Before The Silk Road

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July 11th 2015
Published: July 18th 2015
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Our overland journey from Tokyo to London started with a flight (!) to Hong Kong, hopefully we'll be able to stay on the ground from here on. After spending a few days there with friends we headed across the border to catch a D train from Shenzhen to Hangzhou. The Chinese high speed rail network is impressive - although the build quality and maintenance of some of the stations is a bit iffy the trains themselves are fast, smooth and comfortable with great onboard service.

Hangzhou is one of China's most popular tourist destinations and it showed, everywhere was busy, bustling and noisy, especially around the West Lake. We managed to find some peace and quiet with a hike through the mountains (hills really) to the famous LongJing (Dragon Well) tea village. It reminded us in some ways of wine growing regions - everything depends on one crop which is planted in almost every available piece of land. The village itself has a nice atmosphere and plenty of places to taste and buy the tea. We found a nice lady with a courtyard to sit in to drink ours.

From there it was a short train journey to Shanghai for a few days where we caught the end of the rainy season, it was chilly too.

Next up was Beijing. We hit it lucky with the weather and the smog, much of the time we could actually see see blue sky !!! We'd done some research into which section of the wall we wanted to visit, the important things for us were to be away from hordes of tourists and to be able to hike some unrestored sections, we found that at Mutianyu.

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