We covered so much and saw so many things it's hard to know if I'll be able to fit it all concisely into a blog post, but here goes!
Touchdown in Beijing occurred in the dark of the night, and fog. We were shuttled to our hotel to rest, and our first full day (Day 2) took us to Tian An Men Square and the Forbidden City to start us off. You really get an appreciation for how large these places are when you're standing in the middle of them. Tian An Men Square is the largest square of it's kind in the world, and the Forbidden City was immensely long and you could easily spend an entire day there. We took a boat ride on one of Beijing's lakes as well as a tour of a Hu Tong before returning to our hotel. Eleonor decided to catch up with a friend in Beijing's Sun-li-tun area that evening.
Day 3 took us to the Great Wall of China. Truly magnificent even in the fog which had stuck around. We had enough time to go to the 'top' of our section at Badaling and escape the tourists! Our afternoon saw us visit the Summer Palace.
Day 4 we visited the Temple of Heaven before we had to fly out to Yichang to catch our boat cruise along the Yangtze River.
Day 5 saw our cruise commence and took us to Sandouping to see the Three Gorges Dam and the Five Stage Lock System. Our cruise continued to Day 7, with many excursions throughout the three gorges before arriving at Chongqing, China's largest city with a population approximately around 31 million people.
Day 8 we toured Chongqing before flying out to Xi'an, where we arrived in the night. Day 9 took us to the city wall and the Terracotta Warriors. There were many other great sights in this city and we were able to enjoy a night walk on Halloween!
Day 10 we flew out in the early morning to Hangzhou, probably the most beautiful city in China with the most trees, and reknowned for having China's most beautiful women! We were treated to a tour of one of Asia's largest Buddhist temples. We also visited Red Carp Pond, which was red with fish!
On Day 11 I turned ill and we visited the water town of Wuzhen. Despite not feeling the best, this was a great place to visit. From Wuzhen we headed by road to Suzhou. Come Day 12 and you'd think we'd have seen plenty of pagodas, but we saw the leaning pagoda of Suzhou today! We visited a private garden before continuing our road trip to Shanghai. We arrived at the 'Bund' at night, and viewed the wonderful light show that Shanghai puts on each night.
Day 13 in Shanghai took us to the Pu Dong area and we climbed the Jing Mao tower to it's 88th floor observation deck. Next door, under construction was China's tallest building, and soon to be second tallest tower in the world. We toured the city, shopping areas, museum and a Confuscion temple before experiencing a night cruise.
Day 14 left us to our own devices and we toured Nanjing Rd in an attempt to find some nice souvenir style shops, but failing. We did find Cybermart though which would be any technologists dream shopping complex! All of this occurred before we had to head back to the airport via the amazing Maglev train at 431km/h!
I've barely touched the surface of what we experienced in this amazing country. Our tour was diverse and an excellent introduction to a totally different place. A new country ticked off my list, one of my 'must-see' cities (Shanghai) as well, and a Great Wonder of the World :)
Bring on the next trip!