A Travellerspoint blog

Day 20

Beijing

semi-overcast 21 °C

As a change of pace today we spent the day at the Beijing Amusement park. Not quite Disneyland but plenty of roller coasters to keep us amused for the day.
Tonight we made dumplings for our dinner at the hotel we are staying at.

Posted by mayet 07:21 Archived in China Comments (0)

Day 19

Beijing

sunny 21 °C

It's 7:30am and we are off to the Great Wall. The bus trip to the wall is about 2 hours. We get 3 hours to spend hiking on the wall which is hard work, the stairs going up and down are endless. An amazing experience.

Posted by mayet 07:16 Archived in China Comments (0)

Day 18

Beijing

sunny 20 °C

We make and early start today to go to the Forbidden City. It is a holiday for the mid autumn festival and everywhere is crowded.
The Forbidden City is spread out over 720,000sqm and to see all of it fully you would need about 3 days. We only spend a few hours here heading towards the opposite end to Jingshan Park.
When the moat was dug out around the Forbidden City the soil was used here to construct a huge hill which is now Jingshan Park. After climbing the many stairs to the top you gat a great view of the roof tops of the Forbidden City and the surrounding areas of Beijing.
We continue to head north to Qianhai Lake and have dinner by the lake in time for the sunset. The area looks very pretty all lit up at night.
On the way back to Tiananmen square have no choice but to use the public toilets which is a squatter, no doors and the partitions are only 3 foot high, you can wave to the person next to you. And of course there is no toilet paper.
Tiannanmen square is very busy as the government of put on a special flower display using many 1000's of potted plants. There is also 2 of the biggest tv screens I have ever seen showing a live telecast of an opera playing at the Beijing theatre. As in every other part of China we have visited quite a few people ask to have their photo taken with us. ( it's the blond hair and blue eyes )
Tomorrow we are off to the great wall!

Posted by mayet 07:44 Archived in China Comments (0)

Day 17

Beijing

sunny 20 °C

Today we are on our way to Beijing. We are booked on the 8:30am train on a hard seat and will arrive in Beijing at 2:30pm. The train is packed and we are the only westerners on our carriage. All the Chinese people bring plastic bags full of food and from start to finish everybody is eating. We only bought a bottle of water and a deck of cards.
After we arrive at our hotel which is a traditional style courtyard hostel we jump on the subway to Wangfujing, a famous snack street. The subway is jammed packed due to the peak hour rush and we are literally packed in like sardines, butt cheek to butt cheek. To get out at our stop Mayet has to drag me out by the arm through the crush, much to the amusement of everyone on the train.
On the snack street all the vendors are yelling out for you to try their food, everything and anything is skewered. You can try snake, scorpion, beetles, silkworm, whole tiny baby ducks and an assortment of other lovely things. I stick with the toffee fruit which somehow ends up all over me. The smell of the tofu cooking is horrendous and makes eating anything hard work.

Posted by mayet 07:15 Archived in China Comments (0)

Day 16

Datong

rain 18 °C

Today we are off early to join the tour to see the Yungang Caves and the Hanging Monastery. It is pouring and we get a late start due to the traffic, all the roads have quickly become flooded.
The Yungang caves are over 1500 years old and contain 51000 statues. There is a total of 252 caves of which we only saw about 30. The most impressive cave contains a 17m high seated Buddha. The caves took over 60 years to build and is pretty spectacular.
Next stop is the Hanging Monastery, which is built into the side of the cliff supported by long stilts. This is really one of those places you have see to believe. We climbed to the very top and looked in the rooms that the monks used to sleep in. Small verandas are at the front of the rooms and the railings are very low, it wouldn't be too hard to fall to your death. As it was such a windy day we didn't go too close to the edge.
The drive home in the mini van was hair raising, about 30km of winding road up and down the mountain with a lunatic for a driver. Countless times the driver would overtake someone on a bend or hill with no idea if anyone was coming in the opposite direction and most of the time someone was. He would then quickly zip back in our own lane with just inches to spare. And this is how everyone was driving, countless time we held our breath as we waited for the car or bus hurtling towards us to get back in their own lane.
Having already checked into our new hotel in the morning it was nice to get back and warm up after a cold and wet day. The Holiday inn was brilliant and very fancy, a lot nicer than the ones at home. And anything we have stayed at in China.

Posted by mayet 07:13 Archived in China Comments (1)

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