurants similar to what we would see as a food fair in a local mall. Dinner was a very spicy, delicious noodle bowl along with equally spicy squid on a stick :-).
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After driving for five hours we arrived at Gongtan Ancient Town. Once parked we climbed down a very long set of stairs into a rustic hotel perched on the steep sloped valley of the Wujiang River. During the a long (albeit fascinating) drive I was beginning to think – this had better be a pretty amazing place to justify this trek. Sitting on the deck of our suite enjoying a pijiu that evening = worth it :-):
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Wijiang River

We made some new friends over breakfast:
New Friends

It seems that Jim and I are a bit surprising for the locals in Chongqing and especially in some of the more remote areas. We got a bit of a taste of celebrity as we were stopped many times by strangers wanting to have their picture taken with us. The kids in Gongtan were so sweet 🙂
New Friends

The next morning we got onto a pagoda boat for a trip down the Wujiang and Apeng rivers.
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There were many old structures that looked abandoned but sometimes there were signs of habitation.
Ancient City

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This is a photo of an entry to a tunnel – as I said before- a mountain is not an obstacle!
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River Boat

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River Boat

After that we packed up again and were back on the road – once again not sure where exactly we were going… We drove for a couple of hours through a number of small towns and saw so many interesting things as people were going through their daily lives. Here is a picture of a couple preparing noodles:
Making Noodles

We then arrived at the beautiful Taohuayuan National Forest Park. Beautiful gardens and fascinating caves…
Caves

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Caves

Caves

Caves

And Jim being Jim 🙂
Caves

Caves

Caves

Then the five hour drive back to our hotel! Crazy trip but worth it 🙂

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