8,008 km so far.
We went for a short bike ride this afternoon with one thing in mind: we are at 7,999 km and we can’t go to Shanghai without cracking 8,000.
Tea For Two Million
Not far from the retreat is a very small village, maybe 15 houses, but the scenes were similar to any of the small villages we have been through (minus the chaotic traffic).
People working the endless fields…
…playing cards and mah jong…
…building new houses…
…sweeping the roads, children playing, and chickens, geese, and dogs running around.
There is one difference. This is tea country. Today we rode through the Yanglaudong Plantation. Its rolling hills, with immaculately manicured tea shrubs, seemed to go on endlessly.
Tea has been grown here since at least the Ming Dynasty, when Yanlaudong was one of the centres of tea production, and a town of 40,000. The tea is still here, but the 40,000 people have moved on, leaving only a scattering of small dwellings nearby.
Bathing In Beer And Coffee
When we got back to the retreat we gave our bikes a much needed clean up, getting them ready for the six week holiday they will be having while we venture east.
Sherri invited us to join her at one of the local hot springs this evening. Jane wasn’t feeling too well so chose to stay in, reading, napping, recuperating. I, on the other hand, could never pass up an invitation to a hot spring.
Longyou Chibi Hot Springs is unlike any I have ever seen.
The resort is set on a small hot spring lake, and from many of the stone pools you can gaze out across the lake. Wooden pools gathered in a large central area, others were tucked away in corners of the property with bamboo and walnut trees sheltering them. The landscaping was immaculate and in ways reminded me of a Japanese Zen garden.
There were around 40 outdoor pools, each with their own ‘flavour’. There were five pools dedicated to the five elements, there was a green tea pool, a beer pool, various fungi pools, a hot fish massage pool (with live fish), a sand pool, a mud bath, and on and on. The complex also had a wave pool, water park, and swimming area plus four saunas. Each pool was marked as being 38, 40, or 42 Celsius, and because of the time of year the busiest pools had at most three people in them.
Not surprisingly my favourite pool with the coffee pool.
It was a unique experience and made me wish we had stopped in at some of the other hot springs we have passed on our trip. Not one has been mentioned in a guide book, and I took this to mean they weren’t worth visiting. Not true. This was truly luxurious, and perfect place to watch the sun set and the stars come out. ♥