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Fenghuang – Days 5 and 6

We hopped on the 7:49am train to Jishou 35 minutes later than originally scheduled. Once on board, Schäfer had a wonderful time playing with the kids in the seat next to us. We arrived in Jishou, stepped off the train and saw twenty people holding signs pointing toward the bus station which has buses to Fenghuang.

An hour and RMB15/person later, we found ourselves in the ancient Miao minority village of Fenghuang.  Sandra had to take a moment to recover from the one lane, bumpy road adventure experience that the bus driver provided.

Nowadays, Fenghuang is a backpacker haven of bars, tourist shops and more tourist shops. We came for the traditional architecture.

We planned on perhaps staying two days here, but in the end we saw all of Fenghuang in 24 hours.

The special dish of the area is a type of smoked ham. (We have it in Yichang, too.)

The first day we walked around in the afternoon and took a boat ride down the river. Here our boat man gets his boat ready for us.

Schäfer loved paddling.

After the boat ride, Schäfer hopped in this old rickshaw. For a fee you can be pulled for a couple hundred meters.


By the way, Hunan province is famous for their red chili peppers. Every restaurant table is filled with options to spice up your life.

The alleyways of ancient Fenghuang, while filled with tourist shops, are still neat to look at.

The houses along the river have their decks held up by poles.


Stepping across the river.

At night, one of the streets become a colossal buffet of kebab vendors.

That evening, after Schäfer was in bed, Hubs went out to get some night shots. He spent most of the time maneuvering through crowds of tourists. Although quite small, Fenghuang is a popular destination for travelers.


By the next morning, all was quiet again.

The streets were empty.

All the shops were closed.

The water was undisturbed.

And for a few brief moments, Fenghuang felt like the old Miao minority village again.

The next day, we walked around the old city where Schäfer found the Fenghuang firetruck. He would have climbed up on top had we not stopped him!


Ginger taffy pullers were everywhere. It was a hard taffy that was spicy and gingery.

On our way out of the old city, Schäfer stopped to listen to some blind musicians. He listened for probably 20 minutes.

Fenghuang is the kind of place where you take a break to sip some tea…

Fenghuang might inspire some poetry…

Thanks for the fun pictures, Fenghuang!

That evening, we took the 4 hour bus back to ZhangJiaJie. The one land road hosted an alarming number of water buffaloes and geese roaming about freely. None of this was a concern to our driver.

We had the kind of bus ride where we definitely planned on everyone taking a nap, but instead the person sitting on my right was so excited to make a new friend and so we talked.

After the long bus ride, we felt that Schäfer needed to get his energy out so we went to McDonalds for supper. Yes, marketing works. We chose it for the play area. Sandra got a simple grilled chicken sandwich and don’t you know it made her sick for days.  I’m thinking that chicken might have been sitting there for a while. So once again, we go to McDonalds and someone ends up sick.

The next morning, we headed to the train station. We had the most interesting conversation with a taxi driver who was trying to adopt a little girl. He and his wife already had a son and they were completely open to adopting a girl, but they needed to “improve their relationships” so they could adopt. Meaning, they needed connections to get the paperwork moving.

Once the taxi pulled into the station Hubs asked, “Did I pack Raffe?” Oh no. Schäfer and I went into the train station while Hubs went back to the hotel. Of course, Raffe was still in bed wrapped tightly in the comforter!

Alas, it was time to head back to Yichang. We cut out a few more paper vehicles to play with.

When we got on the train, we ran into a few of Hubs bike club friends who were also in ZhangJiaJie.  The upper bunks on our return home were empty, so Schäfer enjoyed climbing into them!

Sandra: What was your favorite part of vacation?
Schäfer: Riding on the train.

A wonderful and short vacation!

8 comments to Fenghuang – Days 5 and 6

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