Page 4 of MarkandLara Travel Blog Posts


Asia September 7th 2014

Another sleeper train has taken us from the humid heat of Shanghai to misty rain in Xi'an. This train came with the added feature of a button on the wall of the corridor to control the loud and cheesy piped Chinese music, and is packed with students and others traveling to see family for the annual moon festival. This also explains the mystery giant queues at Shanghai cake shops, everyone was buying "moon cakes" for the weekend... We've just been for a rather damp walk around the Muslim quarter of Xi'an - it's full of little stalls selling souvenirs and food which smelt lovely, and the traders didn't hassle us at all. We also went round the great mosque, which wasn't all that dissimilar in style to some of the temples in Beijing. Tomorrow we're going ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai September 5th 2014

After a Chinese breakfast of rice porridge (nice), steamed dumplings and toast (spreading margarine with chopsticks works quite well...) we set off on the metro for the maglev station. We did a return trip on the maglev train to Pudong airport - 8 mins each way and a maximum speed of 431km/h. It's impressive, although it wobbles a bit disconcertingly! After a trip round the museum that explains how it was built we headed to the area of Shanghai with lots of skyscrapers and a big mall with lots of expensive shops. We paid an extortionate amount to go to the 100th floor of the World Financial Centre building for a great, but slightly hazy, view over the city. In the afternoon we went to the Shanghai museum, which was interesting and not too big! This ... read more
430 km/h
Maglev tracks
Oriental pearl tower

Asia » China » Shanghai September 4th 2014

We arrived in Shanghai this morning on the overnight train. For a hard sleeper, it was a surprisingly comfortable journey. We were in a compartment with six bunks, and mostly slept between lights out at 10pm and arrival at Nanjing just before 7. The toilets, however, were pretty disgusting... We got to Shanghai at 11ish, after passing lots of towns and cities with high rise buildings. In Shanghai, we've walked along the Bund with its European-style buildings and view of the skyscrapers in Pudong and visited the Yuyuan gardens. This evening we went on a boat down the river, with both sides impressively illuminated. Definitely time for bed now though!... read more
Shanghai
Shanghai
Yuyuan gardens

Asia » China » Beijing September 3rd 2014

Woke up to a sunny day - both the rain and smog have gone! Caught the bus to Tiananmen square again, but this time went to Mao's memorial hall. The queue - once you're through security into the square - moves quickly. They sell individually wrapped flowers for 3 yuan that people pile in front of a big statue of Mao just inside the door, with him seated looking towards the forbidden city. From there you are ushered quickly past a glass box with Mao, body covered but face brightly lit. Quite a bizarre experience.... read more

Asia » China » Beijing September 2nd 2014

Today we went back to Tiananmen square, and walked around in the rain. Thankfully there was less rain than last night when we got totally drenched despite waterproofs and umbrellas! After Tiananmen square we went on a tour of the forbidden city, which is really quite impressive. Lots of elaborate buildings and courtyards, but it must have been a really odd place in the past when half the residents were the emperor's concubines. After the tour, we stayed in the forbidden city and explored the extensive gardens and many further courtyards - it really is huge. Yesterday we got a view over the forbidden city from the hill in Jingshan park, and you could see the massive scale of it compared to other landmarks. In the late afternoon we went to yonghegong, the lama temple. Built ... read more
Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Forbidden City

Asia » China » Beijing September 1st 2014

We were up at 6am to head to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. We got a minibus out of the city and into the hills in the north. At Mutianyu we climbed up to the wall, up some very steep steps into the cloud. The wall is spectacular, and as we walked along it more watchtowers emerged out of the mist. We were there early enough to see the wall with nobody else on it, and it got busier during the morning.... read more
The Great Wall

Asia » China » Beijing August 30th 2014

We seem to have almost adjusted to the time zone, and were up at 6.30 this morning. We headed out of the city center to the summer palace, an amazing park full of elaborate buildings, high arch bridges and a big lake - it was so smoggy you could barely see the other side! We walked a long way, and Lara took a lot of photos... From there we headed to the even smoggier Olympic park, seeing the birds nest stadium and water cube. We ate dinner in the city center, wandering through a few hutongs and massive shopping centers after dinner.... read more
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace

Asia August 29th 2014

We decided to venture out this afternoon to try and fight the jet lag, so we got the metro to the Temple of Heaven. It's a big park with lots of individual temple buildings with some impressive paintwork. Lots of local people were using the park to play something that was a cross between badminton and football, cards or board games. Definitely worth a visit for ¥35 and ¥2 each way on the metro, which was very straightforward.... read more
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven

Asia » China » Beijing August 29th 2014

Just a quick update to say we arrived safely this morning and found our hotel. Internet connection is very slow so we don't seem to be able to send email for now.... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London August 24th 2014

We're not going for another four days, but we're looking forward to our trip to China so much that our bags are nearly packed!... read more




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