Day 10 – Road Walking to Zoucheng - 28 June 08 (24km walk)
The day dawned bright and clear. We started it with a great breakfast in the hotel. Packed our bags and had an uneventful taxi ride to the hotel in the next town of Zoucheng. The taxi drove along the road we would be walking. It seemed a long way! Arrived at a standard government hotel on a hill to the north of town, settled in to rest for an hour or so and then taxied back to the end point of yesterdays walk.
It was a long walk!!!
Road walking is not pleasant in any country but in China it can be a very noisy experience. Not only were the cars honking at each other but they of course wanted us to acknowledge them too, so would honk at us. There were some great sites though.
The walk became like a forced march with the pace set at 6km per hour with only two breaks of approx 10 minutes. We walked from 4.10pm to 8.40pm and straight into a restaurant for dinner. On our way into the town of Zoucheng (population about 190,000) near the river there were 100’s of people eating and at an open market. Great to see.
After dinner our only thoughts were to hail a taxi back to the hotel, jump in the shower (where we were careful not to burn ourselves in the “bathe of scald” as per the translated warning sign) and hop straight to bed to rest our weary bones.
Day 11 – Road Walking Zoucheng to Qufu- 29 June 08 (22km walk)
Paul and Konomi got up early to travel to Qufu to try and sort out a hotel. We stayed behind with Yuji to follow on once the technical details had been sorted. Arrived in Qufu at about 11am and settled into an okay hotel called “My Hotel”. Qufu is the home of Confucius so is quite a touristy town (population about 85,000). Our hotel was in a quiet area in the southern part of the city. Spent the morning resting up for this our last day of walking….which was going to be another long one.
The cloud cover of the morning had burnt off by the time we set off promising a long hot walk. After an uneventful taxi ride we arrived at the walking start point at exactly the same start time as the day before of 4.10pm. Thankfully the pace was not as much of a gallop as yesterdays.
The scenery was much the same as the day before. We were fortunate that one half of the road was closed to traffic for repairs for most of the journey, so we did not have to walk on the road edge thus creating even more horn honking from the traffic.
After 1.5 hours we had our first and only decent break. Stopped at a roadside stall for ice blocks and cold water; a quick method of cooling the body down.
Soon it was up and at it again. Paul picked up the pace and on we trudged. After 10 straight days of walking the effects on the body were definitely taking their toll, with sore hip and ankle joints for Louise and painful feet for Merrin. On the positive side a couple of kilos of lard from the hips and thighs has melted away with all this good fat burning exercise in the 29+deg temps.
We crossed the bridge to enter the city of Qufu and had a pleasant kilometre walk through a park and into a restaurant across the road from the hotel for dinner. After the dinner break we all had enough energy to walk an additional kilometre into the old walled part of the town.
Every day we seem to have at least one story of locals trying to earn more money than they should from us. Today’s story is around a Rikshaw ride that we decided to take from the walled city back to the hotel. Rather than squashing into a taxi yet again for 10Yuan, we decided to take a ride in three separate Rikshaws, each costing 5Yuan….or so we thought.
On arrival at the hotel the drivers changed their story and said it was 5Yuan each person! Needless to say a heated discussion ensued with all of us walking off having only paid 5Yuan per vehicle. Funnily enough the drivers did not seem too perturbed about the final payment!!!