My last week’s holidays brought me back to China and to visit a friend in her hometown. Visiting the northeast of China is rather off from traditional tourist spots and without explanation most people wondered why I would travel there. For me, it was a special and very nice aspect to be invited home and experience Chinese hospitality first hand. This and many other small features made our trip distinctively Chinese although both Tianjin and Dalian are largely European influenced. (I have documented this in my previous post Cityscapes of China’s northeast).

As a good tourist, we visited the Chinese wall in Shanhaiguan which used to be a very strategic and now is a very touristy spot where the wall enters the sea. Luckily for us it is mostly popular with Chinese tourists who do not have identical interests to ours. We were thus alone on our quest to find and climb the remnants of the original (read: not restored) wall.

During previous trips in China the food was often ok and rarely very good. This time, we really enjoyed delicious food … street food such as noodle soup, baozi, jiaozi and a sort of pancakes, Peking duck and also international dishes such as salad, pizza and sushi. I’m not sure if it is just by chance but I prefer to think that we finally got the hang of it.

We travelled by train. China’s high speed trains being very modern, comfortable and on time it makes for very efficient travelling… if it were not for the purchase of the ticket prior to the train ride. Although ticket machines are available foreigners cannot use them as a Chinese identity card is required. We were thus left with no option but to queue to buy our tickets… and in contrast to the train ride, I can tell that queuing is neither efficient nor comfortable (just imagine hundreds of people in one big room with no aircon or fan and outside temperatures of +35 degrees). As if queuing once was not enough in Qinhuangdao we repeated this  exercise three times. First, we bought tickets at the high-speed counter only to realise later in the day that the tickets were for a train ride which would take us 11 hours! We then returned to queue early next day to return these tickets and finally to buy new tickets for the high-speed train which would eventually only take a bit more than 3 hours. We didn’t mind that the only category left was  standing room… at least it was in an aircon train and did not take the whole day ;-).

China northeast_02

China northeast_01

China northeast_03

China northeast_04

China northeast_05

China northeast_07

China northeast_08

China northeast_06

China northeast_09

China northeast_10

China northeast_11

China northeast_12

China northeast_13

Tags: , ,