China 7: Moganshan

To get to Moganshan from Beijing we first had to take a 15 hour overnight train to Hangzhou followed by a 15 minute bullet train to Deqing and finally a one hour private bus to Moganshan, where we were staying in Howoolife Hostel; a cute, cosy barn-like hostel with the best facilities we have thus far experienced. After lunch we headed out on a lagoon trek; a one hour hike through the bamboo forest to a beautiful, bright blue lagoon. After 3 days of hot, clear weather in the city it was a shame to then be hit by rain in the mountains, however this did not take away from how stunning the lagoon was, nor how out-of-this-world was the experience of swimming in the lagoon amongst the mountains (once I was over the initial shock of how cold it was!) I came out of the water feeling refreshed, rejuvenated but exhausted (feelings similar to those after a long day at the beach with the family); I felt as though I could sleep for days.

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That evening we walked 2 minutes to a nearby restaurant for dinner before spending the evening at our hostel. I spent a lot of my time in Moganshan sitting outside, under a shelter; there is something about warm rain and misty mountains in rural areas that makes me feel peaceful and spiritual, perhaps taking me back to the summers I would spend at Lee Abbey (a Christian camp) as a teenager. It slows you down and connects you to something deeper, both in yourself and something much greater beyond you. Plus the stars were beautifully clear, and I love stars. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect, not only on my time in China but on my life over the last few years; time to absorb, which is something we very rarely permit ourselves in the fast-pace of modern Western society.

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I would have personally liked to have spent more time in Moganshan than we did (only a full day in total) as both the hostel and the area offered beauty and respite amongst quite an intense tour. In fact, it was the following day that I really struggled with being part of a tour and having so much of my day and my meals dictated – I’d had to decide the day before if I wanted breakfast that morning but during the night I was bitten by a mosquito just below my mouth and my lip swelled up to the point where I struggled to sleep so I then had to wake myself up for the scheduled breakfast when I wasn’t even that hungry; we had to leave even though I would have loved to stay for longer; we had a long and broken up journey to Shanghai when I felt rubbish and just wanted to stay in as it was pouring with rain, plus we had a scheduled lunch along the way where I didn’t get to pick my food or the time we ate.

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I felt exhausted and I jut needed some time out, but it was all go with a 2 hour bus ride to Hangzhou station followed by a 15 minute bullet train and the a 1 hour bullet train into Shanghai, before taking a 40 minute metro to our hostel. And the day didn’t end there as we had a pre-arranged Shanghai bar crawl to attend…

LS.

[See previous post: Beijing]

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