China

Apr 22. Great Wall of China

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!!!!

April 21 - Forbidden City - Beijing

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!!!!)

Apr 20. Fly Brisbane, Sydney, Shanghai, Beijing

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!!!!!!!!

Visit to the Shanghai Art Museum with its five floors of display rooms featuring themes such as jade, bronze and paintings. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, followed by an acrobatic show.

Travel to the canal and garden city of Suzhou, where you'll visit a silk factory to learn about the silk producing procedure. Then return to Shanghai this evening.

Transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Have just arrived in Shanghai – had one of those scary and very bumpy flights out of Xian – not something one want so remember!!!! ‘ Almost’ held Kemm’s hand……!

Now checked in to the Raddison right in the heart of Nanjing Rd in Shanghai – free from tour ‘duties’ tonight so we’re out of here!!! Lots to see!

Apr 28. Terracotta Warriors

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'.

Well the boat ride is finally over - cruises are fine but 4 days on that river boat was just long enough thank you!!!

The gorges we have travelled through on the boat for the past few days have really been spectacular and jaw-dropping sights to see - it was absolutely beautiful through the gorges section of the Yangtze River.

Group visit to Fengdu, known as the Ghost City for its gardens temples and statues of ghosts and devils. (Kemm and I didn't go - 'just another temple' and the weather is yuk!)

A much better sleep last night and I ‘think’ I am feeling a little better. After breakfast it’s off on a shore excursion again – this time via another ferry and up the “Minor 3 Gorges” (have to admit getting a little tired of gorges now!), but in reality, irrespective of ‘it’s just another gorge’, this really is an amazing place – the gorges are so deep and it’s really interesting to see the people who live within, and where on earth they come from whilst waiting on the river edge – how on earth do they get to that spot – there’s no way down from almost 800 metres up there!!!

I had a terrible nights sleep last night, turns out the lounge bar is right above our room and although Kemm was snoring like a trooper, I was kept awake by footsteps sounding like elephants above us!

Ho hum, such is life. On with the day - breakfast first then we headed out on our shore excursion to visit the Three Gorges Dam project - quite simply jaw-dropping! The enormity of this project involving building the actual dam, relocating about 3 million people into new cities and building the ginormous lock system for shipping traffic - as said, it's all amazing and needs to be seen to be believed.

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