China, I have to say was one of the best trips I have been on, and probably a once in a life time opportunity.
Our journey began with a rather early morning start at 3:30am to head to Edinburgh airport. Everyone successfully checked in, passed through security and then went off for breakfast before the Paris flight and our onward connection to Beijing.
10 long, hot, sweaty hours later we landed in Beijing, collected our luggage and headed off on the bus to our hotel and some much needed breakfast.
We went to Beijing Zoo to see the pandas. There were six pandas and they were all lying sleeping or eating. Some of us then went to see the monkeys, red foxes and hairless dogs.
After our zoo visit we headed to the Bird’s Nest stadium and the Water Cube. It was a quick turnaround before going for lunch and then some free time and dinner at the hotel.
We visited the Great Wall of China. I was completely amazed by this experience and how such a massive wall had been constructed all those years ago. We then went to look around the factory where jade is made and have lunch. After lunch we headed to the tea ceremony. We sat down in rows and the tea lady described which types of tea were good for certain parts of the body. We then tried the different teas and at the end got to buy different flavours of tea and tea making accessories.
At night we had Peking duck for our evening meal. I thought it was delicious.
Day 3 included visits to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. I enjoyed this very much although it was the hottest day with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. Tiananmen Square was enormous and very busy. In the Forbidden City it was very interesting to learn about past Emperors and what all the different rooms were for in the Palace. The Summer Palace was very peaceful and relaxing and we walked along the lakeside to see the large marble ornamental boat.
At night time we went to a Kung Fu show which was very energetic and thrilling.
Firstly, we visited the Temple of Heaven where they used to do Tai Chi. However, it has been turned into an exercise park with all sorts exercise activities. We all had good fun trying them out. We then ventured further into the Temple of Heaven where we had a Kung Fu lesson. We were taught a basic Kung Fu routine which was tricky at times but we all enjoyed it very much. Next was a visit to the Temple of Heaven where we got to see traditional furnishings in the Hall of Prayer.
After lunch we went to the Silk Market where we practised our haggling skills. This proved to be very successful as we managed to get a good deal on our purchases. We then moved on to the Mall where we saw the biggest Apple store in Asia.
This was our last day. The day started off on a high with our calligraphy lesson. Needless to say when we actually tried it ourselves it was very difficult.
We were hosted by a Chinese family for lunch which was very nice with lovely food.
Before dinner we went for a rickshaw ride. It was very interesting to see the traditional areas of Beijing known as the Hutongs.
Our final experience was the acrobatic shown. It was an unbelievable experience. Some of the highlights included
Home time. After a quicker and less sweaty flight we arrived back at Wallace Hall Academy absolutely shattered but having had an amazing trip with memories that will last a lifetime.