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Published: October 22nd 2008
(Day 197 on the road)
I am back in China, and it feels great! There are two reasons for coming back here: 1) I want to do a crazy plank walk on the south peak of Hua Shan, a mountain close to the city of Xi'an, and 2) as I want to avoid flying as much as possible on my trip and my next stop is Vietnam, going through China from Korea is the only way to get there really.
So I arrived in China in the seaside city of Qingdao by overnight ferry from Incheon in Korea, and checked into an awesome youth hostel located in a former church. Compared to the hostels in Japan and Korea, I found the hostels here in China to be truly amazing, with great facilities and typically a very nice atmosphere. Qingdao is famous for its German architecture, as the city used to be a German colony at the turn of the last century. The Germans have surly left their mark on the city, as can be seen in the numerous buildings dotted around the old part of the city. Today, Qingdao is a strange mixture of old European architecture, socialist-communist buildings and the
high-tech design that characterises modern Chinese buildings.
One of the first things I did in China however was to indulge in food. I walked the area around my hostel sampling as much street food and fresh fruits (mostly dragonfruit and watermelon, for me two of the greatest fruits ever) as possible. On one of these walks I passed a big seafood market, and at one of the stalls I filled up on fresh oysters until I thought I had to throw up. The lady was opening them right in front of me, they could not have been fresher! All in all, I must have had 15 or 20 oysters, and the total bill came to about 0,30 EUR. The same thing in Europe would have cost somewhere between 20 or 30 EUR, unbelievable.
Of course I also had a look at the some of the major sights of the city, but had to cut my visit short a bit: All the trains for the next four days to Xi'an were booked out solid, and the only available seat was on the train the next day. They could only give me a hard seat but no bed, so with a 22h overnight journey I was getting ready for a rough ride. Qingdao was a very agreeable city, and I regretted having to leave so hastily. I could have easily spend a few days in the city, just wandering its pretty, atmospheric streets.
Next stop: Climbing Hua Shan (Shaanxi Provice, China).
To view my photos, have a look at pictures.beiske.com
. And to read the full account of my journey, have a look at the complete book about my trip at Amazon
(and most other online book shops).
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