A wonderful delight in Xi’an was cycling around the old city wall. In fact we liked it so much that after completing our morning ride with Karin and Wei we returned the following day to do a sunset ride. Steve aptly named the circuit the “Red Lantern Ride”.
Xi’an is one of the few cities in China where the complete city wall is still standing and that’s pretty amazing because it was built in 1370 during the Ming Dynasty. This is a huge structure, the walls are 12 metres tall, 12-14 metres wide at the top and 15-18 metres thick at the bottom. The walls form a rectangle with a perimeter of 13.7 km.
Initially the wall was built with earth, quick lime and glutinous rice extract. This made it Continue reading →
Who remembers those amazing pictures, beamed all around the world in August 2008, when the Beijing Summer Olympics were opened from the spectacular Bird’s Nest Stadium?…………….
Interestingly, the actual opening ceremony commenced at 8pm, on the 8th day of the 8th month, in 2008. In Chinese culture, the number 8 is quite auspicious, being associated with prosperity and confidence. 91,000 specftators filled the stadium on that night, a relatively small number of people, considering 21.5 million people currently live in Beijing.
Whilst I wasn’t amongst the 91,000 present at the Birds Nest on that night, Anne and I paid the Olympic Stadium and Aquatic Centre (the Water Cube) a visit during our Beijing sojourn. So why would we deserve an Olympic medal for following the mainstream tourist pathway? Simple answer…….we rode bikes to get there along some Continue reading →
We flew into Guilin, China in the evening and were taken by car, along a four lane highway with minimal traffic, to Yangshou. TheYangshou Village Retreatwas along a dark, quiet country road and we retired for the night, lulled to sleep by the sound of frogs croaking, in a surprisingly palatial room decorated in classic French style.
The morning greeted us with a stupendous view of the mysterious karst peaks and we grabbed bikes to explore the countryside. We rode past old men ploughing the fields with bullock’s, small children playing and women carrying buckets of water to the garden.
The road was quiet and we were seldom interrupted by the friendly toot of a passing motorbike. We sat on the banks of the Li River watching empty tour boats glide up the river. A serene first morning in China.Continue reading →
The inclusion of Taiwan on our itinerary held two attractors. One was visiting our local friends (Jack & Kitty) and the other was cycling around Sun Moon Lake. Cycling in a foreign place allows you to see things that would otherwise be considered “off the beaten track”, and the bit of exercise that comes with it is an added bonus too.