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September 27th 2019
Published: December 4th 2019
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27th Sept: A lunchtime train got me in to Dalian in the early evening. The train ride was quote annoying as it was just so noisy. The subway into the city and to where I was staying took about an hour. It was easy to find my hostel and I was impressed by how nice it was, even if I did get lost in the labrynith like corridors. After dumping my stuff I headed out to meet a friends that lives in the city. I loved the location of my hostel, right by the water. I liked that the surrounding area was all lit up. It looked really
pretty and reminded me a bit of Busan. My friend soon arrived and we headed off to get some dinner. He recommended a place about a 15-20 minute walk away. We headed along the coast. It was nice to be at the beach again. We came to one of the main squares in Dalian, Xinghai Square, but we didn't take a look around as we were headed for food and drinks. We went to a German place called Lenbach, which has outdoor seating right on the water. We spent the evening catching up. The bar/restaurant was great. I enjoyed the German beer and the food was really good, too. We had a great bread basket that had different types of delicious German bread in it and came with proper butter and pate. I think I died and went to heaven right there, I don't think I've had legit pate in Asia before. We also had a sausage, mash and sauerkraut platter, which was really good and spaetzle, a noodle dish with beef. I was rather full on my walk back to the hostel. There were quite a few people out and about enjoying the warmish evening. I stopped to take lots of photos of the bridge as it kept changing color, very pretty. Also, at one of the small beaches, I couldn't resist taking off my trainers and socks and dipping my feet in the water. There were a few people by the water's edge, but no one was taking a dip. I was quite surprised that the water wasn't freezing. I had expected it to be cold, but it was rather pleasant.

28th Sept: I woke up early and headed down to the Starbucks under my hostel for breakfast. It was a nice, sunny day, so I decided to sit outside with my breakfast. While the view of the water and the bridge was nice, it was far too hot as I was right under the glare of the sun. Also, I was too stubborn to move inside, so baked in the sun, while eating my tuna panini and drinking my iced coffee. My friend turned up and after a coffee, headed to the park next to us for a walk around. The park was nice, filled with people early in the morning. It was nice to be next to the beach, too. After making our way through the park, we took the subway to take a look around a different part of Dalian.

We got off the subway at Zhongshan Square. This area is the older part of Dalian and a contrast to the area I'm staying in, which is a lot newer. We took a walk around the square and I was surprised that it was actually quite quiet. We took the underground passage to the roads leading off the square. The buildings surrounding the square are all very old and historic. This part of China has influences from the Russians and the Japanese in its architecture. We headed to the Russian and Japanese streetd but they were a bit underwhelming. We didn't know which ones were which and there wasn't any English signage. There was no information abot the houses or their history. It would have been nice to find out more about the area and the previous uses and occupants of the houses. Also, those that appeared to have been converted into cafes and restuarants were all closed, which I thought was a bit weird for a Saturday morning.

We took a cab back across town and headed to a Yunnan restaurant for lunch. In all my time living in China, I have never had Yunnanese cuisine, so I was excited to try it. Some of the dishes were typical of what I have had elsewhere in China, such as meatballs and green beans with pork. We ordered a pineapple rice that was similar to dishes that I've had a Thai restaurants, but this one was made with sticky rice. We also had a pork and lemongrass dish, which was similar to a Thai pork dish I often get. We also got a spicy tofu soup that was yummy. Yunnanese cuisine is definitely a hit with me. The rest of the day was spent chilling under the air con as it was really hot out. In the evening, we ventured out for a BBQ, which was nice and relaxing.

29th Sept: I headed back to Starbucks for breakfast but decided to sit indoors to escape the sun's glare. An iced coffee and a ham and cheese croissant filled me up nicely. We had decided that we were going to do a hike, so we headed off to where the trail would start. We walked along the coast, like we had the otner evening. It was nice to see the place in the daytime, but the pollution was pretty bad so the bridge was shrouded in haze. We took a walk through Xinghai Square, which was quite nice. We followed the road away from the coast and headed inland. We came to a place known locally as 'The Castle' because it looks like a castle, but is in fact a hotel and luxury apartment complex. Opposite it was a shopping complex, that looked abandoned, so much of China is like this, places that could be functioning and profitable, but instead look like they've been left to rot. We started hiking up the hill, hoping we were going in the right direction. It was a really hot day and I was suffering from the heat. I'm glad I had some water with me. The path is next to a pretty busy road and with the pollution obscuring the view, not the prettiest or most back to nature hike, I've done. Luckily, it wasn't too steep. We came to the top of the hill and, of course, couldn't see the view we were meant to because of the pollution. We left the road and followed the trail up a hill and then found a nice seating area to relax at and stop sweating for a bit. We continued on and came to a beach. This beach was quite busy and it was nice to take a walk along it. It reminded me of Qingdao. We took the path at the edge of the beach that lead us up and around the coast to the next beach. This one was a lot smaller and had fewer people. There were a group of Chinese men there, that looked like they lived at the beach, they had killer tans. It was a bit of a bugger walking along this beach as the sand wasn't as compact as the other beach making every step more difficult. This beach came to an end and since we could return to the other beach or head on out, we headed up the hill away from the beach. We decided we'd had enough, we must have had done quote a few kilometres, but we were too hot and sweaty to continue to the end, so we followed the road back intp the city and flagged down the first passing cab we saw.

We headed into the mall and to a place that my friend recommended called 'Blue Frog'. It's kind of like a nice pub/bar meal type place. I was surprised at how quiet the place was, as it was a Sunday afternoon I thought it would be chocker. Maybe the prices put people off as it is rather expensive. The menu is rather extensive and I decided that I would have a burger, but the choices, oh so many choices! In the end, I went for the four cheese burger which came with fries. I ordered it medium and it was a little underdone, but I still enjoyed it. My blue cheese consumption definitely suffers living in Asia. After all the hiking, I still had room for dessert. We decided to split a couple of dessert and ordered the brownie squares with ice cream and blueberry cheesecake. Both desserts were outstanding, but the cheesecake was definitely my favourite. I love cheesecake and this one did not disappoint. After that, it was back to the hostel to chill. I quite liked Dalian. I didn't really see or do too much there, so definitely have that as a good excuse to visit in the future.

Additional photos below
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Zhongshan Square
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Zhongshan Square

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