Our ship - Holland America 'Westerdam' Many of our cruises have been on Holland America ships but this one seems to have had an upgrade in some rooms. Where once the TV's were tiny little things sitting on a desk, the wall artwork previously in place has now been replaced by big screen TV's - even bigger than our TV at home with much better clarity as well. I suppose the technology of a 2 year old TV is superior to the 10-15 year old TV's one would think?? Our bathroom has also had an overhaul - previously a shower over the bath and a single hand basin, we now have a separate shower only and a double vanity bench. Things are looking up!
A day at sea yesterday through the South China Sea from Shanghai. Lots of small fishing boats out there as we cruised through, probably from both Japan on one side and South Korea on the other. An interesting dusk helicopter retrieval for a very sick patient who had to be airlifted off. We have a large tv in our room and watched the whole thing on the forward camera. Ship had to stop, turn into the wind and no-one allowed on decks or the forward bar areas. Calm seas, smooth sailing so far.
An interesting visit today to what is supposedly an older area of Shanghai but actually known as a tourist spot - (Tsiangzifang) loads of alleyways, tiny stores, some interesting items and Annie Robinson, that cute little doll you were given, found where they are made! They are gorgeous!
A bite to eat in a beer garden then ‘let’s get out if these alleys!’ Very busy and crammed in like sardines.
On the bus at 8.00am and heading out of town to the Great Wall of China - a miserable day today - rain, mist, cold and all hoping that things might improve when we get to 'The Wall'. No such luck!
Not much to tell here as we eventually arrived - and headed up the cable car to the wall entrance, climbed a few steps - well about 100!!! and onto the actual wall. AMAZING VIEW!!!!!! The 10 feet in front of us was 'sort of clear' and after that couldn't see a thing!!!!
The Forbidden City in the centre of Beijing is our destination this morning - it's a dull day but no wind and a pleasant 22 or thereabouts.
Our hotel is close to the venue so we set off on foot and walked into the main south gate - a massive entrance on it's own (sorry forgot to mention that we are sharing this day with 3000 other Chinese tourists!!!!)
Just getting there was an exercise and a half! Missed the first flight from Brisbane to Sydney (not our fault - Qantas queues are diabolical!!!! - just scraped in the next one to make a mad dash to the Sydney Shanghai flight and finally sat down and relaxed! Whew! Made it! 10 1/2 hour flight on Qantas into Shanghai at 6.30pm, next flight to Shanghai dealyed till 1.30pm in the morning!!!! AHHHHHHH!HH!!!!!!!!
Arrived in Xi'an this afternoon and headed straight to the hotel from the airport. Great system this small group travel - boarding passes all ready for us on arrival at airports, all grab our bags and there's always a tour guide waiting for us at baggage claim whom we follow straight to our waiting bus. There's always a commentary from the tour group about welcoming us to their 'wonderful city' and what they have there plus an outline of our itinerary which is always good as we tend to just 'go with the flow'.