We left Tokyo on October 2 for Beijing. We met up with our good friends, Dan and Dee Jones at Narita Airport. Upon arrival in Beijing our tour guide, Wendy, and our driver took us to our hotel. On the drive in she told us about herself and then mentioned that because it was a holiday week there were 7 million domestic visitors in Beijing. We saw many of them as we toured around Beijing on Friday and Saturday. Friday we began with a visit to Tiannanmen Square and Wendy informed us that everyone got their picture taken near the picture of “Chairman Mao.”
Wendy told us that we needed to have Peking duck while we were there and so we asked her to make a reservation for us. We had two choices, the one that most tourists go to or the local one. We chose the local one and invited her to come along with us. Everything was duck!! Duck served a million , well not a million maybe 10 to 15 different ways. I generally choose not to eat duck yet I really liked most of the dishes. Duck soup has something to be desired, though. The sweet and sour duck was delicious, probably because the sweet and sour sauce masked the duck flavor. It was a good meal, we had a private dining room and were the only foreigners there.
Sunday was a day of rest. We met with one of the English branches in the morning and had some down time in the afternoon. That evening we had dinner and walked around the area near the hotel.
Monday we visited the Lama Temple and the Summer Palace and I was commenting how I liked these two locations the best. In the end I decided that all the domestic visitors had gone home on Sunday and by Monday it wasn’t as crowded. That’s why I liked them best.
After Beijing we flew to Xian. After checking at the Shangri-la Golden Flower Hotel, we went to see the city wall. It was quite phenomenal! The entire wall is intact and the circumference is 14 kilometers. It is quite wide with guard towers close enough together to cover anyone trying to attack. It has been maintained really well. Although the day was very rainy, as you can see in the pictures, we really enjoyed climbing up and looking at this city wall.
The next day we went to see the Terracotta Warriors. It was quite quite interesting to see the complete excavation. It’s incredible to think that one man thought so highly of himself that he would cause people to work so hard to create this army to protect him when he was dead!!! The area that they are found in is huge.
We ended the trip with a boat ride down the Li River near Guilin and our final stop was Shanghai. Here are some pictures to finish this incredibly long post:
One of the fun things we did in Shanghai was to spend Sunday evening with the Allgaiers. We know them from London. We enjoyed a delicious meal and had a great time catching up with them. Their darling girls are growing up so quickly and they seem to be enjoying Shanghai and learning to speak Chinese.