Travels in China
With so many teachers staying in China for the summer holiday, I thought I would continue to share details and pictures of some of the best places I have visited in China.
Of course it is a must to see what the big cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Chengdu etc have to offer but sometimes it’s good to head a bit off the beaten track. Back in 2008 as a student in Beijing, we travelled to Shanhaiguan to see the beginning (or end!) of the Great Wall. Travel via train is pretty cheap and safe throughout China and relatively straightforward even if you are working with very limited language skills! Our trip to Shanhaiguan was one of those with no expectations, we travelled by train overnight and arrived very early on a Saturday morning. Choosing to head straight to the coast we took a taxi and were so surprised that we were dropped off right next to huge stones resembling a dragon head surfacing out of the sea! This was all we had come to Shanhaiguan to see and by 8am we were stood on top and had taken the obligatory tourist photos!
So why is Shanhaiguan one of my most memorable trips? Having seen what we had set out to do early on, we had no agenda or time frames to work to. We had the time to wander, listen and watch. With my limited Mandarin at the time, it was here that I began to recognise different accents and dialects and see the difference in pace of life between those in the cities to smaller towns. Despite only being a weekend trip, it was really one of those experiences that made me really appreciate China, realise just how big the country was and get excited at all the potential other places to visit. During that weekend, we could see that development and construction plans were in place so I guess the city has changed hugely since my visit. This is China. Development and progress happen fast, what it has taught me so far is to stop, learn and reflect and you will see, hear, experience and perhaps most importantly appreciate so much more.