After a 14 hour, slightly uncomfortable overnight train we arrived in Zhangye two nights ago. It was crazy to see how much the landscape varies throughout China.
As we got closer to our destination it felt more like we were in a desert in Saudi Arabia than in China. Houses were built from clay and built into the ground – definitely different than anything I’ve ever seen. So the city of Zhangye is in the Gansu province, part of northern China, and is populated by roughly 1.3 million people. As we were warned, literally no one speaks English here. It has made for transport, ordering, and paying to be quite interesting! The city itself has a really cool vibe and is at a much slower pace than Beijing or Xi’an which Melissa and I both agree is a much welcomed change. We had some barbecue vegetable, chicken, and squid skewers our first night which were delicious though very spicy. It has almost an Indian type of spice to the food here. We finished the night with a walk through a park and a beer in the square.
The next day we went to the Zhangye Danxia Landforms Geological Park which was the whole reason for my wanting to come here. After a little bit of struggles to find our bus station we headed out on an hour to hour and a half bus ride to the Park. It felt as if we had stumbled upon the Grand Canyon but in China! The landforms are really awesomely coloured and I absolutely love the stories and logic behind Chinese names. For example one of the landforms was called Monkeys Running into the Sea. It was named this as on the top of the peaks are rock masses that almost look like monkeys. It was fun to try and see what the locals had seen when they named it.