China Trip! :)

On May 26th, I arrived home in the evening after an amazing couple weeks traveling in China. What an amazing whirlwind trip.. Our trip began in Beijing – where I climbed the Great Wall, visited the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, and Tiananmen Square… To Xian where I came face to face with the Terracota Warriors protecting the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China… Then on to Chengdu – where I visited the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and went through the Keeper Experience Program. Next we headed to Chongqing by train where we boarded our river cruise down the Yangtze River for several relaxing days.. stopping at ports along the way to visit temples and pagodas.. We then flew to Shanghai – where dignitaries of state from countries across Asia were having a huge conference. We had the Vice President of Vietnam (who is a woman by the way), and a rep from Palestine and Jordan also staying at our hotel. Can you say crazy security?! But what an amazing city! So modern and sleek.. I would totally live there… From there, we flew to Hong Kong, where we spent our last few days in China.. and again another amazing city..

My favourite day was probably when I met this 9 month old panda baby girl. She was so cute, she liked having her belly and head rubbed, and you could even squeeze her legs. Just don’t touch her ears. As you can see by the photo she her favourite snack is bamboo. πŸ™‚

Best Day Ever!! Me and my panda. :)
Best Day Ever!! Me and my panda. πŸ™‚

Yup.. that’s me.. on the Great Wall of China, just outside Beijing.. And yes, I did climb that section in the background that goes straight up a mountain.. all the way to the top!

Great Wall of China!
Great Wall of China!

Beijing.. was, like all the major cities in China.. Huge! Thirty-two million people. Our first day it rained, but it didn’t matter.. I was in China! πŸ˜€

Beijing - Forbidden City
Beijing – Forbidden City
Beijing - Forbidden City
Beijing – Forbidden City
Beijing - Forbidden City. So many amazing carved stone decors. In this case, steps! :)
Beijing – Forbidden City. So many amazing carved stone decors. In this case, steps! πŸ™‚
Beijing - Summer Palace
Beijing – Summer Palace
Beijing - Summer Palace.
Beijing – Summer Palace.

Xian… a much larger than I expected. My husband said that it wasn’t that large when he was there 10 years ago.. but boy, have things changed. The city had thirty million people now. We visited a number of thing: the Terracotta Warriors of course.. but also we wandered around the city visiting the massive City Walls, and the Drum Tower, the Bell Tower, the Great Mosque, and Dayan Ta – The Great Goose Pagoda.

Xian - City walls.
Xian – City walls.
Xian - Drum Tower.
Xian – Drum Tower.
Xian - Terracotta Warriors. Amazing!!! :)
Xian – Terracotta Warriors.
Amazing!!! πŸ™‚

From Xian we made our way to Chengdu to see Pandas. Yay!! πŸ˜€ You probably can’t tell much of a difference between the pandas in the next two photos, but there is. The first is a baby panda up in a tree. That little guy kept wiggling around trying desperately to get into a comfortable position. Haha. He probably weighs about 50 lbs. The second photo is a full size adult panda relaxing as he eats bamboo for breakfast. He weighs about 400 lbs. πŸ˜‰

Baby Panda in a tree.. So cute!
Baby Panda in a tree.. So cute!
Adult Panda having some bamboo for breakfast.
Adult Panda having some bamboo for breakfast.

From Chengdu we took a high speed train to Chongqing. We clocked about 195 km/h. In Chongqing, we were picked up at the train station by a driver and guide and brought to our river cruise ship where we would spend the next four nights and three days relaxing as we travelled down the Yangtze River. It was definitely a nice little break in the middle of our trip. We traveled through the Three Gorges, and the Locks, and had stops at different ports along the way to visit temples and pagodas.

A shot of an identical high speed train from our train travelling at 195 km/h. ;)
A shot of an identical high speed train from our train travelling at 195 km/h. πŸ˜‰
Our Yantze River Cruise Ship.
Our Yantze River Cruise Ship.
On a hazy morning, we passed this coal yard.
On a hazy morning, we passed this coal yard.
Empress Gorge
Empress Gorge
Pagoda!
Pagoda!

When our river cruise down the Yangtze was over, we headed to the airport where we boarded a plane to Shanghai. Shanghai ended up being my absolute favourite city. It was glamorous, and ultra modern with amazing architecture on the Pudong side. It’s a city you just want to walk everywhere! The Bund, which is along the water – the Huangpu River – is lined with luxury hotels and wide walkways. The city came alive at the water’s edge. Yet, there is still history here. I had even had tea in a tea house from 1784, and visited the Yu Gardens and Bazaar.

Tea house from 1784.
Tea house from 1784.
My chamomile tea. The flower bloomed in the bottom of my tea pot. :)
My chamomile tea. The flower bloomed in the bottom of my tea pot. πŸ™‚

The end of our trip was near.. We landed in Hong Kong! The smallest city.. only 17.5 million people, but the most densely populated. It was also so much humid than all the other cities. But it was amazing!

When we first arrived in Hong Kong..  Standing on the Kowloon side, with Hong Kong behind me.
When we first arrived in Hong Kong.. Standing on the Kowloon side, with Hong Kong behind me.
From the Peak! With Hong Kong and Kowloon behind me.. Fabulous!! :)
From the Peak! With Hong Kong and Kowloon behind me.. Fabulous!! πŸ™‚
The hustle and bustle of the city.
The hustle and bustle of the city.
Incense burning in a temple.
Incense burning in a temple.
Bird Market.
Bird Market.
Gold Fish Market.
Gold Fish Market.
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