Day 14. Zhangqui to Zibo
We really couldn't have topped Ray's treat for us - this village was absolutely fantastic and in every way possible exactly what we needed to feel more of the authentic old China.
We slept soundly and awoke to the sound of birds and we took our
time leaving the stone village. On the way out we explored
the small temple atop the inner gate with its tranquil music and
The other boys were dragging their feet to get going this
morning, not surprising given the surroundings, but it did give me
and Dave a chance to check out the outer wall. It looked like
the wall had been slapped together from old bits of stone, some
distinctly out of place amongst the stone wall.
[Stone wall outside Zhangqui]
Upon closer inspection it seemed as though the old abandoned
village had its stones looted in order to make this
theme-park-style outer wall; most probably built to give the
tourists a grandiose first impression of the hamlet.
The gentle slope accelerated our descent towards the highway and
we were amongst modern China much too soon. Before we knew
it, 50 km later we were in Zibo, a large town with a connection to
the bullet train network. From here we would catch the train
to Qingdao and the sea.
The bullet train has no cargo carriages; therefore we had to
send our bikes tonight and collect them the following morning in
Qingdao. It wasn't easy and certainly didn't go as smoothly
as when we had got the bikes on the bus, but with Ray's
persistence, eventually the paperwork was in order; I wouldn't
trust anyone by the King to put my bike on the night train.