The first of the three gorges we passed through was the Xiling Gorge. Truly beautiful with its ruggedness mixed with greenery. It was fascinating to see the ingenuity used to incorporate as much farm land into the topography as possible. There were orange groves planted in every imaginable nook and cranny. This was of course necessary because all of the original farmland is now under 100 metres of water.
Though disappointing that the start of our cruise was delayed due to high winds, I have to say the boat itself, Victoria Jenna, was very nice. Fantastic food and comfortable cabins. Oh and lots of wine and beer at dinner time was lovely as well.
Of course the winding roads crossing dozens of streams and tributaries means bridges. Lots and lots of bridges.
Rugged terrain and impressive engineering are the two things that struck me most as we went along the river.
Without a doubt the Chinese have a massive amount of experience in building bridges in some very difficult terrain.
Several of them are still under construction, but they are everywhere. And designed in such a fashion as to not impede shipping at all.
The engineering that went into linking all the displaced communities along the gorges where the river now runs is incredible. The roadway that is cut into the side of the mountains along both sides of the river would be exciting to drive, I am sure.
There was still plenty of evidence of the age old method of getting around as well. The stairs on the riverbanks would make anyone who had just completed a “legs” day in the gym cry.
There were a couple of moments of solitude on the Yangtze. Not many, but when they occurred it was lovely.
The included shore excursions during the cruise were a firm reminder why, for us, group tours are not our bag. For those who like them, fantastic. Whatever gets people out seeing the world I think is good, but for us following that damn flag the guide is holding takes us to the brink.
The excursion that was the most enjoyable was a trip up a tributary on a smaller boat where you could see coffins inserted into crevices in the side of the cliff. You can just make out a coffin near the centre of this photo.
The previous photo is an enlargement of where the circle is in the shot. Bearing in mind these coffins were put there between 2000 and 3000 years ago you have to wonder how they did it. A mystery to this day.
Even on our quiet trip up the tributary to see the hanging coffins did not allow us to escape the bridges. They were everywhere you turned.
Though several aspects of our cruise were a bit disappointing due to the timing and weather. It was still an enjoyable trip and allowed us to see parts of this country that we normally would never have seen. To anyone thinking of visiting China I would put it on the to do list.
Now, off to see some pandas.
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looks great, not a flag follower either! Like the coffin photo.