FolkestoneJack's Tracks

In and out of Lanzhou

Posted in China, Lanzhou by folkestonejack on November 17, 2012

A surprisingly good night’s sleep bode well for what would be an ever so slightly strange day in transit. I got up around 7am and settled back to enjoy the views of the countryside in the run into Lanzhou – a steady diet of farmland, small villages and the occasional hilltop temple (even a giant ‘hero’ type statue at the top of one hill). Eventually, as we reached the outskirts of the city, this gave way to a large number of really tall residential skyscrapers (if the city was located in the UK it would be larger in population than everywhere except London). In the final approach to the city centre we crossed the Yellow River.

The landscape around Lanzhou

The landscape around Lanzhou

Our train finally arrived at 9.49am, about thirty minutes late, and from here we transferred to a bus for the 70km drive to the airport. The drive was interesting in itself, giving a view of the cave dwellings that abound in the hillsides, and in one place it looked as though they were dismantling a hilltop and replacing it with new highrise blocks (Edit: this sounds less silly having read the Guardian article China to flatten 700 mountains for new metropolis in the desert after my return!).

Lanzhou - on the banks of the Yellow River

Lanzhou – on the banks of the Yellow River

After reaching the airport we headed to a local restaurant for a meal before checking in for our flight (CA1272) from Lanzhou to Beijing. The flight was scheduled to take two hours and thirty minutes but somehow managed to depart five minutes early and arrive fifty minutes early! We promptly lost some of that time as we were bussed to the terminal, but even still it was good going.

The majority of the group still had plenty of travelling ahead of them – a second flight and another bus ride – but for me the travelling ended after a taxi ride to the Park Plaza in central Beijing (very reasonably priced at 85 Yuan). Finally, time to kick off my hiking boots and relax!

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Train K120 Lanzhou-Xi’an

Posted in China, Lanzhou by folkestonejack on February 25, 2009

After arriving at Lanzhou station we made our way through the obligatory security checks and then up to the soft sleeper waiting room, where we had quite a bit of time to kill before our train was ready to board. Only when our train had arrived were we allowed out onto the dark platforms and into our carriage.

The dark platform at Lanzhou

The dark platform at Lanzhou

Train K120

Train K120

The paper tickets we held were exchanged on board for plastic tokens (the paper tickets would be returned in the morning on our arrival in Xi’an). A slightly alien experience, but fine nevertheless.

The compartments contained four beds and seemed quite comfortable. I found myself a spot on a top bunk and settled in for the night, listening to the tales of my fellow travellers. I had been quite nervous about this aspect of the trip, not knowing what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. It was probably just as well, as there was another sleeper yet to come…

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