If the blog has seemed a little quiet lately, one of the reasons why is that I was out of town for a few weeks…to visit one of my best friends in China! She’s living out there now, and we hadn’t seen each other in SEVEN YEARS!! So a trip was long overdue…
It took me a couple of days to get there, and believe it or not, the cost of going there wasn’t too bad. In fact, it cost me the same to fly to Beijing as it does for me to visit New Brunswick. (A bit less, actually!!!)
I spent most of my time in Beijing, but the first few days of my trip were spent in Nanjing. (The names of the cities translate to “North capital” and “South capital.”) The high-speed train to Nanjing took about 4 hours. It travelled most of the time at 303 km/hr, and stopped at a number of places in between.
One of the things I wanted to make sure I visited in Nanjing was the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, since I had taken a course on Modern East Asian history in university, which discussed the massacre at length. The museum was a very moving tribute to the 300,000 victims of the massacre.
One of the other things we did in Nanjing was visit Zijin Shan, the Purple-Gold Mountain. There were all sorts of places to visit up there, but we went on the first day of the Plum Blossom festival, so we wanted to see some plum blossoms, plus we went to some Ming tombs.
We met some very friendly people at Zijin Shan, especially at the “Purple Glow Lake,” where we had a lengthy conversation with some regular visitors, plus some university students who showed us where to find the plum blossoms. They were lovely, and made our trip to the mountain a memorable one. They probably won’t read this, but if they do, I want to tell them we enjoyed our time with them greatly.
Nanjing was a very beautiful city. All over the place, large trees grew out over the streets. Had we come later in the spring, or in the summer, it would have been wonderfully green and shady. (Nice, too, because Nanjing is apparently very hot in the summers, earning a name as one of China’s “four furnaces.”)
The rest of my time was spent in Beijing. It was pretty smoggy there, and the pollution was making international news when I was there. It was indeed pretty thick! The sun was obscured by the smog, much as it was last summer during the big forest fires in Labrador and Quebec. You couldn’t even see buildings more than a few hundred metres away.
When I travel, one of the things I love to visit are museums and historical sites. Well, there was NO END to all the historial sites in Beijing! (Nor Nanjing, for that matter.) One day, I decided to stop into the National Museum of China (free with passport!). If you go there, definitely check out the basement for an overview of Chinese history. I could have just went through the basement and have been happy with it. However, I went there last…after going all over the rest of the museum! The gallery of gifts from other countries was pretty cool, too.
I visited lots of official sites, but especially in the first few days I spent in Beijing, I mostly wandered around the city on foot, wandering in and out of hutongs (neighbourhoods in little alleyways dating back to medieval times). I drank lots of tea. Food in Beijing is generally cheap compared to here, and delicious! I tried Uighur food (yummy! Just thinking about their nang is making my stomach rumble), food from Yunnan province, donkey burgers (“In heaven, there is dragon meat, but on earth, there is donkey meat.”) and lots and lots of dumplings and steamed buns. I miss the food TERRIBLY.
Of course, I had to visit the Great Wall of China!
I’ve only given a brief overview (haha!) of my trip, but seeing as this is the Them Days blog, and not a travel blog, I shall end it there. I had a wonderful time!
Thanks for looking at my photos!