From Chongqing we flew to the Hefei Airport on an early morning flight that took about two hours. Like all of the other airports we went through, the facility was large, modern and efficient. Anna's roommate's Dad met us and we traveled about another 90 minutes by car to the town of Tongling. We did cross the mighty Yangtze River on a long, tall bridge. Amazing that we also crossed the Yangtze in Chongqing. It is the third longest river in the world and the longest in the world to flow in just one country. The river was much busier in this section with lots of barges and boats.
Of course, when we arrived in Tongling we drove to a residential subdivision where we stopped at a relative's house for a visit and lunch. As in every other house we visited in every city, we were treated with a wonderful display of food. The dishes here were quite different than in Beijing or Chongqing. There seemed to be more stews and vegetables. At what I thought was the end of the meal, came rice, soup and dumplings. Who can argue with that? Unknown to us, our hosts had reserved rooms for us at the Lake View Garden Hotel where Rondi and I had a large suite overlooking the lake and Anna had a separate room. That evening there was a large dinner in our honor at a very nice restaurant. The dining room was in a private room with the largest circular table that I have ever seen and it appeared to have a 'Lazy Susan' that rotated the food electronically. The men were all located at the top end of the table and that evening the Asian custom of toasting with what I call 'White Liquid' was active. A memorable evening!
I knew that we were scheduled for a mountain hike at some point during our stay and didn't give it much attention. Until we arrived at the mountain village which was about a 90-minute ride from Tongling to Huangshan, a small town at the base of the Yellow Mountain. At the base, I wasn't certain as to what we were doing as we boarded a small bus from a terminal. It is important to remember that I am accustomed to hiking in the White Mountain National Forest. Throw that out the window as, except for the majestic beauty of the mountains, there are no similarities. The bus ride was on a very winding road with steep drops outside our window. When we got to the end of the bus ride we proceeded to queue for a gondola ride. Uncomfortable with heights, it was not what I was hoping for. In summary, once we got off of the roughly eight-minute gondola ride, we had a 4.5 hour hike to the hotel that we were staying that evening at the top of the mountain. There were concrete walkways, railings, restrooms and benches everywhere. Access to the mountain allows many people to visit the mountain and see the jagged mountain peaks poking through the clouds.
There is a rumor that the Yellow Mountain will be on the 2018 AMC International Dinner Schedule. Stay tuned!