China

Xian

Xian

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.”

Picture with Mao at Tiananmen Square

Picture with Mao at Tiananmen Square

The picture of Mao is in the center of the building behind us.  We went through that building and entered the Forbidden City.  It was very crowded, but very interesting to see the different buildings that made up the Forbidden City.  It took us all morning to see it.  I think the crowds slowed us down considerably.  After lunch, we went to the Temple of Heaven where the emperors went to worship and offer sacrifices.
Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven Gate

Temple of Heaven Gate

After a visit to a silk factory we went back to the hotel.  We ate dinner that night at a Taiwanese restaurant.  Saturday we were of to one our our most anticipated destinations, the Great Wall.  It was quite a drive to get there, but we enjoyed the scenery and the small towns we drove through.  It was cloudy, but the rain didn’t really start up until we were almost down.  From the parking lot we climbed a hill and quite a few stairs to get to the tram.  The tram ride took just a few minutes and imagine our good fortune to be able to ride up in the tram car that took Bill Clinton to the top when he visited 🙂 !!!!  It actually gave us that information on the window of the car.  At the top we had a great view of the wall.  We walked along it and climbed up into some of the look out towers.  It was incredible and such a beautiful part of China.  Here are some pictures….
Great Wall

Great Wall

Rick on the Great Wall

Rick on the Great Wall

Me on the Great Wall

Me on the Great Wall

The Great Wall

The Great Wall

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.

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Street near the Lama Temple

Street near the Lama Temple

Scene from Summer Palace

Scene from Summer Palace

The Long Corridor

The Long Corridor

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.

City Wall

City Wall

View From Xian City Wall

View From Xian 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.

Terracotta Warriors Excavation

Terracotta Warriors Excavation

The Real Thing!

The Real Thing!

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:

Guilin, China

Guilin, China

Pearl of the Orient Tower Shanghai

Pearl of the Orient Tower Shanghai

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.

6 Comments

  1. China was one of the most unique places I have ever visited. I went to Hangzhou which is pretty far southeast of Beijing. I think I felt overwhelmed because I was traveling solo for work and my assigned translator was very obviously an amateur. I was also stressed about how I was going to give a presentation in English to an office full of people who couldn’t communicate with me. I learned that they would write down EVERY word that I said and then study my words later with their translation tools. I also learned that those employees would be some of the most dedicated employees I would ever meet.

    Anyway, I’d love to go back someday under less stressful circumstances and see some of the sights. Your pictures were a great reminder of my few days there.

  2. Love your pictures! Love your commentary as well! What a fun trip. I kept checking for pictures!

  3. Dad and Mum, I didn’t know samurais could smile, you two look too happy to be fightin battles…:)

  4. Wow! It all looks amazing, and it makes me think that being a gypsy isn’t have bad…I wish I could have been there, but I am glad you had lots of fun. China looks beautiful, the terracota soldiers are amazing, and man, I would love to set foot on the Great Wall someday. I miss you lots, and I am very excited to see you in…6 weeks, I think it is…I’ll be home for Christmas!!! Yipee!!!

  5. So we are not samurais!!!! We are terracotta warriors

  6. Awesome pictures! Looks like a great trip!

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