Just beautiful, Days 301-307
In Xiangcheng we get to know the Tibetan culture. In the evening, young and old meet at the village square at 19: 00-20: 00. One group dances to traditional music, another marches with its prayer chain several rounds around a sacred pillar (Kora), others push the prayer wheels as they pass, and some simply watch the action. The music sounds from a speaker and the bells ring from the prayer wheels. It is a very peaceful and happy mood.
Since the direct route from Xiangcheng to Sangdui is under construction, we take the detour via Daocheng and ride 40 kilometers back. Early at 17:00 o’clock we stopp cycling, because we find a great place to sleep on 3800müM and do not want to stay too high. We enjoy the evening and crawl into the tent early. At night we marvel at the beautiful and near starry sky.
The 4700müM pass is the target for the day. The Chinese have done a great job, because the road is very bike friendly with many curves and built with a pleasant gradient. So we are surprised when we are suddenly on top of the pass. We continue cycling, fly on the super new surface and pass the simple huts of the nomads who live here in the summer with their yaks, horses, sheep and pigs. At an old monastery with gold-decorated roof we stop. A monk leads us into the courtyard and into the splendid prayer room where there are three large golden statues. The exceptionally large monk, almost the same size as Andi, invites us to yak butter tea with yak cheese and tsampa (a kind of bread porridge) in the monastery kitchen. In the village of Mula we stop in the village restaurant, where we are admired by the curious children. On the high plateau of 4100müM we set up our camp.
After a cold night, we are glad to be warmed by the warm sun. The plateau leads up to 4500müM and reminds us of a valley in Uri, Switzerland. It follows a breezy descent through a desert-like landscape to Daocheng, where we enjoy a Sichuan dish. But this is too oily for our taste. In the evening we arrive in Sangdui, where the greengrocer throws us a mandarin and presents us with watermelon pieces. The people are really friendly.
Two high passes are on the agenda. The area is very nice. We see marmots that never whistle, a species of wild chickens and hares. It starts raining on the rabbit mountain pass 4696m asl, almost snowing a bit. On the downhill we get wet. After 5 hours of cycling we arrive in Jiawa. From there it is only 29km to Litang. On the last pass before Litang in front of a monastery we meet two monks. They are enthusiastic about our bicycles, but especially about the color of our bikes. We are celebrating another jubilee: 12,000 kilometers.
In Litang on our hotel marathon we come across a Tibetan family, which unfortunately have no room for us, but invites us for tea. In a large bowl, a monk prepares “Tsampa” and shapes it into pyramids. This is for the upcoming celebration and for Buddha.
Max elevation: 4668 m
Min elevation: 2693 m
Total climbing: 4958 m
Total descent: -3899 m