7th September 2009

From Datong to Xi’An, via …

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After Beijing we had 3 weeks of visa left, and we travelled through China (our route: Worldtrip ’09) by train (plus few busses). Altogether 4700 kilometres. Chris had made lots of work beforehand and planned well the places to visit. The trains were not very fast, they were old and not the cleanest ever, but finally it went pretty painlessly. Occasionally, like the time when we spent 17 hours over night on a hard seat (sleeper seats were sold out, in China it’s good to book seats some days before) in an over crowded train with people standing and pushing 4 people to sit for a space of 3 people, it did cross our mind that there might be easier ways to travel, but hey, you can hardly say you traveled around the world if you haven’t experienced this, right?


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We first headed westward to Datong. There we shared a taxi with German and Portugese travellers to a Hanging temple, temple built into a cliff (75 meters above ground, didn’t feel so safe at places to be honest). There is too many taxi drivers in Datong and few of them got into a fight over who gets us as a customer. The hanging temple is few hours away so even cheap for us, it’s good business for them.
In the afternoon we visited other important site in Datong area, the Yungang Grottoes. In this site there is more than 50000 Buddha statues in different size and conditions, carved in rock caves.

   
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Next destination was Pingyao, nice little old city. There we rented a tandem bike for few euros and biked along outside and inside city walls. In Pingyao excellent, tasty beef (served cold) is one of the food specialties. Also lacquered wood is at its best.

   
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In Tai’an we went to see the most important (most holy) Tao temple in the world. Along with the Forbidden city in Beijing and Confucius temple in Qufu, it is one of the three places in China built according to imperial design. We wanted to also hike on their holy mountain Tai Shan, but turned back as in our opinion the entrance fee, 125 yuan (13 euros) per person was really overpriced for China!
In Tai’an we needed to send home some souvenirs, so we got our second experience of the Chinese post. The first one had been really interesting in Beijing, where we got told in one of the main post offices, that they were out of stamps. What, a post office out of stamps? Yes, please come back next morning, because in the evenings they run out of stamps. Right. So in Tai’an we were wondering how it’s going to go with the parcel. It was not so easy to find the correct place to send a parcel, because in China the post has many many offices in one city, but they don’t all offer same services. Finally the third place was correct. At first the clerk wanted to see everything what we are sending, but apparently it was just to know if it will brake easily or something. After we were very happy for their service, as the clerk packed and taped the whole parcel for us, very efficiently and quickly the whole thing was done. Some countries would have things to learn from this, as sometimes it is painfully difficult just to send a parcel.

   
Photos Tai’An
Slideshow Tai’An

   
Photos Qufu
Slideshow Qufu

After Qufu, the birth place of Confucius, to a very touristic place, Xi’an. The old capital city has a lot of heritage from its golden age, and many of its nice buildings are illuminated at night. At night you can watch a great fountain show around Asia’s highest fountain, in front of big white goose pagoda. The city has also an old city wall, where you can climb to see the scenery or cycle around on top of it. Otherwise the city is nowadays very developed and among old buildings you can find all the expensive fashion shops from Gucci to Ralph Lauren. They are building a lot everywhere in China and one can see and imagine how the country is developing and getting richer at the moment.
Xi’an is also very busy as a popular sight, Terracotta warriors, is closeby. The statues are worth seeing, but the place is a little bit annoying, because just to get in, you have to walk at least a kilometer pass lots of people trying to sell you stuff.

   
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This entry was posted on Monday, September 7th, 2009 at 18:51 and is filed under in English please !, news, voyages, worldtrip'09. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. 1 On September 11th, 2009, päivi said:

    Ciao!! Taas vierähti pitkä tovi teidän blogia lukiessa. Olette kyllä ihanan positiivisia ja sisukkaita kun jaksatte vielä turistipäivän jälkeen kirjoitella ja pitää diaesitykset järjestyksessä. Molto bene!
    Täällä Baronississa on lämpöä enää vajaat kolmekymmentä astetta. Jaksaa taaas päivisin puuhata muutakin kuin luuhata varjossa. Ihanaa kun yöllä saa jo vetää lakanaa peitoksi niiden hikiöiden jälkeen.
    Olen taas päässyt askeleen eteenpäin kielikurssiasioissa. Lokakuussa alkanee ilmainen alueellinen kurssi maahanmuuttajille (vinkeetä olla sellainen). Kurssin laajus ja aikataulu ei vielä ollut tiedossa, vaikkei tämä ensimmäinen vuosi järjestäjille olekaan. Tieto tulee sitten aikanaa, välillä tämä infon esiinkaivamisen vaikeus kyllä ällistyttää ja ärsyttääkin. Piano, piano, hiljaa hyvää tulee, siihen täytyy totutella.
    Mukavia matkapäiviä teille edelleen toivottelee Päivi con marito, joka on vielä töissä

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