The Three Gorges of the Yangzi, Day 20: Cycling from Fengjie to Wushan, parallel to the Yangzi.
We struggled today! Even though we had already mastered two longer and harder stages during the last couple of days, the combination of the heat and a very long ascent made it hard to maintain the smile on our faces. On the way stopped many times for cool drinks and just a few minutes of rest in the shade, cursed the sun and the mountain, and very slowly made our way up to the top.
This is the good thing about cycling mountains: Once up on the top, all the pain you go through to get there is forgotten instantly. High fives for completing the last big challenge of our journey!
The last 30 km to the hotel were pure pleasure, constantly going downhill on a smooth new road, all the way to our hotel in Wushan, located directly at the bank of the Yangzi.
After a fabulous dinner (Has dinner been anything else than fabulous any time during our trip?), we went for a massage just opposite of our hotel. After the exhaustion of the last days, this seemed to be just the right thing to do. Apart from the obvious benefits of relaxing your muscles, going to a massage parlour in China is always a social event and quite entertaining in most cases. Massage staff are often very talkative and during a massage which usually lasts about one hour, there is plenty of time for a conversation. There were five ladies and one man to massage us, and it didn’t take long until the room was filled with chatter and giggles. One of the ladies had an especially quick mouth and entertained the whole room. At one point during the conversation she learned that one of us was from Switzerland and exclaimed: “Oh, what a marvellous country! Such beautiful landscape!” When we asked: “How do you know Switzerland so well, have you ever been there?”, she replied “Oh yes! I go there every night, in my dreams!”
They went on joking about the shocking amount of white people’s chest hair, complimented us on our strength and willpower to come to their place from Xi’an all the way by bike and told us a little bit about their life as a massagist. We were lucky that all of us fitted into the same room so that I was there to translate the questions they asked us, as well as some of the gossip they shared among themselves. On top of the entertainment, the massage was really good and we left the studio satisfied and happy.
We have more than earned our two days of rest now.