S: China 2011
FC: China 2011
1: Forbidden City Beijing | We landed in Beijing. Our first day sightseeing we went to the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. Both places were large enough we could have spent a lot more time at each but we definately got a good feel for them.
3: The Forbidden City was off limits for 500 years. It is ringed by a wide moat. The size and detailing were impressive!!
4: Summer Palace
5: The Summer Palace includes the palace grounds, a huge lake, gardens, pavilions, bridges, gate towers and corridors. The grounds are huge and walking through it is like walking through a forest at times. A marvel in landscaping!!
7: Beijing is a city of 18 million people. It's busy, interesting, fun and annoying all at once. The food stalls had some very interesting choices from silkworm to centipedes to snake to water beetles. We did meet one lady from the USA who we hit it off with and subsequently went for Peking duck with her which was absolutely delicious!!
8: The Great Wall of China! Jinshaling to Simatai
9: We hiked 7 kms along the great wall, climbing thousands of stairs. The views were breathtaking and the landscape much more rugged and mountainsous than I would ever have imagined. The pictures do not do it justice! This was definately a highlight of our trip!!
11: Some places on the wall were crazy steep! This was not an easy hike but wow, was it ever fun!
12: We started off at Jinshaling and made our way to Simatai. The Simatai portion was more crumbled and not renovated.
14: PINGYAO The walls of this ancient city date back to 1370 and stand 10m high with 72 watchtowers. We spent two nights here, also taking in the ancient village of Zhangbi cun and Wang Family Courtyard.
21: Zhangbi Cun and Underground Castle. The building in the village date back 800 years and the underground tunnels are 1400 yrs old spanning 1500m on 3 different levels, the deepest which is 26m.
23: Glen and I had our backs scraped ($3.50) during one of our foot massages ($5 for one hour). As you can see on the opposite page, it left our back totally bruised! I couldn't wear my bathing suit without a t-shirt on for fear that someone might think Terry was a wife beater, haha!
24: Zhangjiajie National Park Home of Halleluliah Mountain and some of the most stunning scenery anywhere! We spent two days hiking, and enjoying the scenery here. There were a couple of cable car rides as well as a ski lift. Not to mention the Baofang elevator, a glass elevator that goes up the side of a cliff.
35: We hiked 7km along the Golden Whip Stream which was gorgeous!! Lots of wild monkeys to be seen!
36: Tianmenshan Mountain and the incredibly high plank walk!! Up to 5000 feet! There's a road with 99 curves. It also has the longest cable car ride in the world! AMAZING!!
39: The town of Zhangjiajie is right outside the park. The city is about one hour out of the park. We stayed in town (300,000 people) After three nights here we took a 2nd class overnight train to Sanjiang and then a van to the village of Ma'an.
40: CHENGYANG BRIDGE We spent two nights at the dong village of Ma'an, home of the Chengyang Bridge. No nails or screws were used to build it but rather it's put together like a jigsaw puzzle. We loved it here, very peaceful and serene.
44: And then we were off to the Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces. We stayed in the village of Tiantouzhai near the top of the mountain and what a hike that was to get to! It was worth it though, the scenery was stunning! All labour is done manually here!
45: We shared the trails with donkeys and horses who had the right away. They used the animals or their backs to bring any and all goods up and down the mountains to the villages | We hired these 70+yr old women who weighed about 80lbs to carry our luggage on the 40 min hike up countless stairs to the village. We were winded, but the locals put us to shame with their stamina!!
46: What a workout!! What a view!! And Terry, what a goof!!
48: Next was Yangshuo! Filled with rice fields and limestone rock formations, the landscape is incredible! Busy days of bamboo rafting on the river, hiking, riding scooters, visiting local markets and kayaking! | YANGSHUO!
52: The markets had live snakes, fish, frogs, chickens, ducks and more to buy. We saw a skinned dog on one man's scooter. There was also open air barbers and even dentists at the market!!!
53: We got up before dawn to take a boat to get to Huangbu Shoal lookout for the sunrise. Sadly the sun never came out, but still got some nice shots.
57: Many Chinese laundered their close in the rivers by hand. We found this in most places we visited. Also you would be hard pressed to find any farm machinery anywhere in China. Again, everything was done manually by hand. China in many ways seemed like it was in the past, and in a few ways, in the future.
58: Shanghai Where east meets west. On one side of the Bund you have 1800's european architecture and on the other you have ultra-modern futuristic architecture, all of which lights up magnificently at night! This was our last night in China! We loved China! Until we meet again!!