Monday, 18 April 2011


I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front, as I've been away to China! DH was on business, and I managed to tag along and take advantage of the free accommodation! The trip started in Beijing, and the first visit was to the Forbidden City. This photo shows only a very small part of the city, which was where the Emperors of China lived with their court, including wives and concubines, and is absolutely huge! Once people were admitted to the city, few were able to leave, never seeing the outside walls, family or friends ever again.

Here is DH walking on the Emperor's special road between the Temple of Earth and the Temple of Heaven. Only those of royal birth were originally allowed to use this route, and there were lower parallel routes for the rest of the court.

The next day DH was at work, so I went on a tour of the Hutongs (the old part of Beijing with lots of narrow streets and old houses) by rickshaw. This was fascinating, as I had a lovely English-speaking guide called Nancy, who took me to sample different Chinese teas, as well as a visit to a family home. If you're ever in Beijing, I can recommend this tour wholeheartedly.

Here is a street scene, quite near our hotel. If you look carefully, you can see the stallholder behind the red table eating her lunch! She's bending over a bowl with noodles in it, eating with chopsticks (of course!)

The next day (Saturday) we went to visit the Great Wall at Jian Cou. This part of the wall wasn't in a particularly good state of repair, but that meant that it was less commercialised than the well-known spots, and not so crowded. Here I am going up (DH is standing smugly at the top, while lovely Patrick is making sure I'm OK!).

Here we all are at the top of this section - Patrick seems especially pleased to have made it!

I was advised that the best way to come down was to sit down, and not to stand up, as it was very steep. This proved to be good advice, and apart from the damage to the back of my jeans and my dignity, much easier than the more conventional way adopted by DH and Patrick!

Next stop was Shanghai, where a walk along the Bund, the promenade along the side of the river, is a must. On one side of the river are the 19th century buildings which housed offices and warehouses for the opium trade - you could think you were in any European city looking in that direction. On the other are all these ultra modern buildings including the Oriental Pearl Television Tower (the pointed tower on the left) which has lifts to the top and provides fabulous views of the whole city when the weather is clear.

The weather was pretty good that day, and from this level you can see the numbers of high rise buildings in Shanghai. It's a very modern and very lovely city.

Last stop was Xi'an to see the Terracotta Army. Although I've seen lots of photos and films about this, there's nothing better than seeing them face to face, as it were. The numbers of warriors and the amount of work which had gone into them was absolutely mind-blowing. Seems a shame that the point of making them was for the emperor to take them with him into the afterlife, and it doesn't seem to have worked!

While we were in Xi'an, we hired bicycles to ride round the (restored) city wall. Well, we actually hired one bicycle (it was a tandem) and this is the view I got while pedalling. DH's profile is stunning (of course!) but you can also see the width and height of the wall, and the length of it. The whole wall was 8 km long, and took us about 80 minutes to cycle - including a refreshment break! Bicycles are still popular in China, although most people travel by car, making the roads very congested. There are still some hardy types though, like this man who looks to be moving house, or at least moving wardrobe and bedding!

And finally, a little fabric. I didn't manage to buy any for myself (it was mainly silk, and any cottons were shirting fabrics for the local seamstresses and tailors to make shirts to measure). However, here is a beautiful Chinese robe to drool over. Here's to my next visit!


loulee said...

Looks fantastic. Thank you for sharing.
I think I would have used your method to descend from the wall too!

Barb said...

Wow! China - how wonderful!
thanks for sharing your photos, looks like amazing visit!!

black bear cabin said...

what an exciting trip...i enjoyed all of the photos, and i hope you post more :)
i was wondering what you had been up to....and WOW...what fun! welcome home~

Tonya Ricucci said...

wow, fantastic!

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Fantastic post! and great to see the highlights of your trip!

sewkalico said...

Lucky you! Looks like a great trip although I can't believe you didn't buy ANY fabric!!!