We travel by road for 7 hours from Pingyao to Xi’an.
03. Asia without crossing any water
From Moscow to Guangzhou (Southern China)
Temperature: 7 degreesC
After the sights we’ve already seen, we didn’t expect to be this pleasantly surprised again!
Pingyao is a Chinese city in central Shanxi province, about 715 km from Beijing – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a population of 450,000.It retains its city layout from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and more than 300 sites in or near the city have ancient ruins.
The whole of our stay is characterised by heavy mist over the town. The rising damp comes halfway up the buildings, and you can see the bricks decaying quickly. We’re glad to see this place now, because it will soon be ruined by tourism! We found some very local places to eat, but the Old Town seems to be heading towards being a museum rather than a living community.
We leave China’s capital for China’s only intact original walled village. Ahead of us is…
an 11km drive to Beijing West, the largest train terminal in Asia,
a 5 hour standing train journey to Taiyuan
a 3km drive between Taiyuan train station and bus station
a 2 hour mini-bus to the Pingyao area
a 10 minute electric rickshaw into the walled village
As always，the best times were where we managed to find some authenticity and meet some real people who have lived in Beijing all of their lives。
These pictures are a few of those。Others would not upload!…
We also found the exact same stall where me and Jo were in 2006. Jo ate a starfish and a live scorpion (which apparently tastes like chicken wings). The rest is history…
Temperature – 9 degreesC
A few highlights from Beijing.
We managed to have an excellent time in between dodging the scammers that seem to have plagued the city since the Olympics！
We are unable to give a full account due to China’s OTHER Great （fire)wall。。。
Good afternoon Beijing.
It feels a little bit familiar and we are so happy to be here!
With all due respect to Russia and Mongolia… we can’t wait to eat! Staying away from the starfish and live scorpions though. I saw what it did to Joanna last time we were here in 2006! It’s post-Olympic now though. Maybe things have changed?…
A few words to say that wordpress is blocked in China. However we can e-mail posts on to our blog – though no chance to format them, i.e. no captions, and all images end up in a gallery – we hope this is not too annoying for you!
Anyway, we boarded the train to Beijing leaving Ulan Bator and the large plains of Mongolia. The train was the most basic yet, with a mixture of Mongolian, Chinese and "foreigners" like ourselves. The border took 6 hours to cross, with lots more immigration and customs forms to fill in as usual! The border was particularly on alert, as it turns out that the Dalai Lama is or was in Mongolia, which meant China’s border to Mongolia was on high security!
Temperature minus 10 degrees C
We spend some time living with a traditional nomadic family in the beautiful Terelj National Park