Stadiums, Seafood, and Stairs
Trip Start Apr 16, 2010
25Trip End Jul 24, 2010
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We left the last blog just before we headed off to the Bird's Nest and Aquadrome Olympic venues. The Bird's Nest really was a magnificant sight, and as dusk settled the red floodlights made it glow warmly. Unfortunately we had high hopes of swimming in the Aquadrom but it was closed when we arrived, so we settled for an ice cream outside.
Our last day in Beijing saw Stef, accompanied by Tim, headed off to find some antibiotics to fight off the lasting effects of Delhi Belly while Ollie and Dan had a more relaxed morning in our favourite local Tea Shop
We embarkered on our first intercity train experience and China rather puts Network Rail to shame here unfortunately - a 330km/hr bullet train whipped us to Tianjin in a mere 30mins, while we enjoyed the comforts of a lot of leg room and comfy seats. A far cry from the trains back home. Our arrival in Tianjin was a little less smooth, and after a lot of pointing and fruitless negotiations our taxi driver managed to find our hostel. We learnt that we shouldve had the hostel phone number - taxi man was not a happy chappy.
That evening we ventured toward the famous 'Food Street' in the city, and we were greeted by a tumult of restaurants lined with tanks containing all sorts of seafood ranging from sea snake to snail, lobster to toad. We were rather bemused and took a while deciding what to do, eventually settling on a small restaurant
Travelling has been full of surreal experiences and the following day was no exception. By sheer coincidence we discovered that a good friend from Guildford, Rufus was in the same city visiting his brother and sister-in-law. A couple of emails the night before and a few texts later we were all sitting down for a lovely roast duck and it felt like we could've been back home. We spent the afternoon at his brother's apartment before heading out for dinner. We ate by far the best meal we've had here in China, and were very grateful for Rufus' brother and sister-in-law for treating us.
Our next stop on our China route is here in Taishan
The next morning (today) we were greeted by a 7:30am alarm to see Taishan's main attraction - a temple on top of a mountain. The 14km round trip was no mean feat, with around 6000 very steep (seeming vertical) stairs and high temperatures. At times it really did seem never-ending but like the warriors that we are we made it! It was a massive achievement and we enjoyed a nice picnic with a marvelous backdrop overlooking Taishan.
We took a little shortcut on the route down, getting a cable car for half the distance. Nevertheless it still took us a while to reach basecamp, even with some interesting dance routines on the stairs to pass the time. We are feeling the effects of such a trek now though, with some stiff muscles and aching joints. It really was incredible and Tim even suggested that it might have been one of his favourite days while travelling so it must've been good
Tomorrow sees us have a relaxing day here, before going on a 16 hour sleeper train to Xi'an. We hope we definately have a bed this time and aren't camping in the corridor (3 hours was just about bearable）Thanks for all the comments so far - we love reading them so keep them coming.