We took the high speed train from Chengdu to Chongqing and it only took a couple of hours to get there. Finally an easy travel day…or so we thought, that is until we arrived in Chongqing. Somehow we needed to make our way to the pier but we weren’t worried because we had lots of time to find our way. The train station was undergoing some renovations so the signs that were posted made no sense and did not help us to where we needed to be or where the subway station was. We exited the train station and considered taking a taxi…but the taxi guy we talked to was going to charge us a ridiculous fare and wouldn’t use the meter so we just said no and moved on – I refuse to pay a taxi driver that is obviously trying to rip off tourists. We could only assume that there must be a subway nearby because there were so many people walking with luggage. We just followed the mob of people that had luggage and sure enough we ended up at the subway a short distance away.
We managed to get ourselves to the right subway stop near the pier but we had no idea how to actually get to the pier or which direction we needed to go. With some sign language (we are really getting good at sign language) a security guard pointed us to the right exit out of the subway station but then once we got outside we had no clue where to go. So we showed our cruise information (which thankfully had the pier information in Chinese) to a lady on the street and she pointed out the way we needed to go. As we were walking it was looking less and less like an area where a pier would be located, so we asked a tour operator for some help but she didn’t speak English. As we were doing our sign language thing and showing her our cruise documents, she flagged down a young Chinese couple that could speak a little English and they offered to walk us to the pier because they would also be boarding a cruise from there – ‘whew’ saved again!
We boarded our boat and got settled in our cabin. The ship was great and our cabin was really nice. We had our own balcony and we sat out and enjoyed the city lights of Chongqing.
The company we booked the cruise with sent us a nice fruit plate and we enjoyed that with some red wine while we waited for the ship to set sail.
When we woke up in the morning it was pouring rain so the scenery was basically non-existent and we couldn’t see much. Thankfully this was not the most scenic part of the cruise and we would not be going through any of the gorges until the next day.
In the afternoon the ship docked and we visited the Red Pagoda. It was beautifully set on the side of a cliff and we loved the marble carving that ran all along the stairs.
We could see our ship off in the distance from the top of the Pagoda.
It is said that if couples walk over this bridge together and cross it with an odd number of steps then they will be together forever – we crossed with an odd number of steps
At dinner the cruise manager announced that the sun would shine the next day! Yes!
We were up early to go have our breakfast and start our day of scenic cruising through two of the three gorges. One thing I didn’t really like about our cruise was that breakfast was only held between 7am-8am, one hour for breakfast for 300 people? 7am-10am would have been quite a bit nicer and a lot less crowded. We were already starting to feel the restrictions of an organized tour/cruising but it was only a few nights so no big deal.
While on our balcony we saw a boat pull up to the ship offering to sell dried fish. A couple of Chinese men a few balconies over from us bought some from the guy. It was so funny to see him hoist the fish up to them in a net and then the Chinese men took the fish out and put the money in the net for the boat man. Later on while chatting with our dinner partners, they said they could smell fish in the hallway near their room – funny but not so funny for them!
We cruised through some very beautiful scenery and enjoyed passing through the gorges.
At one of the stops, instead of taking the guided tour we decided to just stroll around on our own.
We did a little side boat trip in the afternoon up the Goddess Stream. Although the scenery was fantastic the boats they used were not, they had a roof on them so trying to view the tops of the mountains was not easy and I had to hang out the window to see. On the way back we managed to get a seat at the back in the open.
The tiny rock jutting out on the right is the Goddess Peak.
Believe it or not they are building a lift up the side of the mountain to the airport for the people that live along the river.
It’s sad that the Yangtze River is so polluted. We saw people in boats stopping at islands of debris and picking out cans, plastic bottles, and wood. Maybe the river was in better shape before they built the Three Gorges Dam? Apparently the dam was necessary because the river was so dangerous and there was such severe flooding. 300,000 people have been killed by flooding on the Yangtze in the last decade.
We went through the ship locks at 10PM and even though it was dark it was cool to see. We had five of them to go through but only stayed awake for one, once you see it once then you get the drift.
The next morning we woke up and the boat was docked in front of this temple and from our balcony I watched the locals practice Tai Chi.
After breakfast we toured the Three Gorges Dam. It was so hazy that we could barely see the dam but we could tell that it’s huge. It’s the worlds largest hydro-power project. It was sad to hear the stories of the number of people that were displaced because of this dam and how they had to leave their villages and move elsewhere. We had a good view of the ship locks from here which I found more interesting than the dam.
At first I thought they meant ‘no thunderstorms allowed’ but by the picture I think they meant ‘stay away during a thunderstorm’.
The captains dinner was a fun time and how can you not have fun with free flowing champagne? We met some really nice people on the cruise and enjoyed each others stories of travel and adventure.
Who we cruised with: Century Sun
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel