Our next stop in the Yunnan Province ended up being one of my favourite throughout our entire holiday. My ideal kind of holiday location involves stunning natural scenery, sunshine and delicious food. Lijiang ticked all of the above.
Lijiang in Chinese means "beautiful river" and refers to the Yangtze River which runs through it. Aside from sites like the Tiger Leaping Gorge (we saw it from the Shangrila side, not the Lijiang side) and the first bend of the Yangtze River, Lijiang has some amazing mountains and lakes.
Mystical Tibetan temple we 'found' at the top of Yak Meadow
We took a cable car up Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and whilst it was too foggy to see the Yak Meadow clearly, we did end up spotting some yaks. The weather wasn't perfect but if anything, it made the experience more mysterious and fun.
Completely unedited; can't even deal
At the foot of the mountain we checked out some incredible aqua lakes. I had never seen natural bodies of water that colour before and again, in conjunction with the fog it made every view simply magical.
To make it even better there was an unexplained random llama at the lakes
So far in our journey our main interactions had been with Tibetans and their local cuisine. Coming into Lijiang, the predominant minority culture group were the Naxi.
Authentic homestyle Naxi spread cooked my a lovely old local lady
Naxi style fried rice with pickles
Rice noodles for breakfast
More yak meat
Here, we experienced Naxi cuisine both at a restaurant in Lijiang Oldtown and in a friendly old Naxi lady's home. I ended up in a dance off with this lady and at over 70 years of age she had buckets more stamina and sass than I ever will.
Not sure what's in it but this was potent alcohol
It seems that everywhere we go, people can tell we're alcoholics and start offering up local booze to see how we'd react. Safe to say that's a fair assumption and we were never going to turn away interesting drinks.
'Plum wine' that could probably be used to disinfect surgical equipment
In Lijiang I was victim to some strange herbal concoction (very strong) and also, a "plum wine" that should be more accurately described as "vicious liquor that has a tiny suggestion of plum".
Some kind of stuffed naan thing that was amazing; we tried beef with pickled vegetable flavour
We stayed at Lijiang Old Town which was full of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and street food stalls. Marc and I delved into the street food on a number of occasions and loved it. The filled naan thing was so crispy and delicious we went back a second time.
Honorary mention goes to these grilled fish chips that were literally ordered and cooked in the middle of a giant lake. We were paddled out on a row boat, met a fisherman on his row boat, and haggled over and received our meal right then and there.
Mid-lake fish grilling station
I was skeptical about the fish but it was actually very delicious. They were so toasty and crunchy they could be eaten whole; and tossed with chili seasoning they made a very moreish snack.
I just wanted to include this tree because it's almost a thousand years old. That's nothing to be sneezed at!