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Cruising down China’s longest riverfullsizeoutput_3d9

After a great week in Sichuan Province [more on that later], my friend Jon and I took the bullet train to Chongqing where we were picked up by our guide and driver and taken to dinner at a hotpot restaurant before boarding the Victoria Anne cruise ship for our cruise down the Yangtze River. Jon loves spicy food and said this was probably the spiciest food he had eaten in all our travels around China (and he had some seriously spicy food in Sichuan).

I hadn’t eaten all day so was famished; the food was sensational. One side of the pot was [for me] seasoned water with mushrooms along with some spices and a little bit of chilli and the other side was [for Jon] a meat stock also with vegetables but with lots of chilli. fullsizeoutput_3efOur guide kindly made us a dipping bowl of oil, shallots, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds and sesame oil.  This fabulous concoction we used to dip our cooked food into before eating.  Jon added more chilli to his bowl and told me he regretted this as it was ‘so’ hot, but he still ate all his meat and some vegetables.fullsizeoutput_3edI cooked and ate so much food; incredible noodles, bean sprouts, sweet potato, cabbage, three types of mushrooms, some tofu and delicious tofu skin.  What a meal!!fullsizeoutput_3ebfullsizeoutput_3ecThen it was time to hit the traffic and head to the ship.  Once on board we were asked if we both wanted to upgrade our rooms to suites; we did!  And really glad as the standard rooms were very small but the suites had a lovely lounge area with a little balcony.fullsizeoutput_3f0Usually non-Chinese are seated in a different eating area to the Chinese which I didn’t like so Jon and I asked to sit with the Chinese and we met some really lovely people.  We sat on the same table for each meal and enjoyed the company of a range of very friendly Chinese.  These two gorgeous little girls were our favourites – they spoke some English but loved it when I spoke Chinese to them.fullsizeoutput_3daI had previously taken this cruise in 2013 and was lucky enough to travel through the five ship lift locks but we were told now-days passenger ships cannot travel through the lift locks.  This is a photo from 2013 looking out the back of our ship as we had travelled through the locks.  It was an amazing experience.Our ship sailed through three gorges; Qutang, Wu and Xiling over four days and three nights.   yangtze-river

(source: http://www.yangtze.com)

I really enjoyed the views from the front of the ship and also relaxing in the Yangtze Club with a glass of sauvignon blanc and my book looking at the villages along the shore.P1020323fullsizeoutput_3e6P1020291fullsizeoutput_3d8fullsizeoutput_3cefullsizeoutput_3defullsizeoutput_3d5The views of each of the gorges was lovely and some better than others due to the time of the day or just plain bad weather.fullsizeoutput_3e0fullsizeoutput_3ddP1020323fullsizeoutput_3e1The crew put on a show each night which was lovely.  Wonderful costumes and great singing and dancing.fullsizeoutput_3cd

fullsizeoutput_3d1One day we took a smaller boat to a part of the river that could not take the larger boat; so beautiful!fullsizeoutput_3e8fullsizeoutput_3e9fullsizeoutput_3eaSuch a wonderful relaxing time as after four weeks’ travelling around China, I think we needed this.IMG_3565