Now in the unappealing industrial town of Hua De, Inner Mongolia. Communication is proving very erratic, hence the lack of blog posts (I have written some but have not been able to publish them or download photos) and apparently my Thuraya Locate points have not got through. E-mail contact comes and goes without warning!
We have been following a quiet country road through some lovely country, varying from open grassland with cows and small flocks of sheep with attendant shepherds, to yellow and green bands of cereal crops or neatly planted cabbages and potatoes, bounded by belts of poplar and birch. Thankfully we have been able to ride the whole way on earth tracks or grass verges. Occasionally we pass through little mud or red brick villages with sunflowers in the courtyards, the odd pig snuffling around and donkeys or mules tied up to graze on the outskirts. Inevitably we collect a small crowd of curious and friendly locals, who are amazed to see a foreigner in their neck of the woods, particularly on a horse!
Unfortunately my back has been playing up and Li Jing is also not well, so we have been taking it easy though we covered about 33kms today. Over the last few days we have stayed in a friendly farmhouse, a hotel in Kang Bao (with very welcome hot shower cubicles downstairs!) and in an empty schoolhouse - heaven for the horses since they had a whole grassy yard to themselves.