A day of rest and recovery and moving house. That was the sum total of our plans for the day. No cycling whatsoever. After four nights at the hostel in the middle of Yangshuo it was time to head out of town to the sister hostel on the smaller tributary to the Li river, the Yulong. After checking out and leaving our bags in what used to be a basement bar we wandered in search of somewhere to down with suitable surroundings and sustenance. Having failed to find the cafe Jethro remembered from last time, we thought we’d try the cafe that the guide book recommended having found where it was our first day. When we arrived however it was not as open for business as the previous days. Never mind. Plan c. Keep looking. Thankfully this didn’t take long as on the same street we found a bit of a hidden gem.
Sadly I’ve forgotten the name of the coffee shop but it wasn’t on trip advisor so couldn’t leave a review even if I wanted to. I can’t think of anywhere I’ve had better coffee. Ever. There was only a single table and a few seats at the bar so I’m not really sure quite how they make any money.
The coffee was made with fantastic precision. The batista measured out the in house roasted beans before grinding. Then the grounds were tipped into the coffee filter which was sat on a set of precision scales. Water was then poured from a steel coffee pot at a temperature in a circular motion over the filter until the final calculated weight of liquid was achieved for the amount of grounds. The finished coffee was then decanted into plain but nice cups with an extra amount served in a conical flask like those found in a chemistry lab. The whole assembly was then presented on a small wooden tray. The purpose of the flask, we think, was so that you could add milk to the coffee in the flask to see how you prefer it before making the choice for the cup. The result of this fastidiously made beverage is coffee perfection. Puts the likes of Starbucks thoroughly to shame, especially when you consider it was the same price. It was so good that we ended up back there another two times over the next few days.
We eventually moved over to the new hostel near the Yulong river where we had a short wander around the small hamlet where it was located before having some surprising good food from the hostel itself. Their spring rolls were particularly tasty.
The next day we were out on the bikes again. We’d learnt out lesson this time though so it was an early start for a short-ish ride up to dragon bridge. The bridge itself wasn’t quite as pretty as we had been led to believe. The view from it however made up for it.
After wandering around and taking photos of the many bamboo rafts we peddled back to the hostel for lunch to escape the midday heat. 2nd helping of spring rolls. After lunch we had a bit of a break to let the sun drop a little before we cycled back into and around Yangshuo before searching for somewhere to get some dinner. This time it was to be the local specialty of “beer fish”. This is essentially locally caught fish from the river that is stewed with a variety of other ingredients and some sort of local beer. It was delicious and there was plenty of it. Full up on fish and free tea we slowly peddled our way back to bed.
Having decided we / I had had enough cycling for the time being, the next day we hired electric mopeds. In short these are enormous fun. With a top speed of a little over 40 km/h and whisper quiet they are definitely a great way of exploring. A limited range of 50-ish km is the only drawback.
We hired them in the morning and set off in the opposite direction to dragon cycled the day before. We passed moon hill after going through a number of villages on just about roads before picking our way slowly back round towards the hostel. Sometimes on not at all roads. Sometimes dead ends and sometimes roads that were going to be roads. One we found looked like this:
There was only one thing to do… Drag race. We lined up our 4kW steeds and floored the throttle. Our finish line about 200m away raced towards us about as fast as a three legged tortoise a bit unsure about where it was heading. Anyway, I won by quite a way as it seemed our otherwise identical scooters weren’t quite that identical. Jethro then managed to plough into a high curb after which his scooter particularly enjoyed turning right.
After a quick charge over lunch we headed back up past Yangshuo where we’d tried to cycle up the hill on our first ride. We got slightly further until the battery in Jethro’s scooter started to get rather low. At that point we decided it was probably a good idea to turn around, when it was just about managing to get up gentle slopes and with another 10km to get back.
Fortunately both of us got back without running out of juice so we spent a while doing laps up and down the road to see how much we could get out of the tiny little motors. We called it a night when Jethro’s scooter went significantly slower with its lights turned on.
Such a fun way for our last day in Yangshuo before heading to Guilinto get a flight down to Haikou experience China’s “Tropical Paradise”.