After quite a long time of
no-exploration, during which discovering new places meant coming across a new closet in my apartment, I decided it was time for a new trip.
However, as my roommate and fellow travelers can attest, I am not much of a last-minute explorer. I like when things are organized, even more after hearing many stories about people getting stuck on top of mountains because they did not understand when was the last ferry leaving etc…
This is why, when they talked me into coming to a last-minute trip to Huangshan, I was quite
But, after many preparative, calls to our program manager (Thanks Medusa for your help!), and last minute existential
“should I change my mind” talk, I said let’s go for it!
Now I am glad I did it, and actually for quite a strange reason: this trip reminded me of home. The minute we took the bus from the village up to the mountains I started realizing that the landscapes totally reminded me of.. the Alps!
*And here is why*
What was the same:
1. Climbing, climbing, climbing, until you are intrinsically convinced that your legs are probably going to fall of soon due to a
non-natural amount of exercising.
2. Tourist souvenirs everywhere. Of course, this time they did not include adorable cuddle marmot toy or enormous cow bells. They were more of little turtles, bracelets, ethnic bags…and you could also enjoy some cucumbers to eat on your way up!
3. “Pont des Amours” locks. They are these locks in which you engrave something, and then attach to a particular place, hoping it will stay there for many years to come. I guess Chinese stole our [read: French] idea.
That we kinda stole from the Italians.
4. People taking photos.
5. Landscapes and skies that make you want to say “Wow”. I can say that I have seen quite many sunrise/sunset on the mountains, but I am never tired of seeing new ones.
6. While talking about the writing of this article with a friend, he told me that probably the most similar feeling while climbing mountains was this sentiment of achievement when you reach the top of the mountain. I could not say it better, so here it is Lucas: This feeling of accomplishment, proud, and excitement, that you get when you are finally on top!
*Now, don’t get me wrong, there were also quite different things to discover on our way!*
1. Chinese men climbing to the top with kilos of food/bottles/air conditioner on their shoulders. Respect!
2. Indiana Jones-like landscapes, with never-ending
suspiciously cracked rock steps, and gloomy caves.
3. Chinese signs with a more than approximate English translation that could read
quite creepy messages such as “the mountains is inspecting your behavior”. It’s big brother Chinese style.
4. An entrance price of 30$. I barely ever remember times where I had to pay to hike in the Alps…we would instead pay for the parking, and of course the prices for commodities were extremely expensive
5. Traveling taken to a all new level of fashion: let me introduce you to the Panda bag, best partner in cuteness all over our trip.
I was also quite interesting to
people do not climb the same way. I felt like Chinese people were more patient, slow but steady.
All in all, what was nice about this trip was the feeling that people could finally enjoy something together, and find it beautiful, even though they were not from the same culture or part of the world.
I’ll keep this feeling somewhere in my mind, for future travels!