Ancient Gubei Water Town

Nicholas Quirke was surprisingly sprightly on 11 May 2020 after the arduous climb of the Great Wall. He was left with a slight ache and would definitely refute any suggestion of climbing The wall again, but an easy relaxed day enjoying the sights and tastes of the ancient idyll he found himself in would be the perfect antidote. His memory of the climb though was not one of misery and pain even though the steepness of it caused some discomfort on his spindly ankles at the time and that the comment made to Peng, as they approached the penultimate peak by an old Chinese man that Nicholas ‘Looked Seventy’ rankled, in fact, still rankled, it had been a journey full of laughter, wonder at they vista, and fun. They had agreed to make an early start and were on their way to breakfast by 7 am which was a good thing as the spread that was laid on was really quite sumptuous, and there was plenty, in fact, for a Vegan like himself. The first item on the agenda was a boat ride the rough the ancient waterways past the glorious buildings and riverbanks, literally shimmering in the sun. They were paddlers along the river by a boatman and shared the boat with another couple. The sun was shining, the water green and rippling and he could not imagine a more romantic setting. Once the boat ride was complete they returned quickly to the hotel to check out and have their luggage conveniently delivered to the car park and then made their way to an authentic Teahouse on the river that they had espies from the boat. The tea was served with a perfect ceremony by the tea sommelier who left them with five portions and Nicholas attempted to repeat the tea making process. It was a perfect calm and relaxing end to their visit to the water town. Peng had located a restaurant in Beijing’s outskirts which was on their way and they agreed to wait for lunch till then. After leaving the halcyon town and magnificent scenery behind them and arriving at the restaurants location they found themselves in a setting that could not have been a more complete antithesis of the perfection they had so recently inhabited. It was run down and Dirty but the restaurant and the food were amazing. He felt very full and they had to take half the dinner home in boxes. By the time they were back in the apartment it was late and he was really tired by the heat and the activity of the weekend and a shower and bed were the ideal prospect.

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