Beijing or bust!
Trip Start Dec 08, 2006
48Trip End Apr 27, 2007
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Not only a culture shock, but a climate shock! Arrived in thick fog and only realised we had landed when the rubber hit the ground! Our taxi pick up from the airport had broken down so we relaxed in a typical Chinese way drinking Cappuccinos and Hot Chocolates at Starbucks! Our hotel Lu Song Yuan in Beijing's Hutong was a stunning jewel. We were all so excited to be staying in an old courtyard building with red lanterns and old Chinese furniture. Our rooms opened up to beautiful balconies overlooking one of the many courtyards. It was however rather nippy for the balcony! (thanks Sarah and Russell for this lovely recommendation). Our first morning we were greeted by falling snow and freezing conditions, it looked beautiful but we were somewhat underdressed (shorts & flip flops were not the deal!). Off to the shops for a winter makeover!! (Beijing department stores not for the feint hearted). We emerged well wrapped up and somewhat warmer to take on Red Lantern Day (last day of Chinese new year) The temperature was now -7 C with a biting wind factor (our clothes are not warm enough) Much to all of our enjoyment the end of the new year was being celebrated all around us by Kamikaze fire crackers being lit and let off in all directions!...
Our visit to the Forbidden City was incredible but the weather bitter. Karen & the children nearly aborted the trip due to frozen extremities and general freezing, however, the day was unexpectedly saved. In the centre of the Forbidden City, well disguised as a palace building, was a......Starbucks!! Hot chocolate all round thawed the bodies and lifted the spirits! A strange and surreal experience, but a lifesaver enabling us all to experience the City and Tiananmen Square.
Monday 6th March, Jack's 5th Birthday: An early start for pressies followed by an adventure packed day to the Great Wall of China. We walked and we walked. Breathtaking, words can't describe it but the photos help! Abi, Imi and Jack were true troupers and covered incredible distance and terrain, but what fun they had in the snow! Karen & the kids took the Cable Car down with weary limbs in need of hot noodle soup! Steve on his winter sports package jogged a few more Great Wall miles and took the speedy Toboggan ride down!... But the day was not finished (Imi & Jack were though!) We visited the Ming Tombs and a "quick walk" around The Ding Ling tomb....A satisfying, but exhausting day.
A fabulous afternoon was spent exploring "our" area, the Hutong, with the shops, tiny streets and restaurants, which brings us on to the food during our stay.... Amazing.. Noodles, poodles (well maybe not!), Duck, Birds nest soup and much more, all delicious and we are now pretty handy with the chop sticks!
Goodbye Beijing, our Chinese adventures continue with our overnight "soft sleeper" train to the ancient city of Pingyao.....
Beijing West Train station: No one queues, everyone takes photos of us, especially the children! As` for the spitting and toilets...ask us about it later! However, we love this incredible experience and are having lots of laughs!!!