Stage 4, Wuhan to Luoyang
May 26, 2013
|The trip from Wuhan to Luoyang was uneventful. No issues with getting to the station, getting on the train or getting to the hotel at the other end. This time we actually had seats with a decent view. Just a shame that the ever present smog greatly limits the view. It is probably no more than 1.5 - 2 km in any direction. It is a shame as you can see the outline of mountains in the distance but there is no definition. Even the close up images are shrouded in grey leaving everything dull and lifeless.
This was a decent leg distance wise, 3 hrs 3 mins and 770 km. This brings the total distance traveled by train to 1,912 km.
Luoyang was the capital of 13 dynasties from the 21st century BC to the 10th century AD.
It is where the seismograph, paper making, printing and the compass were invented and is also the home of the peony plant. Our first image of the city however was of a great big construction site. They are just not constructing new apartment blocks, they are constructing multiple estates each consisting of dozens of 40+ story blocks. The sheer quantum of new construction is amazing.
Anyway, we decided to see the three main sights yesterday - The White Horse Temple (the first Buddhist temple in China), The Shaolin Temple (famous for it's kung fu martial arts) and the Longmen Grottoes (one of the three major cave systems in China). Well, I don't know what it is about China, mountains and us because every time we get near them, it rains. First Guilin, then The Yellow Mountain and now Shaolin.
The White Horse Temple was okay. Just starting to sprinkle but nothing serious. Then we headed up the mountain and the mist came in. By the time we got to the Shaolin Temple, the rain was starting to get heavy. We bought a $2 umbrella and soldiered on. Then we went to the caves. By this stage the rain was getting really heavy. We considered giving the caves a miss and coming back the next day. In the end, we decided there was no guarantee the weather would be any better the next day and, as long as we were there we might as well see the place so we paid the Y120 (each) entrance fee and headed in.
The rain only kept getting heavier. Visibility was reduced to 100m. We lasted about 40 mins before giving up. We didn't even get halfway through and we were thoroughly soaked. I wouldn't even have played golf in it, it was so bad. So we retreated to the hotel to dry off.
Today, Sunday, it's still raining (but showing signs of easing) so we're having a rest day. A chance to relax and recuperate before heading off on our first overnight stage. We were originally planning to go to Linfen to see the Hukou Waterfall. However the only direct train there arrives at 2.00 am. On top of that, it's a four hour trip (one way) to the waterfall so we decided to give it a miss. Instead we're going straight to Pingyao albeit on a slow train. It's going to take us 10 hrs to travel the 684 km (compared to the 3 hrs to travel the 670 km from Wuhan to Luoyang). Should be interesting!
We'll let you know how we fared in a couple of days.
Until then, take care and have fun.
Brian & Katherine